Why Apple is suing Samsung and why Samsung will likely settle

“Where there’s a hit, there’s a writ – especially in the smartphone industry, where firms often seem to spend more time suing one another than they do actually making phones,” Gary Marshall reports for TechRadar UK.

“So it’s not entirely surprising that Samsung has attracted the attention of Apple’s legal rottweilers. This is, after all, a firm whose – great – products tend to be reviewed using terms such as ‘Looks like an iPhone,'” Marshall reports. “There’s no doubt in our minds that somebody at Samsung might possibly have seen an iPhone, and maybe an iPad too. The Galaxy S looks awfully like the iPhone, and Samsung’s own TouchWiz user interface looks rather like iOS. Apple reckons that’s no coincidence, and according to the WSJ it alleges that Samsung ‘chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style.'”

Marshall writes, “Samsung has two choices here. It can argue that function dictates form, that there are only so many ways you can operate a phone or tablet with a touch screen and that its technology evolved independently. Or it can shut up and give Apple some cash. My money’s on the latter.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple to Samsung: ‘Blatant copying is wrong’ – April 18, 2011
Apple sues Samsung for attempting to copy look and feel of iPhone, iPad – April 18, 2011

33 Comments

    1. More than likely they will have to take their products off the market and create something else.

      Remember the eOne from eMachines that pretty much copied the look of the original iMac? Was taken off the shelf and they had to redesign it.

  1. “Give Apple some cash?!” Apple already has cash. The only excuse for taking that deal would be to make Samsung phones profitless. How about requiring them to actually create their own stuff rather than fool people by trying to look like an iPhone?

    1. Even though you may be headed in the same direction as someone else, it doesn’t mean you need to march to their beat as well. There are many other examples to demonstrate the possibility of creating a unique UI and hardware design that is not a blatant copy of Apple’s products. Samsung clearly lacked the vision to create their own.

      1. This time, Apple is what?

        As for your declarations, we’ll wait and see. Personally, I can think of a lot of reasons why they should license iOS. First and foremost being, it would accelerate Apple past Exxon like it was standing still.

        To think that licensing iOS would somehow diminish Apple’s efforts to distinguish themselves from the competition is a straw man.

        To think that Apple is a hardware company who only makes great software for their products is no longer true, as evidenced by the billions of downloads to the Windows platform. Windows consumers who have made Apple filthy rich.

        If Samsung were making knock-offs with Apple’s blessing and licensing iOS to boot, Apple would truly be living by their conviction that if you deliver great products at a fair price, people will buy, and not steal.

        Apple should say to Samsung, for thirty-percent of your gross smartphone sales and you can license iOS and leap past your competition.

        Licensing iOS will drive business to the App and iTunes stores, which is what Apple’s business model for iDevices has become.

        Sell one phone and make three-hundred in profit, but earn ten-times as much money selling content over the life of a two-year contract.

        Consumers who buy a iOS-licensed product could easily change brands and still remain loyal App/iTunes store customers.

        That, my friend could turn the Telcom industry on its ear, again.

        1. Right, just as Apple needed to license Mac OS to survive, how it needed to license Pixo for iPod to grow, and how it *still* needs to license Mac OS to grow…

          I’m sorry if am more than skeptical…

          1. I never suggested Apple license OS X, not for any reason. That, is a whole ‘nuther dimension to Apple they will keep to themselves. For you to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.

            Not only that LSM, but I never suggested that Apple has to license iOS in order to survive. They don’t HAVE to license anything and they’ll do remarkably well.

            I’m suggesting, Apple is so powerful anymore, they could license iOS and have every cell phone manufacturer coming to them for an OS and every cell phone/tablet consumer on the planet would be shopping at the App and iTunes Store.

        2. Great idea. Turn Apple/iOS into Google/Android. That could take Fragmandroid to the next level. It would reduce iPhone profit margin and profitability to razor thin margins just like Android devices. Thus, the playing field would be leveled and Apple wouldn’t have that big of an advantage.

          Excellent. Well thought out. Brilliant. Just brilliant my friend.

          Who the $@#$% do you work for? HP? RIM? GOOGLE?

          1. Great idea. Turn Apple/iOS into Google/Android.

            Obviously there is an extent to which your thinking will carry you. Why do you bother to discuss the matter when it’s quite apparent you can’t think different.

            Why do you even have to go there? Myopic much?

