In what has been called “the patent trial of the century,” Apple vs. Samsung was perhaps one of the most ongoing and expensive trials within the last fourteen years. This trial was the first of many between the two multi-billion dollar corporations. Furthermore, it further showed the lengths at which corporations will go in order to try to enforce their patents and they do not fear spending years in a courtroom or millions of dollars of legal fees.
In April 2011, Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung on the basis that they had violated four of their design patents along with three utility patent that were related to the iPhone and iPad. Apple claimed that Samsung has deliberately copied the designs of the iPad and the iPhone, and that Samsung had produced twenty devices that directly infringed upon the seven design patents. This included the Galaxy S Phones and the Galaxy Tablets. In response, Samsung countered sued Apple in June 2011, claiming that Apple had infringed on several of their patents relating to wireless telecommunications and camera phones. They claimed that iPhones would not exist if it were not for the breakthroughs Samsung scientists and engineers had made nearly twenty years before the the first iPhone’s were even marketed. Specifically, Samsung had patents covering the use of email in a camera phone and allowing users to multi-task while listening to music in the background. Lawsuits were filed by both companies in the following countries: United States of America, South Korea, Germany, Britain, Australia, France, Italy, and Holland. By August 2011, there were nineteen ongoing cases between the two companies in these countries. Ultimately in the United States, in August 2012 after numerous failed attempts at reaching an out of court agreement (that was even encouraged by the Judge, Lucy H. Koh), millions of dollars of legal fee’s, and a deliberation process which last the jury a staggering twenty-two hours, the jury found that Samsung had infringed six of seven patents and awarded Apple $1.05 Billion.
What disturbs me the most about this case is how much time and effort these two companies spent on trying to sue each other the course of nearly three years (Apple filed yet ANOTHER lawsuit against Samsung just recently in 2014). Many have said that the amount of evidence, legal fees, number claims, and experts made this one of the expensive trials in history, if not the most expensive. According to Forbes Magazine, expert witnesses were paid anywhere from $250-$1,000 an hour for their work. I’m not sure of the exact amounts that each respective company spent, but I do know this: when the Judge of the trial is speaking to both the defendant and the plaintiff urging an out court settlement, shouldn’t you perhaps take her advice and are you getting the hint this whole dilemma is getting out of hand? Shouldn’t you be spending those millions of dollars on creating innovative, cutting edge, technology that can ultimately benefit society as a whole rather on hiring the best attorneys money can buy to dispute the fact that your product KIND OF looks like mine. I don’t think I’ve ever had trouble differentiating my iPhone from one of my friend’s Galaxy’s, and there hasn’t been a single time where I have used a Galaxy and I didn’t need at least a minute to get acquainted with it’s user interface because it is NOT the same as my iPhone’s. With all of this being said, I don’t necessarily even agree with the court’s decision, but what I REALLY don’t agree with is how a poor use of monetary resources and man hours. I’ll go even further and say this case actually prevented innovation, not only because of it’s decision against Samsung, but also because it was a ginormous waste of time that could have absolutely been spent more wisely by all those involved.
“Apple v. Samsung: Tech’s Most Vicious Patent War Returns to Court.” The Verge. N.p., 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
“The Apple vs. Samsung Patent Dispute: 20 Talking Points.” Forbes Magazine. N.p., 21 Aug. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
“Apple Wins Big in Patent Case.” The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 25 Aug. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.