(Image Credit: The Guardian)
Apple suing Samsung has become quite of a routine with the two smartphone giants returning to their fighting arenas (i.e, the court) to fight each other. They sue on obscure and small things such as animations and subtle design features and have often been referred to as patent trolls, i.e someone or something who just sues for money, not for actual sales damages.
“There’s a widespread suspicion that lots of the kinds of software patents at issue are written in ways that cover more ground than what Apple or any other tech firm actually invented,” Notre Dame law professor Mark McKenna said. “Overly broad patents allow companies to block competition.”
In the last trial which was held in the summer of 2012, the final decision was in the favor of Apple, forcing Samsung to cough up around $930 million. Samsung is now appealing the decision, but even as it is doing that, Apple has drawn it in into another patent war.
The new patent wars are about the two giants of the industry accusing each other: Apple is accusing Samsung of copying some software features such as Slide to Unlock, Tap to Search, etc.
To be exact, the two giants are suing each other over a total of seven patents: 5 by Apple and 2 by Samsung.
Apple’s patents over which the suing is being held: Slide to Unlock, Universal Search, Background syncing (Auto updating of apps in the background. Example: Used in Mail apps which fetch your emails even when the app is not active) , Quick Links (Automatic detection of data in messages which can be clicked. For example, a message may contain an email or web address or phone number and due to quick links, the email/web address/phone number can be tapped upon and they will open in their apps) and finally predictive text (Pretty self explanatory, isn’t it?)
Samsung’s patents over which the suing is being held: Video Compression and organization of photo albums.
Apple’s stance in court documents: “Apple revolutionised the market in personal computing devices,” claims Apple in court documents. “Samsung, in contrast, has systematically copied Apple’s innovative technology and products, features and designs, and has deluged markets with infringing devices.”
Samsung’s stance in court documents: “Samsung has been a pioneer in the mobile device business sector since the inception of the mobile device industry. Apple has copied many of Samsung’s innovations in its Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad products.”
But this time, the patents Apple is suing over, are built into Android and are not explicitly a part of Touchwiz. But Apple cannot sue Google directly.
Technically it can, but it will not offer Apple much advantage. This is because the main objective of such patent wars is to weaken the competitor and by suing Google, Apple has no market advantage, as Google only owns and maintains the software while hardware manufacturers run Android on their devices.
So it would make more sense to sue these hardware manufacturers which take up market share, than to directly sue Google, which technically has no market share.
This time around, something is different: Samsung has got in Google into the arena, to testify, hoping to prove to everyone that Android and Touchwiz were created separately and differently from iOS. Samsung wants to say that these features were either built before or not inspired in anyway by iOS.
I.e, Samsung wants to imply that none of it’s or Android’s features were copied from iOS.
Apple may also be suing to remove these “certain” features from Android.
Devices that are affected by the suing:
Apple: iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPod touch (5th generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and MacBook Pro.
Samsung: Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy SII, Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy SII Skyrocket, Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Tab II 10.1, and Stratosphere.
Apple wants $40 per device sold for restitution which costs Samsung roughly 2 Billion dollars. Meanwhile, if Samsung wins, it could cost Apple upto 7 million dollars, which is a much smaller number when you see what is at stake for Samsung.
Many experts have deemed Apple’s demand to be extremely high.
“You rarely get from the jury what you ask for, so companies aim high,” German patent analyst Florian Müller said. “But in my opinion this is so far above a reasonable level the judge should not have allowed it.”
The parties are currently in the process of jury selection and are currently conflicted: Samsung wants jurors who haven’t heard of previous trials while Apple wants to assert that it had won many trials against Samsung to the jurors.
Plus, the jury members must have no connection whatsoever to either of the two parties.
The trial will be held in at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.