10 Takeaways From Latest Apple-Samsung Patent Infringement Trial

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-04-15 Print this article Print

Apple and Samsung have returned to a courthouse in San Jose, Calif., with each claiming the other violated its mobile patents and should be ordered to pay damages and to remove offending devices from the market. Apple has taken the fight to Samsung, arguing that the Korea-based firm was confronted with a "crisis of design" before it allegedly copied Apple's products to become a major player in the smartphone market. Samsung, meanwhile, argues that Apple is taking it to task over issues that seem to be focused far more on Android than anything else. Samsung also says that if one were to properly examine the patents Apple is accusing Samsung of infringing on, it would reveal that the iPhone maker doesn't see much value in them. After all, Samsung says, wouldn't those features find their way into Apple's devices? These are just some of the claims and counterclaims in the case, and there's no end in sight. This eWEEK slide show examines the key takeaways from the latest round of the Apple-Samsung patent infringement battle and takes a look at why some argue that their costly and interminable litigation is limiting innovation in the mobile market.

  • 10 Takeaways From Latest Apple-Samsung Patent Infringement Trial

    By Don Reisinger
    10 Takeaways From Latest Apple-Samsung Patent Infringement Trial
  • Big Money Could Change Hands

    Apple has put a massive price tag on this one. With help from an expert witness, Apple argues that Samsung should pay $2.19 billion in damages for its alleged infringement of Apple's patents. The figure was arrived at by calculating reasonable royalties and lost profits, according to Apple.
    Big Money Could Change Hands
  • The Arguments Have All Been Heard Before

    The same arguments have been heard time and again in courtrooms around the world during earlier patent lawsuits between the two companies. Apple says that Samsung has quite obviously infringed on its patents, while Samsung says that the iPhone maker is making arguments that can't hold up, given the "generic" nature of its patents. Samsung, meanwhile, says Apple is infringing on its patents. And around and around we go.
    The Arguments Have All Been Heard Before
  • It's About Google and Android

    The crux of Apple's argument appears to be about Google and Android rather than Samsung. Indeed, only one of the asserted software patents in this case isn't baked into Android as a standard feature. Samsung, of course, keeps pointing out that much of Apple's issues appear to be with Android and argues that the open-source platform might be the iPhone maker's true target and not actually Samsung.
    It's About Google and Android
  • Use Matters, Samsung Says

    Samsung has made a rather interesting argument: If the asserted patents are so important to Apple, why aren't many of the features found in the company's products? As Samsung attorney John Quinn said, Apple has brought to the court "very small features" that either have no impact on sales or aren't even in Apple products any longer. Apple says that such comments are false and misleading and Apple does have a fiduciary responsibility to protect all intellectual property. Samsung's argument, however, might carry weight in the appeal process, if not in the jury verdict.
    Use Matters, Samsung Says
  • Sheer Number of Allegedly Infringing Devices Is Staggering

    Apple says 10 Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, violate its patents. Samsung, meanwhile, argues that nine Apple products, including the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, are violating its patents. Those devices made the list only after Judge Koh, the presiding judge in the case, asked the companies to pare down their infringements to make the case manageable.
    Sheer Number of Allegedly Infringing Devices Is Staggering
  • Does Brand Matter More Than Functionality?

    Samsung isn't necessarily saying there aren't similarities between the features of its products and those of Apple's. However, it argues that those aforementioned "small features" don't help sell products, saying it's all about the company building the products and the devices itself. The argument is designed to make the jury question Apple's damages and spread doubt about its estimates of lost profits.
    Does Brand Matter More Than Functionality?
  • There's No Love Lost

    If anything is abundantly clear, it's that Apple and Samsung can't stand each other. Executives from both sides are testifying with venom not typically seen in public comments. And attorneys for both companies are using loaded language, arguing that the other "copied" and "stole" intellectual property. There is no love lost between Apple and Samsung.
    There's No Love Lost
  • The Jury Will Lack Technical Expertise

    As is typical with jurors selected at random from the local voter lists to hear a patent infringement case, most have little to no technology expertise. Because they might not understand many of the technical and legal concepts being argued in the case, the verdict is sure to be appealed on multiple grounds. Appeals could continue for years without any final resolution.
    The Jury Will Lack Technical Expertise
  • Samsung Wants the War to Shift to Google

    Samsung's argument that Apple's chief concern appears to be Android is about transitioning the focus of this case to Google. In fact, a Google engineer was the first witness presented to the jury by Samsung, and Google was the focus of much of the arguments made on Samsung's first day of arguments. Samsung wants to make the jury believe that Apple should lay its accusations about patent infringement at Google's door.
    Samsung Wants the War to Shift to Google
  • It's Unlikely Much Will Change

    Despite all of the hype surrounding this case, it's unlikely, given recent history, that anything will change between the companies. Apple and Samsung will continue to fight legal battles over patent infringement, the losing firm will appeal the ruling and damages, and it's unlikely that mobile devices that consumers actually want to use will be banned from sale. In many ways, this latest Apple-Samsung case appears to be an exercise in futility. It's unfortunate that the companies don't find a way to bring an end to the litigation and go back to focusing on innovation.
    It's Unlikely Much Will Change
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date
Rocket Fuel