Apple v. Samsung: Three imminent events could alter balance in global smartphone patent war

“Apple Inc. hasn’t had much to show for its two years of effort to prove Samsung Electronics Co. ‘slavishly copied’ its iPhone, as its top competitor became the world’s biggest smartphone maker,” Susan Decker and Peter Burrows report for Bloomberg.

“Its next chance at putting a dent in Samsung’s sales comes today, when a U.S. trade agency in Washington is to announce whether it will block imports of some of the Korean company’s phones,” Decker and Burrows report. “An import ban on some iPhone 4s starts at midnight Aug. 4 unless President Barack Obama intervenes, while an appeals court hears Apple’s arguments for banning Samsung products in a separate case Aug. 9.”

Decker and Burrows report, “Those three events could alter the balance in the global smartphone-patent battle — leaving one company in a better bargaining position, continuing the cycle of litigation or forcing both sides to the negotiating table. The fight is for more share of a market that grew 34 percent to $293.9 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.”

“Apple filed the first salvo in April 2011, a month after the company unveiled the iPad 2 in what co-founder Steve Jobs dubbed the ‘Year of Copycats’ after those who sought to emulate the success of the iPhone and iPad,” Decker and Burrows report. “That case resulted in a San Jose, California jury deciding in August 2012 that more than two dozen models of Samsung devices infringed Apple features like the look of the iPhone, use of a pinching gesture and double taps to zoom into images. Despite the verdict, the trial judge allowed Samsung to continue selling the products, saying there was no direct link between those features and the reasons people buy smartphones.”

MacDailyNews Take: Then she strapped on her helmet, attached her drool cup and boarded her short bus.

Decker and Burrows report, “Apple is also looking to avoid disruption to its customers. It has asked Obama and the U.S. Trade Representative to overturn the ITC’s June import ban on some iPhone 4 models on the grounds Samsung is misusing patents in standardized technology used by the entire phone industry. Apple said that Samsung is violating its pledge to license standards patents on fair and reasonable terms.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s stunning and inherently sad that something this blatant takes this long to adjudicate.

Apple’s products came first, then Samsung’s:
Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement

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  1. Blaming Samsung for copying Apple and winning market share is like blaming the Taliban for lawlessness in Afghanistan. You can complain until your face is blue but it doesn’t change one damn thing. Not one damn thing.

    Apple brought this on itself by refusing to bring out a larger iPhone and a cheaper iPhone. That, my friends, is the root of the problem. So unless Tim Cook gets off his ass and does something about it, bringing all the lawsuits in the world against Samsung is going to be a total waste of time.

    What Apple doesn’t understand is Samsung is like the Vietcong. They aren’t going to roll up and lie down just because of a couple of lawsuits in the court of Judge Lucy Koh. No sirreee, you might as well whistle in the wind with that kind of brain dead approach.

    1. Yes but they are finally bringing the cheaper iPhone to market. Late but it is coming. Sad to say the larger iPhone, needed even more, is not in sight. That is hurting Apple. Hopefully by early spring they will finally roll it out for the consumer. When they do it will instantly be the top shelf iPhone. And the share price will follow.

      1. Yes by which time many have gone to the dark side and probably wont return or change. At the very least Apple has now allowed Samsung to take the initiative and gain so much profit that it can buy all the bits and bobs it needs to cut production costs while at this rate probably raising those for Apple. all because Apple didn’t see it coming or didn’t think it needed to react. Doesn’t give me confidence. Today O2 network said its 4G wont work on iPhone 5 but will offer its customers a free change to another phone. Meanwhile Apple is perceived to be sticking its head in the sand. Whoopy!

    2. Larger iPhone?
      Width some of iOS items
      320 pixels – screen width of first iPhone
      320 pixels – left side of split screen on first iPad
      320 pixels – popover default width on first iPad
      320 points – retina display width iPhone
      320 points – left side of split screen on retina iPad
      320 points – popover default width on retina iPad
      So boys and girls, tell me what’s going to give, to create this “larger iPhone” you are wishing for. 😎

    3. So BLN, are you advocating Apple go back to the days of the Centris, Performa and Mac variations from hell? That, as much as anything else, almost killed Apple. Can you even say, without looking it up, what the difference was between a Performa 6400 and a Performa 6410 or even between a Performa 6400 and a Mac 6400? Hell, most Apple employees couldn’t delineate the differences even at that time!

      Also, when someone does something unethical (for sure) and illegal (should be, though some U.S. Courts can’t seem to realize this) you take them to task for it — as Apple has done.

      You can’t (or at least shouldn’t be allowed to) sign up to a standard and get the standards committee to base the standard on your patented technology THEN charge a small, do nothing company a $0.01 per device for a license and try to charge your largest competitor $0.12 per device for a license! This goes directly against the FRAND concept all such patent holders supposedly support!

      Apple needs to actively push the technology and systems and methods forward. Just making the same stuff with 10 different sized screens and different backs is not it.

    4. “You can complain until your face is blue but it doesn’t change one damn thing. Not one damn thing.”

      That is why Apple is suing Samsung. If Apple can win some basic suits then it can move the tide against samsung. Its a long term game plan and the only way to defeat cheaters. Will it work??? Well there are those in our government that the law means nothing. Only personal power.

      And while samsung may be the vietcong, if you think that the only way to defeat them is to become them, then the battle is lost already. Consider the long game.

      This quarter, samsung, Microsoft and HTC (among others) reported a very bad quarter and more ahead. Apple reported a better than expected quarter (not super but better than expected). Apple keeps moving up, others keep moving down. But you have to learn to ignore the stupid ads that the others take out, lying about how great things are going. ie. “The S4 is doing super great….” that is why we are losing money on it…… and ” SurfaceRT is a great machine and doing well” that is why we took a BILLION dollar write off on it this quarter.

