It’s can’t have escaped anyone who has even the vaguest interest in technology that Silicon Valley is gearing up to oversee the biggest patent battle on record. The gloves are off with Apple in one corner and Samsung in the other and both ready to do as much damage as possible.
In A Nutshell
Apple claim Samsung not only copied the basic look and design of their iPhone’s but that they’re also copied basic usability functions like the tab to zoom function and the bounce back feature once you’ve finished scrolling to the end of a page. They also claim the Google Android operating system copied their operating system too (yup, they’re also after Google)
Samsung are said to have proof they were working on a similar design for their current design before the 2007 launch of the iPhone and it’s actually Apple who copied others for their design. They’ve also been quoted as saying no one buys a phone because of the bounce back feature (although this has been removed from their latest products). The crux of Samsung’s argument is Apple has been using Samsung’s standard essential patents without paying the legally required royalties and their iPhone wouldn’t exist without these technologies.
So We Just Need To Work Out Who Copied Who First?
No – Apple have been chasing not only Samsung but also anyone else they feel stole their technology round the globe. In some cases they’ve had success:
• Germany banned the sale of some of Samsung’s tablets on the grounds they’d infringed patent laws
• A US judge issued an injunction against the Nexus phone but this was stayed so they are still on sale
It hasn’t always gone Apple’s way though:
• A UK judge not only said the Galaxy tab wasn’t copied from the iPad but also demanded Apple make a formal statement both in national British press and on their UK website informing all their customers Samsung didn’t copy their iPad (which is pretty funny)
• A US judge threw one similar case out of court because the patent laws were so ridiculous and confusing they couldn’t be taken seriously.
And The Problems Don’t Stop There:
• Apple issued the original suit which means its taking place in their home town of Silicon Valley so some are arguing they might have home town advantage; after all they’re a massive source of employment for the area.
• The jury selection has had to be very careful – Silicon Valley is where the US based tech giants live, a lot of people have something to do with one of the companies involved in this case which would make them an invalid choice.
• This case is focused around patents and very complicated ones at that, Silicon Valley might be home to some of the most intelligent tech minds in the country but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to be able to keep up with the level of detail in this case
Ideally Apple would like to see Samsung forced to remove their products which Apple feel violate their patents and pay damages for loss of earnings whilst they’ve been on the shelf.
Samsung claim Apple’s products couldn’t operate without using the technology Samsung own patents for and although anyone can use their patented technology, it’s only on the condition they’re paid. Apple don’t deny using this tech and they don’t deny not paying, their argument is Samsung charge an unreasonable fee and refuse to pay, quite ironic if you consider one of the few things that now separate Apple from other similar products is their extortionate price!
The most likely outcome is these two will settle out of court but one thing is for sure, any judgments made in this case could dramatically change the technology landscape as it stands at the moment.
Jessie works for www.BusinessMobiles.co.uk who will be keeping a close eye on this trail as it unfolds