So, are the "smartphone wars" over now?

The general consensus among the majority of informed observers seems to be that Apple has failed to achieve its strategic objectives in the latest Apple-Samsung trial.

Apple got the moral victory of being able to say that at least one of their patents is being actively infringed upon (though Samsung can now say the same thing). However, Apple's broader objective in these trials is to degrade Android's feature set relative to the iPhone, and in this regard they have failed. Samsung's newest implementation of slide-to-unlock has been endorsed by the jury, and three of the other accused features have been cleared completely. The only feature where the jury said that Samsung is actively infringing is the one relating to the "linkify" patent, and this is hardly enough to noticeably degrade Android's overall feature-set. You could remove that feature from every Android phone in existence, and it would be annoying, but it probably wouldn't make a dent in Android's market-share relative to iOS.

According to Florian Mueller:

Apple has been utterly unsuccessful with its patent assertions against Samsung in several European jurisdictions. The U.S., where juries are often biased in favor of domestic companies against foreign rivals, is the only jurisdiction so far in which Apple has been able to score wins, and even there it simply doesn't have serious leverage. After a couple of California jury verdicts and an ITC import ban that has zero commercial impact because Samsung has worked around the "Steve Jobs patent" in ways that consumers don't even notice, Samsung is doing fine even in the U.S. market. It's unlikely Apple will get much leverage in neutral jurisdictions anytime soon.

This trial was very much about Google, with Google witnesses testifying on all patents-in-suit and Google having agreed to indemnify Samsung with respect to a couple of patents and the GMail app's alleged infringement of the '647 patent. I agree with Re/code's Ina Fried that Google is a winner today and with USA TODAY's first take that this time around, Samsung and Google won.


When the 2012 trial was held in the first Apple v. Samsung case, Apple had already filed a second case, and an ITC complaint. This time around it's not clear what Apple will do next. If it decided to bring another complaint in the U.S. (the only jurisdiction in which it can prevail on more than the rubberbanding patent), it would take a couple of years before any decision. There's no endgame in sight.

So, does this mean that the smartphone patent wars are over? Does Apple take its money, crow about its moral victory, and go home? Or does the "holy war" continue, and this whole thing happens in two years time?