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Archive for December 9th, 2013

And my final observation for tonight…

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Samsung vs Apple: The Great Tech Lawsuit

As most smart-phone owners will have come to realize, there are some general similarities and areas of overlap in the design and appearance of all smart-phones on the market today. Whether it be the rough physical design of a phone, or even the way that applications appear on a menu, there are definite likenesses in all smart-phones, and especially so in the case of Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxies.

But where does similarity end and copying begin? Read on to find out about claims of copying made by the two giants against each other and find out who ultimately won out!

The Court Case

Throughout 2012 legal warfare raged between the two companies Apple and Samsung, over allegations made by Apple that Samsung had infringed a number of Apple patents relating to the aesthetic and functional features of its 2007 iPhone by bringing out its Samsung Galaxy series. Samsung, for its part, has alleged that Apple copied elements of Samsung’s 3G technology and utility functions such as emailing and multitasking. There has since been a retrial, and it is expected that many more related legal battles could flow on from the current dispute.

Aside from compensatory damages being sought for supposed theft, both sides have been fighting hard to have their respective patents recognized so that they can charge licensing fees for companies wanting to use those products. With all these potential profits at stake, competition has been and will likely continue to be fierce. Read below to see just what accusations are being made.

Apple’s Case

Apple’s original intention was to seek around $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung in anticipation of lost profits and market share. In 2012 proceedings, they claimed that Samsung had copied the physical aesthetic of its phones with its Galaxy series and that they had copied zoom in scrolling and screen-bouncing features from the Apple visual display. All in all, Apple was claiming that Samsung had copied six of its patents, and that it was accordingly entitled to damages. And true enough, the court held in Apple’s favour at first instance in 2012, awarding the American giant over $1 billion in damages for five patent violations and dismissing Samsung’s counterclaims.

Fast forward to 2013 and Apple seems to be having a little trouble cementing its earlier gains in court. In the most recent developments in the retrial (which Samsung argued for), four of the five patent claims relied on by Apple for the court Judge has dismissed its loss-of-profits arguments. So too has the amount of damages decreased, now to only a fraction of what was originally awarded. It will be interesting to see what moves Apple makes next as the legal battle continues.

Samsung’s Case

When taken to court in 2012 by Apple, Samsung’s initial argument was that it had not copied any of Apple’s payments and that, in fact, Apple had copied Samsung patents relating to 3G technology and email and multitasking technologies. Apple of course denied the allegations, and the jury at close of trial found that Apple was correct in its denial, although it couldn’t confirm that Samsung’s patents were not unique to or owned by Samsung. Samsung hit back at the initial judgment by arguing for a retrial, which ultimately was granted and has been going throughout 2013. At present, Samsung has managed to disprove that it had copied four of the five patents claimed to be Apple’s, and is arguing to have damages reduced further.

It’s clear therefore that by way of the retrial, Samsung’s losses have been substantially reduced and many of its actions were not deemed to be improper or unethical.

The Future

Aside from the issue of damages – the amount of which Apple would want to restore to first-trial levels – the matter of who is recognized to own what patent is extremely important to both sides in the dispute. This is because of the fact that other companies must pay an oftentimes-expensive licensing fee to the inventor-company to use their patent. Therefore, it’s fair to say that who has patented the specific technology gains a stronger foothold in the smart-phone market place.

So, here’s hoping that whoever prevails in this nasty legal spat between techno-giants, the sour taste of loss or the giddy heights of victory don’t pass down tough constraints on us smart-phone buyers!

This post is done in partnership with Flexirent, who offers laptop rentals and phone rentals for business and personal use.

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