OK, so it’s pretty clear that a lot of Apple’s (AAPL) smartphone rivals will be hurting in the wake of the Apple v. Samsung (005930) patent trial verdict. But Christopher Carani, the chairman of the American Bar Association’s design rights committee and former chair of the American Intellectual Property Law Association committee on industrial design, checks in to say that smartphone manufacturers should look at the verdict as an opportunity to put their own unique stamp on the smartphone industry and not just chasing after whatever Apple happens to be doing.
“This should be viewed as a perfect opportunity to ‘go back to the drawing board,’” writes Carani in an email. “Indeed, the business folks will need to provide industrial designers more creative license; no longer can they huddle around Apple’s designs. Again, this is good news for consumers as it will mean new exciting designs. Having visited many industrial design schools the world over, I am highly confident that the world’s leading industrial designers, including the impressive young American industrial designers coming out of design schools across the nation, will rise to the challenge of creating unique, appealing and different smart phone and tablet designs.”
Apple’s own lawyers acknowledged during the trial that not every smartphone mimics the iPhone, citing Nokia’s (NOK) Lumia series and Sony’s (SNE) Xperia arc as two devices that were distinct from Apple’s. And Carani says that Samsung may even benefit from the verdict in the long run since the company is on pace to be granted 500 design patents this year, meaning the company already has a good stock of design ideas ready to go in the wake of the Apple-Samsung verdict.
“Progressive companies, in tune with the times, are investing heavily in creating, protecting and enforcing designs,” he wrote. “In a very real way, with Apple’s design patent rights carrying the day, the silver-lining for Samsung is that its rights in its large design patent portfolio now have been fortified.”