Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may not be facing off with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in a U.S. courtroom right now, but to think that little battle is over would be beyond presumptuous; it would be just plain wrong. In fact, Apple and Samsung have been flinging patent-infringement arguments back and forth at each other in at least a half dozen countries on four continents that we know of right now - North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
And Friday, we learned that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has won a legal battle on one of those continents. While the final verdict has not been officially filed yet (that comes later with the determination of damages), a court in Japan ruled this week in favor of Apple, stating that Samsung had indeed infringed on a patent for a "bounceback" scrolling feature on its Glaxy series of handsets. Apple's rubber-band effect when a user scrolls to the end of a document or screen was patented, and many Galaxy devices had used the same effect. Since an initial ruling against Samsung in another court, Samsung had changed the effect so that the bounce was replaced by a blue light as a user scrolls to the end.
This verdict was only considered preliminary, as the Tokyo District Court said it still needed further review to determine if Samsung should pay damages to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and how much. There is no timetable set publicly for the final decision to be made. Samsung has said that it will analyze the verdict fully before deciding on an appellate process.
This is just the latest in a series of patent disputes between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in a number of countries around the world. There are cases currently going on in Australia, the u.K. Germany, Italy, South Korea, the Netherlands, France and the U.S. The most domestically notorious cases was decided in a California courtroom last summer, when a jury found that Samsung had violated several Apple patents and ordered Samsung to pay $1.05 billion in damages (an award that was trimmed to about $700 million by Judge Lucy Koh after it was revealed that the jury had initially recommended awards for patents that were not infringed). Samsung is appealing that decision, seemingly focused on a charge of jury misconduct.
What are your thoughts? Let us know how you think Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will come out in this patent struggle in the comments section below.