Campus opinions divided over Apple, Samsung lawsuit

Nine jurors in a San Jose, Calif., courtroom ruled in favor of Apple Inc. on Friday in an intellectual property rights case against Samsung Electronics Co. The verdict came as a result of a long-lasting patent battle between Samsung and Apple over intellectual property rights.

As a result of the trial, Samsung owes Apple $1.05 billion for copying various design and software elements from Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices and using them on various Android products, such as Apple’s touch-screen technology. Apple filed suit in April 2011.

Michael Shaw, professor of business administration, lectures on mobile computing and mobile commerce with his students. He said he thinks last Friday’s jurors were “quite logical” and the verdict was “fair and justified.”

“What this verdict said is you cannot just bypass other people and use other people’s ideas,” Shaw said. “And so, in a way, over the long term, you can say that it’s good for innovation because it forces companies to think about new product design and new user experience.”

But others say that patents given out for basic components, like double-tap or flick functions, stand in the way of innovation.

“If you start figuring out who owns the patent on what, it’s virtually impossible for you to start producing a new product without fearing that somebody’s going to sue you,” said Vishal Sachdev,

visiting assistant professor of business.

Sachdev said that, as a result of this trial, Samsung might come up with an even more creative product and “out-innovate” Apple to avoid future intellectual property battles.

Will Tham, president of the University’s chapter of Industrial Designers Society of America and senior in FAA, started following the suit after learning about it in a society newsletter.

“I kind of favored Samsung, and I kind of wanted them to win because Apple is trying to enforce a really small detail,” Tham said.

“Yeah, they do have the design patents, but by having these patents maintained for such a long time, it is slowing the process of innovation …. Now they should be rushing to innovate in another way instead of just holding that ground.”

Tham said he thinks it is good for students to be aware of the case but “hopefully people will realize it’s stupid.”

“Fighting over the radius of a corner for a billion dollars?” Tham said. “(It’s sad) to see that creative process stifled by money.”

Shaw, on the other hand, said he thinks students will learn valuable lessons about respecting intellectual property rights as a result of this trial.

“I think that, of course, we are all passionate about these products, and I know young people especially are,” Shaw said. “Another lesson for every one of us as a citizen in this democracy is that we need to respect these intellectual property rights.”

While the trial may be over, Shaw said Samsung may still appeal the decision.

“But now the story continues, right?” he said. “There will be more patent fights and understandably there will be an appeal process, and then every company now will for sure be guided against the patent and very much looking to these intellectual property rights.”

_The reporter can be reached at [email protected]

The Associated Press contributed to this report_