Under Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’ ‘thermonuclear war’ against iPhone copiers ends not with a bang, but with a whimper

“The smartphone patent wars are finally over,” Jack Nicas reports for The New York Times. “Apple and Samsung settled a seven-year legal fight on Wednesday, ending the most prominent case in a series of lawsuits over smartphone patents over the last decade. The companies did not disclose the settlement amount.”

“Apple first sued Samsung in 2011 for copying the design of the iPhone, kicking off a winding trail of countersuits, trials, and appeals, including a stop at the Supreme Court in 2016,” Nicas reports. “Apple initially sought to block Samsung phones from the market, but the technology at dispute has long been outdated, and the fight has since largely been about money. ”

“‘And if I had to characterize it, it didn’t really accomplish anything,’ said Brian J. Love, a Santa Clara University law professor who tracked the case. ‘Close to a decade of litigation, hundreds of millions of dollars spent on lawyers, and at the end of the day, no products went off the market,'” Nicas reports. “Apple won on paper, but it failed in its goal to gain a competitive advantage over Samsung and other phone makers in its series of lawsuits against them, said Mr. Love and Michael A. Carrier, a professor at Rutgers Law School who studies patent law.”

“After years of legal fees and countless hours of its executives’ time, Apple walked away with negligible profits on the cases,” Nicas reports. “For other companies, the case is likely to serve as a lesson that ‘the courtroom is not always the place to try to get ahead,’ Mr. Carrier said. ‘There’s always the trade-off between litigation and innovation, and in the time these companies spent in the courtroom, they weren’t innovating.'”

MacDailyNews Take: That’s obviously wrong, in Apple’s case for sure. Plenty of iPhone and iOS innovations have arisen since Apple took slavish copier Samsung to court in 2011.

“An Apple spokesman, Josh Rosenstock, referred to a previous company statement that said the “case has always been about more than money,'” Nicas reports. “‘Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design,’ Apple said in the statement. ‘It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The leagl action undertaken by Apple likely cause many a potential iPhone knockoff peddler to reconsider infringing Apple’s IP. We’ll never know how many, or to what extent, Apple’s vigorous and unrelenting legal actions to protect their IP against Samsung’s blatant theft quelled other prospective copiers, but it’s likely substantial.

Hopefully, the settlement contains some strong anti-copying terms that will serve to prevent the slavish copier from doing business theivery as usual going forward.

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

Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement

Here’s what Google’s Android looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

Google Android before and after Apple iPhone

And, here’s what cellphones looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

cellphones before and after Apple iPhone

People who buy Android phones and tablets reward thieves.

Apple, Samsung settle U.S. patent dispute – June 27, 2018
Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product; I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this’ – October 20, 2011


    1. If Apple had NOT sued Samsung, Samsung would have been an even more aggressive copier of Apple’s iPhone stuff.

      iSPhone or SiPhone anyone?

      You can be the copier would have been emboldened.

      Apple tamed the beast and Apple is ON TOP.

  1. Everything is a whimper under Tim Cook. He’s more interested in running for political office than running the company. Apple is losing its diehard customer base due to his apathy and neglect.

      1. Yes, but for how long? Steve Balmer seriously increased the sales and profitability of MS for a long time….before it cratered from the type of neglect that now Apple supporters are seeing signs of. These are starting to look like the very early days before a spiral – the love is gone missing. I hope for Apple’s sake they change course EVEN WHEN they are selling lots of products like today.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.