Apple’s biggest enemy in smartphone wars: Molasses-like legal systems

“Apple Inc has spent nearly three years fighting its rivals in a global smartphone patent war. Now, setbacks in two key U.S. court cases are laying bare why a drawn-out battle could be bad news for the iPhone maker,” Dan Levine reports for Reuters.

“Last Thursday, Judge Richard Posner in Chicago federal court canceled Apple’s long-awaited trial against Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility division, which makes devices powered by the Internet search company’s Android mobile operating system. The trial had been set to start this week,” Levine reports. “Then in an order late on Monday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, effectively dashed Apple’s hopes of stopping the launch of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy S III smartphone, which also runs on Android. Koh had said Apple’s push to get a court order blocking the June 21 launch would overload her calendar, given Apple’s high-stakes trial over other Samsung devices set for July that she is overseeing.”

Levine reports, “The latest decisions don’t doom Apple’s courtroom efforts – the company can appeal Posner’s ruling, while Koh’s directive had nothing to do with the merits of the Samsung case about to go to trial, or the legal arguments for an injunction on the new Samsung smartphone. But delays in moving its cases through the courts is a blow to Apple’s efforts to get quick and favorable rulings that it hopes would give it an edge in the marketplace for mobile devices… ‘The stalemate is much more of a victory for the accused infringers than it is for Apple,’ said Brian Love, a professor at Stanford Law School who studies patent litigation.”

“Courts don’t move as quickly as new technology,” Levine reports. “At a court hearing last week, Apple attorney Josh Krevitt complained that Samsung is able to release new phones before the legal system has time to address their patent violations. ‘Samsung is always one step ahead, launching another product and another product,’ Krevitt said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Crime obviously pays. Very well.

Now, as we wrote twelve days ago:

You want to know what’s really unbelievable? That, after half a decade, at least, of Samsung’s slavish copying, Apple continues to do billions of dollars of business with Samsung. Apple, which has enough money to build or bankroll anything they want, like a chip fab, or a touch screen display factory, or anything they could ever need.

“Oh, you copied our iPhone, our iPod touch, our iOS home screen, our icons, and our Mac mini? Here’s another three endless German lawsuits and, oh yeah, by the way, a $10 billion contract for touch screens.”

Something just does not compute here. If you get mugged, do you buy the leather for a new wallet from your mugger while pressing charges? If you’re Tim Cook, you do.

Apple could have – and should have – dropped Samsung like a bad habit years ago. Not one red cent should be going from Apple to Samsung today. It’s a travesty. It’s poor planning. And it’s bad business. The only conclusion we can draw is that Tim Cook, operations genius, boxed Apple in and is now stuck; beholden to a den of thieves. That sort of “decision making” doesn’t bode well for Apple’s future. It really doesn’t.

Here’s the question Walt Mossberg should have asked Cook onstage at D10: “Excuse me, Tim, but WTF are you still doing any business at all with Samsung?”

Wouldn’t you love to hear the answer to that one? Walt could use Keynote to flash all of Samsung’s knockoffs of Apple’s designs on the big screen behind Tim while he sputtered and stammered.

Next shareholders’ meeting or conference call, somebody might want to ask Mr. Cook that one.

Tim Cook. Operations genius – in some respects. As in: Making the trains run on time, but maybe not in reducing Apple’s exposure to bad players.

Perhaps Steve, fighting cancer, was convinced by the lawyers to let the legal system work, but we have to imagine that if he was healthy and still here, by now Steve Jobs would have made plans to eliminate Samsung dependency if Apple needed to do so. He also would have already cracked some heads over there in Samsung-owned Korea, not continue to hand them multi-billion dollar contracts.

We’re still not sure Tim Cook has the killer instinct necessary to protect Apple’s best interests. He may be able to procure Retina displays in a timely fashion, but he shouldn’t be getting them from slavish Apple copier Samsung. $100+ billion can certainly buy all the Retina display production Apple needs. Hell, give us $10 billion and even we could figure it out. Steve would have at least teamed with Sharp or somebody and given them the money and engineers they needed to get the job done. Steve would have gotten the job done.

We’d like to see some of the anti-Google spirit fron WWDC used against Samsung. Multiplied by 100. Better late than never. Come on, Mr. Cook, grow a pair and start putting the hurt on Samsung that they so richly deserve and that the legal system has thus far failed to accomplish. That’s what Steve would’ve done.

And, as we wrote on June 5th:

Ah, the sloth-like injustice of it all.

Apple ought to sue the U.S. legal system for gross incompetence. It’s like wading through a swamp full of molasses-covered morons.

