Hostility on patents is not new to the IT world; what has changed in so many years is its gravity.
Earlier, patent allegations surfaced on account of popularity of a particular gadget, but these days, vendors pull the competitor even prior to the product launch. The classic example being Apple and Samsung combat over patents. Apple has not yet released iPhone 5 and Samsung is ready to launch a legal action against it. The two companies have locked horns over smartphone and tablet patents and design issues. And with each passing day, their rivalry is taking a dark turn. Let’s have an overview of the patent battleground.
Who kick-started the war?
The tech giant Apple initiated the battle in mid-April, 2011. The iPad maker accused Samsung for infringing on its intellectual property. The lawsuit covered Samsung’s Android-based smartphones and tablets including Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy Tab, Epic 4G etc.
What was Samsung primarily accused of?
Apple not only attacked Samsung for imitating its technology but user interface and product design as well. Apple sued its arch rival Samsung over Galaxy products for emulating the look and feel of iPad and iPhone.
How the smoke spread to global markets?
Within a week of Apple’s initial lawsuit in the United States, Samsung hit back in Germany, Japan, and its native South Korea. The Korean giant then brought the legal battle back to the United States. Now, Apple-Samsung battle has spread across various countries including France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
Samsung has already lost a court ruling in Germany and has been prevented from selling the Galaxy line of tablets in the European Union. Unsurprisingly, Samsung immediately filed an appeal.
What both tech majors exactly want?
Apple hasn’t completely detailed what it’s seeking from the lawsuits, but in each case Apple is focusing on an injunction barring the sale and marketing of Samsung’s allegedly-infringing products in a particular market. Apple may seek compensatory damages and punitive damages to daunt Samsung and other companies from infringing again.
More or less, it seems Samsung too wants the same outcome from lawsuits.
Who’s leading the war?
Assessing the present scenario, Apple is emerging as victorious but there’s a long way to go. Apple has won the battle partially against Samsung when their request for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab in Europe was approved. Although the court’s ruling was later scaled back to apply only to Germany rather than the whole European Union, Apple later on won a permanent embargo against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany.
The injunction just applies to Samsung’s German subsidiary; the Galaxy Tab 10.1 can still be sold to Germany customers by other Samsung divisions or retailers outside Germany. Yet it is a significant legal victory for Apple.
Samsung has also been stressed to defer the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia over the litigation.
What’s the likely conclusion? Samsung is not taking the litigation lightly and is determined to guard its Galaxy smartphone and tablet product lines.
Samsung seems intent on protecting its Galaxy smartphone and tablet product lines by spawning litigation. Given the slow pace of court systems, it’s possible for Samsung to draw proceedings long enough that the cases won’t get to court until after the products have been withdrawn from the market. And at this point, it’s safe to assume Samsung’s designs for future smartphones and tablets will bear less “trade dress” resemblance to Apple products.
Apple’s early injunction triumphs could pose a threat. So far, Apple has effectively built momentum to keep Samsung Galaxy’s products off the market, and Samsung has already put them on hold in Australia. Apple may exercise those victories to enjoy an upper hand in settlement negotiations.
How the biggies tackle it in the best possible manner is yet to see?
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