In the past 5 years, Apple and Samsung have become the two most popular smartphone and tablet manufacturers in the world. With an increase in demand for the products like smartphones and tablets, companies get more and more responsibilities to maintain their market share. The patent litigations we see today in tech industry are classic examples of corporate greed that takes away customer choice and welfare.
Rather than innovating and competing with better products and services, all tech companies (Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, etc) are trying to destroy the versatility and diversity of the market through patent lawsuits. Tech companies seem to be spending more and more money in acquisition of patents for defensibility purposes. The problem here is the patent office that grants such baseless patents in the first place. Without going into too many details, we wanted to give you a snapshot of the lawsuit timeline between Apple and Samsung.
Do you know a solution to solve the problems that exist in the tech industry today? Give us your thoughts and opinions on these ridiculous patent lawsuits.
Update: After the three week long trial in the United States, jury of 9 ordinary people has decided that Samsung infringed on Apple’s patents and ordered Samsung to pay $1.05 Billion in damages.The patents in questions revolved around bounce back scrolling, tap-to-zoom, and trade design. We have statements on the outcome of the case from both Apple and Samsung.
Apple CEO Tim Cook:
We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trail showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.
Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.
The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims. Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office. The mobile industry is moving fast and all players — including newcomers — are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don’t want anything to limit that.
In our opinion, it is a very a hard task to define whether a company has infringed on a very hard to understand and technical patent claims. Apple was very smart during this trial, they played the innovator role and convinced the jury that Samsung had just copied the work that took 4-5 years of research and development. Apple also played it smart by giving the jury around 700 questions to answer by involving over 30 different Samsung phones. In doing so, Apple forced the jury to make the decision that Apple was right before they started answering all of the patent infringement questions. This is mainly because the jury was expected to take weeks for answering those 700 questions but instead they took only 22 hours total. In conclusion, we think that Samsung did try to make their earlier products look like the iPhone to appeal to consumers who couldn’t afford the iPhone and both companies should have settled a long time ago to avoid this litigation mess we are witnessing right now.