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Apple is the ‘innovator,’ Samsung is the ‘imitator’

There’s no two ways about it: Samsung’s (005930) loss in the Apple (AAPL) patent trial that drew to a close on Friday was absolutely brutal. The company was slapped with a $1.05 billion fine and numerous Samsung devices were found to infringe on six different Apple patents. Apple will seek to ban many of those devices in the United States and while Samsung calls the ruling a “loss for the American consumer,” one industry watcher believes justice has been served.

Friday’s decision was “a sweet victory for the ‘innovator’ over the ‘imitator,’ ” wrote Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White in a note to clients on Monday. Though Samsung plans to appeal the verdict, the analyst sees the jury’s decision — which covered six of seven patents Apple accused Samsung of infringing and 21 of 28 targeted Samsung devices — as a big boost for Apple.

“We believe this verdict enhances the Apple brand as ‘the innovator’ in the smartphone and tablet markets at the expense of Samsung Electronics that some will now view as the ‘imitator’, while also providing a strong disincentive for future ‘copying’ of Apple products,” White said.

The analyst does clarify that the decision covers older Samsung devices for the most part, however, and he says sales of those devices in the U.S. market are “not meaningful at this point in time.” White notes that newer Samsung devices like the Galaxy Note and the wildly popular Galaxy S III were not covered in this trial.

This is “all part of Steve Jobs’ ‘thermonuclear war‘ on Android,” White said.

“In Walter Isaacson’s book, Steve Jobs said, ‘I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this,’ ” White recounted in his note. “Apple’s victory is part of Apple’s ‘thermonuclear war’ on Android and we expect this verdict to have some impact on the growth of the Android ecosystem. Keep in mind, there are currently several other lawsuits between Apple and Samsung around the world. Samsung is the largest smartphone vendor in the world and the largest user of the Android operating system.”

Topeka reiterated its Buy rating on Apple stock with a 12-month price target of $1,111.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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