“In 2007, when Apple unveiled the iPhone, Samsung was still best known for its flat-panel televisions. Since then, Samsung has rocketed to the top of the smartphone world in terms of sales and units shipped and sparked an epic technological — and legal — rivalry,” Bret Swanson writes for Forbes. “In courtrooms around the world, Apple and Samsung are squaring off over mobile device patents. The skirmishes began in 2011, and today some 40 lawsuits still hang in the balance. The next battlefield is San Jose, where a trial in the Northern District of California begins on March 31.”

“According to Asymco, Apple’s iPhone represents an impressive 15% of all mobile units shipped around the world. But the iPhone enjoys nearly 40% of the revenue and an astounding 60% of industry profits,” Swanson writes. “Samsung, meanwhile, accounts for around 50% of units shipped, 50% of revenue, and 40% of profits. Apple and Samsung, between them, take home 100% of the mobile handset industry profits.”

“In previous trials Samsung was ordered to pay $929 million, and the International Trade Commission issued an import ban on Samsung products. After months of mediation on the current contentions, the two firms have not been able to reach an agreement. And so off to court we go, where a judge and jury will potentially determine the future of mobile device IP,” Swanson writes.

“Apple holds large numbers of legitimate patents for true inventions. But our patent system has also encouraged firms to patent anything and everything, including beveled icons and touch-screen finger-swipes,” Swanson writes. “Apple’s demands in this case are off the charts. Apple insists Samsung pay it $40 per phone or tablet, for a set of just five relatively minor software patents. This is perhaps 10 or 20 times, or more, what experts would expect. In previous litigation, it had suggested $30 per unit for its entire IP portfolio. A fee of that magnitude could upend the mobile marketplace by significantly driving up the prices of Samsung devices, which consumers clearly love. All this against the unsettling backdrop of whether some of these patents should be patents at all.”

Swanson writes, “Apple didn’t become great because of its lawyers. Neither did Samsung. Consumers around the world are hoping they settle their intense competition on the field of innovation, not in the courtroom.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Samsung stole from Apple. Google’s Android is, in Steve Jobs’ words, a “stolen product.” That – blatant theft – is why these interminable court cases and their endless sequels rage.

The iPhone was a revolution. Copying it so closely was the overriding reason why dishwasher-maker Samsung emerged as the leader of the iPhone knockoff peddlers.

Consumers should fervently hope that Samsung is someday finally severely punished [even though Samsung has been slavishly copying Apple’s iPhone for over 6 years, they haven’t paid a cent so far], so that the innovators of the world will see that, yes, it actually is still worth taking the time and spending the money that it takes to innovate. Failure to preserve the innovator’s rights will rapidly lead to crippling stagnation.

Apple’s products came first, then Samsung’s:

Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement

Google’s Android before and after Apple’s iPhone:

Google Android before and after Apple's iPhone

I don’t know which is worse: Samsung’s slavish copying or that there are tens of millions of dullards and/or morally-crippled consumers who would buy such obvious knockoffs. What kind of person rewards thieves, especially such obvious ones? What kind of person hands over their money to make sure that crime pays? What’s wrong with you people, exactly?

It makes me sad that there are outfits like Samsung Electronics on the planet, as I was with Microsoft before them. People who work for Samsung Electronics should be ashamed. It makes me even sadder to see people supporting blatant criminals, whether it be blindly or, worse, knowingly. To those people I say: Get some morals, will you, or how about at least acquiring a modicum of taste?

What you’re doing is supporting criminal activity. It’s like you’re buying knockoff Coach handbags, but you’re paying pretty much the Coach price! Not too smart, eh? Oh, sure, you might have “saved” a bit upfront on your fake iPhone (maybe you got one of those Buy One Get One or More Free deals), but you’re paying the same data rates – after a couple years, you’ve pretty much paid the same anyway! So, in the end, you’re saving little or nothing while:

a) depriving the company who basically inspired your inferior, fragmented product;
b) depriving yourself of the real deal and the real experience, and;
c) rewarding the criminal, encouraging them to steal even more.

Not a lot of sense being made in any aspect of your toting around that Android phone, is there? Oh, right it’s “open.” Smirk. And, yes, every one of us with the real thing knows that you’re carrying around a half-assed fake, you tasteless wonder.

Didn’t you people have parents? If so, what did they teach you, if anything? Sheesh.SteveJack, MacDailyNews, August 6, 2012

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