Samsung said in a statement that the "verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer."
It also could lead to higher costs and diminished user experiences on Android-based phones from all makers, says Jefferson Wang of IBB Consulting Group. "Consumers may pay more for these devices. Consumers may have a device that solves the same issues in a less elegant feature set."
The next step for Samsung is to appeal the case to the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., a process that could take a year or more.
"The smart money is going to say this is the end of Act One, we've teed it up for the federal circuit, and we'll see what's on for Act Two," says Robert Merges of Boalt Law School at the University of California, Berkeley.
Still, this sweeping victory with major implications on future designs is an enormous win for Apple and likely will put the brakes on copycat-minded mobile companies.
But it also may cause consumers to have to adapt to changed workings in their future tablets and smartphones — or even, via updates, in their current devices.
That's because jurors found that Samsung infringed on Apple's scrolling bounce-back patent on all its phones and tablets. On the pinch-and-zoom patent, which resizes images or text, the jury found Samsung infringed with all but three.
That means that Google's Android updates — needed to address these issues and get Samsung out of trouble — will have to alter some functions.
But the devices won't become paperweights. "Some people who aren't sure what this ruling means might think if they have an Android device that it will stop working — that's not going to happen. It may affect their future purchases," says Mark McKenna, University of Notre Dame law professor.
Apple and Samsung are fierce mobile rivals, particularly in smartphones. Apple dominates the tablet market, but Samsung is the No. 1 seller of mobile phones worldwide, with 21.6% of the market, according to Gartner, while Apple is No. 3, with 6.9% of the market.
The favorable verdict comes at an auspicious moment for Apple. It's expected to launch its next iPhone as early as next month, a move that comes as Samsung has extended its lead in smartphones in the past year.
Mobile industry at war
It's unknown whether Apple would agree to license some infringed functions to other makers, though it would be out of character with its past. "Now, Google and other players will have to provide license fees to Apple," says Wadhwa.
But Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died in October, was intent on hobbling Google with lawsuits. Trouble began when Google jumped into the smartphone market while former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board. Schmidt resigned from the board in 2009.
"I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product," Apple co-founder Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson in the book Steve Jobs. "I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."
Apple first sued about the resemblance between Google's HTC Nexus and the iPhone.
"That was the seminal case for this wave of disputes," says legal consultant Florian Mueller.
Apple's scorched-earth policy on Android device makers has scored at least five preliminary injunctions against Samsung, two against Motorola and two against HTC, he says.