(Author’s note: on top of being an Apple fanboy, I should disclose that I worked for Apple from October 2008 until August 2009 in their Westchester, NY retail store).
Maybe I spoke too soon. There's a write-up over at Gizmodo (by way of the good people at Groklaw) explaining how the jury verdict in the Apple v. Samsung trial was flawed and may spend the next few years winding its way through the appeals process. The crux of the problem seems to be the inconsistent findings of the jury and the relatively quick deliberation (3 days) for what was a fairly convoluted case. There may be other problems as well, such as how the Galaxy Tab escaped patent infringement.
So it looks like this issue is far from resolved and Apple isn't going to collect its billions anytime soon. Groklaw's analysis is a real eye-opener and if you're at all interested in this case, you should check them out. I feel like I should have a deeper analysis here beyond "whoops," but in truth I didn't see all the evidence, I wasn't in the courtroom, and I don't know how deliberations went down in the jury room. Having been a juror and a judicial clerk, I have a unique insight into the process and I can say that juries tend to take their responsibilities seriously. Indeed, there's evidence here that the jurors in Apple v. Samsung made their choice deliberately and carefully.
Regardless of whichever way this case swings, I stand by what I said in my original post: Samsung should take the opportunity to invest in brilliant designers/ engineers and innovate new ways to differentiate itself from Apple's design language. Take a look at the Windows-enabled Nokia Lumia 900.
This phone is sleek, attractive, and the Windows Metro operating system accomplishes the same tasks as iOS, but in a radically different (yet appealing) way. It's just gorgeous! Furthermore, Apple's design aesthetic is nowhere to be found. I'm an iPhone man through and through, but I've seriously considered making the switch. I'm not competent to speak about Microsoft's business strategy, but its design strategy is a winner. Samsung may ultimately come out of this process in better shape than we expected, but nobody becomes an industry leader by following what others are doing. To lead from the front, you need to innovate. That's what Apple has done, that's what Microsoft is (finally) doing, and if Samsung doesn't want to be an also-ran, that's where it should be putting whatever money it doesn't eventually have to pay Apple.