Apple Samsung Patent Trench Warfare Resumes


Apple returns to its legal pursuit of Samsung, in an effort to extract a multi billion dollar fine

Samsung has labelled Apple‘s patent infringement case against it as nothing more than an attack on Google’s Android operating system, and an attempt to stifle competition in the smartphone market.

Those were the opening comments made by Samsung’s lawyer in a Federal California courtroom, as Apple seeks to extract $2 billion (£1.2bn) from the South Korean giant over alleged patent infringements.

Round Three

Apple is seeking more $2bn for patent violations in its latest legal battle against the smartphone maket leader.

This is now the third trial in the last two years, and this new courtroom tussle involves a fresh tranche of Apple patents that are said to cover features on the iPhone such as the slide to unlock, as well as the search technology used on mobile devices. Apple says that newer Samsung products, such as its Galaxy S3 smartphone, infringe five of its patents.

Samsung AppleAccording to Apple attorney Harold McElhinny, Samsung has sold over 37 million phones and tablets that infringe its patents, and therefore Apple deserves an average royalty of $33 (£19.82) per phone.

“They will try to tell you that our inventions were and are trivial,” McElhinny was quoted as saying by Reuters. “And that they are not valuable.” He then claimed that Samsung could not compete with Apple, and at a crisis point in 2010, it simply copied many of the features found in Apple products.

Perhaps unsurpringly, Samsung attorney John Quinn doesn’t agree with Apple’s version of history, and instead claimed that Apple was pursuing nothing more than a vendetta started by the late Steve Jobs, against Google’s Android operating system, in an attempt to dislodge Samsung’s market-leading position.

Quinn pointed out that the features that Apple claims to own, was actually developed by Google, which he said had not copied Apple.

“We will prove to you that, yes, Apple is a great company but they don’t own everything,” Quinn was quoted as saying. “They don’t own the only way to search on phones.”

Android Vendetta?

“What this case is really about is Apple trying to limit consumer choice and to gain an unfair advantage over its one main competitor, Google’s Android,” Quinn said.

And Samsung’s attorney also said that Apple was using these tactics in order to claw back its leading position in the smartphone market. He said Apple is “trying to gain from you in this courtroom what it has lost in the marketplace,” Quinn was quoted by Bloomberg. “It’s an attack on Android. That’s what this case is.”

Samsung meanwhile is also claiming that nine of Apple’s products (including its the iPhone 5 and versions of its iPad) have violated two of its patents. It is seeking approximately $6.9 million (£4.1m) in damages,

Legal Tussle

In August 2012, a federal jury in San Jose, California, awarded Apple $1.05 billion (£661m) in damages, after a three-week trial and three days of deliberations. The jury ruled that Samsung’s infringement on Apple products was “willful.” Offending products included the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Galaxy 10.1 tablets and Samsung’s line of Galaxy S smartphones.

Bu the judge in the case, Judge Koh, later ruled that while Samsung had violated seven of Apple’s design and utility patents, the violation was not willful. She also refused to ban the sale of Samsung products.

In March 2013, she also determined that the jurors had miscalculated, when they came up with the figure of $1.05 billion (£661m) to be paid to Apple, and that a new trial would need to be held to determine the damages to be paid. She had ruled that Samsung would have to pay Apple $930m (£558m) in fines, but Samsung is to appeal that decision.

So far, both Apple and Samsung have refused to entertain any negotiated settlement, and prefer instead to settle their differences in the courtroom.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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