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

Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple faces delays in seeking U.S. ban of Samsung phones and tablets – June 5, 2012
Now Samsung slavishly copies Apple’s Mac mini – June 1, 2012
Samsung unveils Apple iTunes knock-off – May 29, 2012
Samsung’s S Voice, an Apple Siri clone, leaks; Samsung blocks rival iPhone clones from using – May 21, 2012
Samsung’s Tizen prototype has a familiar home button: Apple’s – May 8, 2012
Slavish copier Samsung shamelessly steals Apple’s iPhone 3G design – again – January 3, 2012
Now Samsung’s slavishly copying Apple’s iPad television ads (with videos) – December 30, 2011
Samsung debuts Apple iPod touch knockoff – November 6, 2011
Samsung is so not copying Apple, here’s proof – September 28, 2011
Oh Samsung, you are making this too easy – September 24, 2011
Why are Apple’s icons on the wall of Samsung’s store? – September 24, 2011
Samsung’s ‘Instinct’ is obviously to make Apple iPhone knockoffs – April 1, 2008


  1. Samsung is only part of bigger issue about which Jobs or whoever else could not do anything — incapable patent/court system.

    So there is nothing really that hints that Android mass-market triumph globally could be rightfully stopped (not in developed world, where Apple has slightly less or slightly more than half of smartphone sales).

  2. Apple sought an injunction against the S III based on its similarities to Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, a device that was released last year and *still* hasn’t seen its day in court. When seeking action against a product when it may actually – god forbid – provide a means to proactively defend its intellectual property, Judge Koh fell back on her all-too-burdened calendar (which I seem to hear entirely too much about) and threatened yet another delay.

    The courts are simply not the forum to remedy Apple’s complaints. I’m with MDN on this. Apple needs to find another supplier for Samsung’s components and hit the company where it does exert control: on Samsung’s bottom line.

  3. I am beginning to wonder about the true motivations for MDN’s vitriolic attacks against Tim Cook. Has Apple ceased shipping great products? Has Apple become unprofitable? Is there any evidence that Apple’s best people are leaving for greener pastures? Of course, the answer is no. So why does MDN treat Tim Cook like some kind of patsy or buffoon?

    As for MDN’s claim that “Hell, give us $10 billion and even we could figure it out” when it comes to displays is the kind of juvenile boasting that 1) it can make because MDN (unlike Cook) never has to worry about making good on it and 2) MDN finds it convenient to ignore the billions that Apple has spent, working with other display suppliers (specifically Sharp) getting them to produce cutting edge components that meet Apple very high standards.

    In fact, as I was writing this, I realized that MDN imagines that everything can be solved with money – we constantly read in its takes about how it would spend Apple’s billions. I have news for you geniuses – IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY. If throwing money at problems would solve them, then Microsoft would have the world’s most advanced operating system and applications, and AT&T would have the best wireless network.

    Here is the simple truth: Samsung, like it or not, has access to advanced and proprietary fabrication technologies that make it possible to make stuff like Retina displays that meet Apple’s quality, quantity and timing requirements. So far, Sharp, LG and other suppliers have not met Apple’s expectations. Throwing money at the problem won’t fix it.

    Apple makes choices about where it puts engineering efforts. As Tim Cook regularly says, just like Steve Jobs before him, Apple’s #1 priority is making the best devices in the world. It cannot do that if it reallocates its engineering expertise from its own products to solving the all the production problems of its suppliers.

    So, MDN, while your childish diatribes seeking revenge on Samsung – and taking smug swipes at Tim Cook along the way – may make for an interesting forum posting, as an adult who has used Apple’s products for nearly 30 years, and as a stockholder for over 11 years, I am quite happy that Apple is run by another adult who understands that the world is not black-and-white, that making Retina displays requires more than a factory and cheap labor, and that there is more than one way to make good on Steve’s promise to wage war on Android. In short, MDN, grow up.

    1. +100000000000

      Thank you, Ralph M, for giving voice to the frustrations many of us feel whenever MDN goes off the rails against Tim Cook personally.

      Given MDN’s persistent anti-Tim Cook nonsense, I’m surprised they didn’t change the title to “Apple’s biggest enemy in smartphone wars: Tim Cook”. While completely nonsensical, it would at least be a more honest admission of their apparent stance here.

      And MDN, honestly – let go of the “what would Steve Jobs have done” nonsense. Steve himself advised Apple to never, ever go down that road after he was gone. If you respect Steve Jobs so much, perhaps you should actually take the man’s advice?

    2. “Samsung, like it or not, has access to advanced and proprietary fabrication technologies that make it possible to make stuff like Retina displays…”

      Perhaps Apple should copy that fabrication technology and let Samsung sue.

  4. It has been reported that Tim Cook has a a thing for Asian men. Maybe he has his eye on someone at Samesung and cannot put their cojones on the chopping block.

  5. Either Apple execs are brain dead idiots or this legal show is just theater for the masses. Given their fabulous products and their other successes, I simply do not believe they are stupid. Given that, the only other possible explanation I can come up with is we are watching a theatrical performance or some kind of trap. Whatever the reason they clearly have pulled their punches intentionally.

  6. Anyone who watched the last keynote could never doubt Tim Cooks passion or love for Apple and their products. I think it is way too early to question him, give him some time, I believe he will surprise.

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