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Consumers lose in Apple-Samsung fight

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Apple Inc.'s $1 billion legal victory could mean fewer smartphone options for consumers to choose from, analysts said.

A federal jury's verdict Friday that Samsung Electronics Co. stole Apple's technology to make and market smartphones using Google's Android software sends a warning to other companies manufacturing similar devices, the biggest marketplace threat to Apple.

"Some of these device makers might end up saying, 'We love Android, but we really don't want to fight with Apple anymore,' " said Christopher Marlett, chief executive of MDB Capital Group, an investment bank specializing in intellectual property. "I think it may ultimately come down to Google having to indemnify these guys, if it wants them to continue using Android."

That's if the verdict stands. Samsung, the Seoul-based global leader among smartphone makers, vowed to fight. Its lawyers told the judge it intended to ask her to toss out the verdict.

"This decision should not be allowed to stand because it would discourage innovation and limit the rights of consumers to make choices for themselves," Samsung lead lawyer John Quinn said. He argued that the judge or an appeals court should overturn the verdict.

Apple lawyers plan to formally demand Samsung pull its most-popular cellphones and computer tablets from the U.S. market. They also can ask the judge to triple the damages from $1.05 billion to $3 billion.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh will decide those issues, along with Samsung's demand she overturn the jury's verdict, in several weeks.

Quinn said Samsung would appeal if the judge refuses to toss out the decision.

Apple filed its patent infringement lawsuit in April 2011 and engaged the country's highest-paid patent lawyers to demand $2.5 billion from its top smartphone competitor. Samsung fired back with its own lawsuit seeking $399 million.

The jury on Friday rejected all Samsung's claims against Apple, but also decided against some of Apple's claims involving the two dozen Samsung devices at issue.

The U.S. case was the latest skirmish in a global legal battle between the two tech giants. Its outcome is likely to have ripple effects in the smartphone market. Other device makers relying on Android, the mobile operating system that Google has given for free to Samsung and other phone makers, may be more reluctant to use the software and risk getting dragged into court.

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