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Smartphone Ruling May Be Good News For Users

(c) Sky News 2012

Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) 's legal victory may be bad for Samsung but it could be good news for consumers by forcing other technology manufacturers to innovate, an industry expert has told Sky News.

Samsung has been ordered to pay Apple (Xetra: 865985 - news) $1.05bn (£665m) in damages after a jury in California found it guilty of copying aspects of the iPhone and iPad in its Galaxy (BSE: GALAGEX.BO - news) products.

Luke Westaway, a technology editor at CNET UK, says Apple might now pursue other manufacturers who use Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG - news) 's Android system through the courts, including HTC (Other OTC: HTCXF.PK - news) and LG (KSE: 003550.KS - news) .

But the ruling, he said, could also lead to new designs and features on other phones and tablets.

"People designing for other companies are going to be thinking do I want to get into trouble with Apple, do I want the hassle of the lawsuit?

"But I think that could be a positive thing. Already we see companies like Samsung trying things which actually Apple hasn't done.

"For example its most recent smartphone the Galaxy S III has a really big screen and a design that's actually quite different to the iPhone so we are seeing more and more variation already."

Apple launched its lawsuit in 2011. Samsung later fired back demanding $339m from Apple for allegedly copying some of Samsung's 3G technology.

But a jury in San Jose - 10 miles from Apple's headquarters - found entirely in Apple's favour and the company is now expected to seek injunctions forcing Samsung to withdraw the offending products.

If the ruling stands then Samsung and other manufacturers using Google's Android operating system will have to pay Apple extra royalties.

Before his death Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs told his biographer he intended to spend his "last dying breath" and Apple's $40bn bank balance to launch "thermonuclear war" on Android, branding it a "stolen product".

Apple has launched a litany of lawsuits around the world in the past few years over what it alleges are patent infringements.

But some experts believe the Californian firm's dominance is actually bad for consumers.

"In this instance they (Apple) could be classed as patent bullies because they're using patents to block competition," said Nikki Moore, a technology journalist.

"They're now a huge market player whereas they used to be a small, tech, independent company . They've become something they said they never would - this dominant market leader.

"Ultimately this could lead to less choice for consumers which is never going to be good thing for technology."

Samsung, which is appealing against the court's decision, has overtaken Apple as the world's biggest smartphone and tablet maker, selling over 22 million.

The two companies have filed similar lawsuits in eight other countries including Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Australia, South Korea and Japan (EUREX: FMJP.EX - news) .