Tech Giants Battle It Out On The World Stage.
What in the world is this? Apple is suing Samsung, Samsung is suing back, and now both companies are involved in a legal battle that spans 10 countries. With such a power struggle going on between two giant corporations, no one can be sure what will happen next. But what could have started this whole mess?
The popular technology companies have been battling since April of this year when, in a US court, Apple filed 16 charges against Samsung ranging from patent disputes to trademark infringement after Samsung released their highly anticipated Galaxy Tablet. Samsung quickly counter-sued in Japanese, German, and South Korean courts, filing patent infringement charges against Apple. In June, Apple responded to Samsung for the first time outside of the US, filing a patent dispute in Samsung’s home country of South Korea. According to BBC News, the Australian Federal Court granted an injunction to prevent the sale of Galaxy Tabs nationwide in August. By the end of August, the Galaxy Tab was banned in Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands Samsung smartphones like the Galaxy S were banned as well – things were not looking good for Samsung.
Apple claimed that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is a copy of the iPad in style and design, with charges focusing on the fact that Samsung allegedly copied Apple’s touchscreen technology used on products like the iPod touch, the iPhone, and the iPad. Samsung’s counter-claims are on of a slightly different nature, as they involve patent infringement on a component level. See, Apple uses Samsung products in their iPhones and iPads for 3G capabilities. Things like transceiver chips, memory chips, and application processor units are made and sold by Samsung and bought by companies like Apple. According to The Wall Street Journal, Samsung demanded that Apple pay additional royalties for the components that Apple uses. On the other hand, Apple is suing Samsung for outright theft of design as a whole.
According to Reuters, a Dutch court then added insult to injury in early October ruling that Samsung’s royalty demands were out of line. Basically, the Dutch court found that since Samsung’s chips and processors contributed to 3G communication “standards” it was unreasonable to ask for additional, separate royalties after the fact. With a ruling like that it will prove very difficult for Samsung to win any injunctions in Europe against Apple. This was big news for Apple, which could then take the Dutch ruling to Italy and France where similar charges have been made against it by Samsung.
Many analysts have been making predictions on who will win this turf war, but don’t place your bets yet. There have been very recent indications that this confrontation may have just been a fight for alpha market positioning. For example, Samsung already unveiled their new Galaxy Nexus smartphone on Oct. 18 in Hong Kong. The Nexus was specifically designed with all of Apple’s current patents in mind, in an attempt to put distance between the two and their current conflict involving “overlapping” technology. Also, according to the Korean Herald, Apple and Samsung are working with each other towards a cooperative relationship through 2012. Slashgear.com reported on Oct. 19 that according to the Korea Times, Apple wants to continue buying A6 quad-core chips from Samsung, which has indicated that it could supply Apple through next year.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how Apple’s new leadership will adjust to such a delicate and multi-faceted problem. Will there ever be disruptions in either of these company’s US sales? Could we possibly see a ban on iPhones here? Will the Galaxy Tab be pulled from American shelves? Could Apple become a world superpower in the technology field? Can Samsung bounce back? Only time will tell…