According to Fortune’s Apple 2.0 blog, The Wall Street Journal’s recent report suggesting that the smartphone patent wars have been a big bust for all involved misses the point. Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes that while much of the Journal’s argument makes sense, the paper fails to differentiate between standards-essential patents (SEPs) and non-essential patents, and therefore fails to distinguish between claims made by Apple from claims made by the likes of Samsung.

“Jones is correct that a string of rulings in SEP cases have left litigants with little to show for their efforts,” Elmer-DeWitt writes. “Indeed, such lawsuits often backfire. Just last week a preliminary European Union ruling found Google’s Motorola division guilty of abusing of its standards-essential patents when it sued Microsoft over the use of a popular video compression standard. But the $1.05 billion Samsung-Apple verdict is the exception that proves the rule.”

He notes that Apple sued Samsung for unlawfully utilizing several of its innovations in various Android devices while Samsung retaliated by suing Apple using SEPs alone. The jury threw out all of Samsung’s claims as a result, but found Samsung guilty of infringement on nearly all counts.