Apple vs. Samsung Patent Litigation: Why There Is No End in Sight

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-11-25 Print this article Print

NEWS ANALYSIS: The endless legal and competitive maneuvers that big mobile technology companies engage in as they jostle for market leadership is one of the biggest stories in the technology industry. Will Android continue its ownership on software? Will Microsoft find a way to creep back and catch up with Google? Will Apple and Samsung keep spending money that could be invested in product research in their interminable patent litigation? On Nov. 21, Apple won the latest round in its patent war after a San Jose, Calif., jury determined that Samsung owes the iPhone maker an additional $290 million. With that, Apple has been awarded about $930 million across all of the cases it's won. Suffice it to say that Samsung walked out of the courtroom with a bit more than a black eye. But Apple can't start counting its court winnings yet. More appeals are coming, and in 2014, Apple and Samsung will be back in court to litigate additional patent issues. This slide show looks at the various reasons attorneys for Apple and Samsung are spending so much time facing each other in court.

  • Apple vs. Samsung Patent Litigation: Why There Is No End in Sight

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - Apple vs. Samsung Patent Litigation: Why There Is No End in Sight
  • Apple Keeps Winning More Cash Awards

    As noted, the latest jury decision awarded Apple $290 million. Apple now stands to garner about $930 million from jury verdicts representing a huge potential cash windfall for Apple. Samsung, meanwhile, has argued all along that it shouldn't be forced to pay anywhere near that sum. But, at least so far, Samsung hasn't succeeded in getting these judgments overturned on appeal.
    2 - Apple Keeps Winning More Cash Awards
  • It's Hard to Calculate the Potential Cost to Samsung

    The damages awarded by the juries in these cases have varied greatly. In this latest case, for example, Apple demanded damages of $380 million. Samsung said that its own calculations proved Apple would only get $52.7 million. The jury obviously disagreed. That came after another jury awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages. Judge Lucy Koh quickly threw that out, saying it was too high. It's impossible to say what damages Apple will ultimately receive after the final appeals are heard.
    3 - It's Hard to Calculate the Potential Cost to Samsung
  • The Sheer Number of Products Is Mind-Boggling

    The sheer number of products being lumped into these lawsuits is staggering. This latest case alone focused on over a dozen Samsung products. Earlier this year, the court asked Apple and Samsung to reduce the number of products in their infringement claims against each other because it would take up too much time to litigate all the patent-infringement claims. The companies are pursuing every conceivable infringement claim.
    4 - The Sheer Number of Products Is Mind-Boggling
  • The Lawsuits Aren't Going Away

    There was a sense after Apple was awarded more than $1 billion in damages last year that the fight was over. But as the last several months have shown, that's not the case. In fact, the same can be said for the aftermath of this latest damages hearing. More lawsuits are on the horizon. With each new product the companies sell, Apple and Samsung are deciding how the other infringes on patents.
    5 - The Lawsuits Aren't Going Away
  • Next Up: A Patent Trial in March

    Even while the two companies argue about how much in damages is due as a result of earlier verdicts, Apple and Samsung are scheduled in March to start testimony in yet another patent-infringement case. That trial will focus on some of the newer devices the two companies introduced, such as Samsung's Galaxy S 4 smartphone, which were released in 2013, instead of the older handsets. It's clear that each new generation of mobile devices could bring another round of infringement trials if the two companies never agree to find a permanent settlement to their differences.
    6 - Next Up: A Patent Trial in March
  • Apple Could Have Sold More Devices, It Claims

    Apple says that Samsung's alleged infringement actually hurt its sales. In fact, the company argued before the jury earlier this week that if Samsung had not infringed its products, it could have sold 360,000 more devices. Whether that's true is, of course, up for debate, but it's an interesting claim that could be brought up several more times as the trials drag on.
    7 - Apple Could Have Sold More Devices, It Claims
  • These Trials Are Unlikely to Reveal Anything New

    During the latest hearing on damages, several Apple and Samsung executives were called to the witness stand to discuss the nature of the alleged infringements, the timeline on product rollouts and the effects of the alleged infringement. Last year and earlier this year, all of that information was new and thus, notable. But most recent testimony has proven to be short on new details and information, making the media somewhat displeased: All the juicy stuff isn't coming out anymore.
    8 - These Trials Are Unlikely to Reveal Anything New
  • Attempts for Reconciliation Outside of Court

    The courts have repeatedly ordered Apple and Samsung to meet to try to resolve their differences outside of court. Each time, however, the two companies failed to get even close to reaching an agreement that would allow them to resolve litigation without another expensive trial. The two sides apparently have little interest in finding a way to resolve their differences.
    9 - Attempts for Reconciliation Outside of Court
  • The Appeals Will Continue for Years

    Sure, Apple is owed $290 million in this latest case. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Samsung will pay that any time soon. The company has already said that it will appeal both the ruling that it lost and the damages, all but guaranteeing another fight over the same patents.
    10 - The Appeals Will Continue for Years
  • The Money Doesn't Really Matter

    Let's face it: The money really doesn't matter in these cases. Apple has more than $100 billion in cash on hand and Samsung has its own massive case reserved. The companies can end up paying billions to each other in trial settlements and it would hardly make a dent in their savings. Most companies in such patent disputes reach agreements where they exchange a lot of cash and sign patent cross-licensing agreements to put a permanent end to their disputes. This would allow them to avoid the expense and distraction of the endless lawsuits so they can focus on the business of making and selling products. But it's apparent that Apple and Samsung are pursuing these lawsuits to try to keep each other from getting the upper hand in the mobile market.
    11 - The Money Doesn't Really Matter

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