Even though Samsung rushed to the press to announce the loser as an outcome of the verdict against them in their case with Apple would be the consumer, the actual result in the long run will be exactly the opposite.
The decision makes it clear that copying a market leader, then trying to win through corporate execution is not just a “destroyer of differentiation” — as I call it in my forthcoming book, “Create Distinction” — it’s also a punishable offense.
Sure, we can argue all day about whether some of Apple’s patents were clearly their invention. Some will say no single company can own a particular “feel.” (Of course, had THEY invented the first product or service with that feel, my guess is they would sing a different tune.) However, the real issue here, it seems to me, is: will innovation and distinction be protected and valued?
The court’s verdict is a resounding “yes!”
If you’ve bought into the “Good to Great” philosophy that it’s not about innovation, but execution…you are in a world of hurt this morning. (Just like Circuit City, Fannie Mae, and many of the others identified in the book as “Great”…) Not just the recent ruling, but this morning’s NASDAQ opening with Apple having the highest market cap of any company in history should be a clue. If customers cannot tell a difference between you and your competition, your organizational goose is cooked.
I believe the result of this verdict is that companies and their leaders are going to be forced to recognize that while execution is critical and essential to organizational success, it’s creating distinction that provides the most impact in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace.
We’re going to see bolder designs and more fervent attempts to be innovative and distinctive…and less “follow the leader”…not just because it isn’t the best way to grow, but also because of a newfound fear that somewhere a jury will find it illegal and damaging.
Today can be a time of renewed dedication and commitment. Start working on the Four Cornerstones of Distinction in your business or department. Vow to be unique, innovative, and distinctive — and execute on THAT purpose to stand out and move up in today’s market and truly grow your business.