            Why do you imagine Apple would screw up a licensing deal now, after excelling at every thing else these past ten years?

            Oh, I get it, you think HP, RIM, and Google would have their way with Apple, that’s why your comments are dripping in sarcasm.

            I believe Apple could turn everyone of their competitors into a partner overnight, just by sharing a piece of the pie.

            1. Good god, what an idiot. Apple doesn’t need to “screw up a licensing deal.” There is no evidence that anyone would want to license it.

        3. You really are an imbecile on so many levels.

          If you think anyone is going to give Apple 30% of their revenue for an OS when Android is free, you should just kill yourself for the benefit of the gene pool. 30% of their revenue is probably more than their entire profit.

          Also, half–wit, Winblows users have nothing to do with making Apple rich. Apple is rich BECAUSE THEY SELL SO MANY PHONES. Period. Learn to read a quarterly report or STFU, because you look like an imbecile. They do in fact make virtually ALL their money on HARDWARE.

        4. The mistake you make with the licencing idea is that you believe everyone loves and wants ios.

          if samsung put ios onto their phones their sales would plumet.

          samsung outsells apple in the smartphone market, they just dont make the same ludicrous profits that apple make thru the app store which apple users are locked into.

          google android has 52 percent of the os market, apple about 14, and again google dont lock you into their market either, nor place censorship of certain apps against their users just because it interferes with their will, or the telco they sell thru.

          as the common user gets comfortable with the new smartphones these numbers are increasing, and the shear volume of android followers (a linux offshoot just like mac x) the profits from the itunes and app store will ultimately diminish.

          i say all of this with an apple ii still functioning in my office and a knife thru my heart from all the anti-competitive behavior my once loved apple commits in the name of profits

  2. Man, the FUD is flying thick and fast on other sites related to this story, as Samsung sure doesn’t sound like they want to settle. Some sanity to help ground this story:

    Apple almost certainly tried to work with Samsung on this directly. Apple didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to sue Samsung – I’m sure there were behind-the-scenes negotiations going on, which clearly must have broken down.

    Samsung probably figured they have leverage on Apple, that by being a major Apple supplier they can get away with blatantly copying Apple’s products. Apple is making it clear to them that this is not the case. So of course Samsung is going to resort to saber-rattling.

    Many of the same people who are saying Apple shouldn’t have sued Samsung probably also argued that Apple shouldn’t have called the police about the stolen iPhone 4 prototype, either. Apple’s apparently supposed to just roll over and play dead when someone steals their prototypes, or the look-and-feel of their products.

    To be clear: I’m not really a fan of this lawsuit. But I don’t pretend to know all of the behind-the-scenes facts, either. And most of the evidence to date seems to indicate that Apple knows what they’re doing, so can we give them the benefit of the doubt on this? At least until it’s conclusively shown whether or not this was a mistake.

  3. What an ignorant comment: functions per se have nothing to do with trade dress since the look is disputed; Samsung can not argue anything with discussing functionality.

  4. The part of the story that’s not getting into the western press yet is Samsung’s defensive claim that it possesses a lock on a large number of key telecommunications patents for cell phone technology that Apple may be deemed as violating. Since Samsung is racking up huge numbers of new U.S. patents (2nd only behind IBM last year), their defensive strategy cannot be casually dismissed. In short, they may have figured, we can rip off the iphone interface because 1) Apple needs us for parts and 2) they’re already ripping us off.

  5. There are any number of alternative ways to Choose or open an App on your phone. The Os does not need to look like a grid with chiclet buttons. Samsung may need to rethink how you view your aps and open them. Maybe android will be forced to use scrolling lists to see aps instead of these buttons? It will be interesting to see how this turns out, but I think Apple has a STRONG case for the appearance of the phone OS’s. Usually I’m wrong though when I think something is so obvious…

    1. Aren’t icon buttons a rip-off of the PC desktop? Is touching an icon with your mouse (an extension of your finger) that different than touching directly?

      what Apple is suing over is that they have rounded buttons and a bar of icons on the bottom that don’t move.

      If Samsung had put that row on the top or side and scrolled up and down it wouldn’t have been an issue. Come to think of it, I wonder if that wouldn’t have been a better arrangement anyhow.

  6. The competition when they copied Apple products have 80% of the job already completed for them. The other 20% is just getting an Android or Window operating system for their products. No sweat and no innovation involved.

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