Apple's court win over Samsung protects the iPhone. Will it hurt consumers?

Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

When the Jury in a San Jose, Calif., U.S. district court ruled on Aug. 24 that Korean electronics giant Samsung had infringed on patents for intellectual property Apple had invented for the iPhone and iPad, there were gasps over the damages: $1.05 billion. But for a company like Samsung, with $149 billion in annual sales, a billion bucks just isn't all that much cash. It's less than a month's worth of last year's operating profit.

The decision's real impact could still be huge, and it doesn't have anything to do with Samsung's decidedly Apple-esque phones and tablets of the past. It's...

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