      Look around you, even here in a poor part of texas, I see tons of Apple products. Yes Android is here but only cause its cheaper and there are lots of poor, but even the poor can buy an iPhone 4…….

      Just saying.

    5. You got that right. A company with as much money as Apple has should not be seen as weak as it is. If you want to dominate, you need to go all out. Don’t play the nice guy. I question as to whether Apple cares at all about dominating the smartphone industry. It may not matter to them at all. However, to Wall Street and the rest of the smartphone industry it makes Apple look stupid and lazy. I get tired of listening to those jackass hedge fund managers saying that Apple doesn’t have much of a future because the smartphone competition is too tough for them.

      On one hand, you have a company like Amazon gobbling up everything it can and overextending itself in the process. Yet you’ve got Apple sitting at the top of the heap with more money than Fort Knox and just coasting along like it doesn’t have a care in the world. As a guy, I just find the whole situation distasteful. Why should an American company with $145 billion is reserve cash get its ass kicked by some company in tiny little S. Korea?

      It might be the wrong way to look at things, but exactly what’s the point of hoarding a mountain of cash if you’re not going to use it like a sledgehammer to smash rivals into powder. You take the money and use it to beat the crap out of your rivals. Apple should never allow any of those upstarts to come even close to them. Am I wrong in thinking this way? Do you think Samsung is worrying about putting other companies out of business? Hell, no. S. Korean chaebols never think that way. Timid Cook and Apple had better kick in the afterburners next year.

      1. If you were Apple’s CEO then Apple would die off within the year. Business is not war, it is more complicated. Having a big cash hoard is a great asset but diplomacy and shared interests are better weapons. Most of all, you have to read into the business climate. Apple will burn alot of cash trying to bring Samsung to their knees, even then that might accomplish nothing as another O.E.M will rise to take its place. Apple will also come off as a cooperate bully which can’t stand competition.

        Samsung has managed to hold off the impending fines because they are so well protected with different parties.

    6. You REALLY don’t understand Apple if you think they will respond to anyone’s idea of what they should be doing. I hope they NEVER bring out a bigger phone, it’s unnecessary. They will differentiate the product line like they did with the iPod, increase value in their ecosystem, and will put their R&D into the next BIG THING. The best thing they could do is just move on to where the puck will be. Samsung will increasingly be exposed for faking benchmarks and making bizarre anti-Apple commercials and trying to fill every imaginable niche in the marketplace. Whatever, the shotgun approach has short term viability.

  2. Are we ready for a big disappointment from our wonderful government? Better be ready because the GOV/DOJ loves protecting anyone that rip off Apple. Specially foreign ASIAN companies!

    1. Following your logic Apple should be banned in almost every Asian country of the world (Including China)

      Would this be of any good for Apple?? Really?

      Or you have “fair” (As much as it can be) trade ruled by laws that each country must respect (including USA) or you have a protected market. In the case of a protected market everyone hides his a$$.

      If the US gouvernment would come up with such a precedent, the implication for Apple and the global US economy, could be a disaster.

        1. “China is not samsungs home turf.”

          Nop… You’re right. China is not Samsungs home turf but it’s the home turf of Huawei and many other brands which make Android Phones.

          My answer was related to Jubeis statement about protecting US companies (in this case Apple) from Asian companies (not only Samsung) even in opposition to legal decisions

  3. Apple does not make junk. If Apple were to license iOS to other vendors, relent on the licensing to put apps onto a device you own outside of the app store, bring iOS development to other platforms such as Windows they would be ten thousand times more profitable than any Android crap. Apple was turned from this path when Steve returned. Steve is gone now. We should be able to create any app we want, and be able to load it on any iPhone/iPad/iPod touch that wants to let us do that… oh wait! That is the ilk of Microsloth and SameDung and GaggmeWithaSpoonle… my bad… sorry.

  4. I will grant this: Samsung undeniably copied Apple with the early galaxies, A settlement talk should have solved this years ago. Apple has been trollish by adding the likes of the S3 & S4 both of which are massively distinguishable from the iPhone.

    It will be lovely if all that litigation money went to innovation.

    1. The claims against the original Galaxy was trade dress and software features (rubber band – screen bounce, double tap to zoom picture, pinch to zoom, etc.). Subsequent Galaxy’s, S3/S4, continued to infringe on the software features and why there were added.

      1. This patent war is a terrible pain in the a$$. I really hope Apple and Samsung will settle and continue to do what they do best… Build stuff.

        But as long as this BS goes on we have to work with it and I would like to correct some of your statements:

        – Ruber band patent : Validated by the USPTO
        – Screen bounce : Invalidated by the USPTO
        – Double tap to zoom : I’m not sure about the actual status but I’ll come back to it below
        – Frand : You didn’t talk about that but other did… So also a little word about that below

        Double Tap:
        Why is that problematic. “Double tap”(Double click) as well as zoom are very basic features used since the very beginning of image viewing. They should never have been combined in a single patent. It’s like patenting pressing “CTRL+Q” (A key combination) to make a search (Basic feature). Patentig their usage in conjuction is just an open door to patent EVERYTHING regardless of being justified or not.

        Everyone here takes as fact that Samsung used a frand patent in the lawsuit it won recently. The problem is that this is an Apple statement but it has been rejected by the ITC. The ITC states in its ruling that Apple has not actually been able to prove that the patent is standards-essential in the first place, and thus, it cannot invoke the FRAND claim at all.

    2. No, Samsung built its brand and customer base off of copying so really everything that Samsung does going forward is based on ripping off Apples trade dress and patents. Samsung has differentiated on the trade dress issue but that will never solve the fundamental issue that they got where they are by stealing. Further Samsung is still ripping off Apple’s non FRAND IP.

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