Apple vs Samsung lawsuit
Here are the statements from both companies.
First, Apple PR head Katie Cotton:
We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trail showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.
Then, the Samsung PR team:
“Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.”
The dense trial involved more than a dozen different patents, over 30 allegedly infringing devices and wide-ranging claims on design ownership; both sides argued their cases and defended themselves concurrently, all while enraging federal judge Lucy Koh.
Apple began with a full-fledged assault, hurling numerous trademark claims, design and technical patent claims and more; after judge Koh ordered Apple to pare it down, the company has focused ona few key patents, the simplicity of its design and working to prove a pattern of copying by Samsung. Apple’s total monetary demand was $2.525 billion.
Meanwhile, Samsung claimed that Apple’s iPhone and iPad were infringement and demanded $14.40 per device sold.
The decision comes with large-ranging implications, as it sets precedent for future patent law cases and will inevitably bring more lawsuits. Apple is already locked in a legal battle with HTC and could go after others.
The mobile industry is moving fast and all players — including newcomers — are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don't want anything to limit that.
Why The Apple vs Samsung Verdict Is A Big Mistake
When I first bought an iPhone I thought: How beautiful and sleek – in fact the phone was so sleek it kept sliding out of my hand. Like most people who do not carry a handbag, I had to buy an ugly, black, plastic cover to stop me dropping it. My iPhone resided inside that case where nobody could see its sleek, rounded edges. To my surprise those edges made up part of the recent Apple vs Samsung infringement action. I say surprised but I mean astonished – how can anybody win a billion bucks for a design error? Or for that matter for being a trend setter?
But dare I say it – I rarely see an iPhone that is not encased. I rarely see one that is not hidden from view because of its impractical form (and wasn’t Steve Jobs promising free covers to help overcome a mic (sorry antenna)-design defect two years ago?) Still, it is a design icon and there is a cost of iconic status. People copy you, defects and all. Apple’s inability to deal with that should get us asking questions about its liberal arts credentials.
If Apple had really been in the design business then they’d have seen Samsung’s copy as sheer flattery (at least at the trade dress level) and moved on to the next iteration. Design is fashion, a peculiar form of intellectual property that wavers and transforms by the season.
In the aftermath of the jury’s verdict in favor of Apple on almost all counts in the epic trial over intellectual property, analysts and journalists have been quick to ferret out the possible implications of the decision to the likely consequences for the market. One of them is that Apple could rapidly turn into a monopoly.
Most watchers have assessed correctly that it’s really Google in Apple’s crosshairs rather than Samsung. Apple’s vehemence in this case, its unwillingness to license its intellectual property to Samsung on reasonable terms, is really aimed at Google. Apple’s crucifixion of Samsung is just a head piked on a stake at the edge of Google’s territory.
Google has been the most extraordinarily silent partner, the most absent un-indicted co-conspirator ever not to be in a trial. Its cryptic statement on Monday did little to change that status. As Microsoft has pointed out time and again, Google has failed to indemnify its customers and properly license intellectual property it uses in its software, which it gives away to its customers and on which it collects no royalties.
Rather, Google has perfected a business model in which it gives away things of value in return for eyeballs on the back end. Money enters Google’s system via advertisers. Hard for any rival — or any public authority, for that matter — to connect the software Google makes and gives away with how it makes money. It’s a model Google has used to threaten the more traditional business models of companies like Microsoft, which sells software, and Apple, which sells hardware.
In this matter, Microsoft and Apple are allies, more alike than either is similar to Google.
In this matter, Microsoft and Apple are allies, more alike than either is similar to Google.
In all of history, there has probably never been a situation in which one company (Microsoft) collects nearly half a billion dollars in annual royalties from another company’s (Google’s) customers. Microsoft collects Android license fees from Samsung based on holdings in its own mobile patent portfolio.
But Apple doesn’t want money from Samsung. Of course Apple is happy to add the jury-verdict winnings (to be appealed) to its already staggering hoard, but this matter is not primarily about money. It’s about wanting Google dead, at least in the high-mobility-platform business, and, really, entirely, just for being cheeky.
So, now Google stands facing the cobra of Apple’s wrath with only the shred of Motorola’s patent portfolio to shield it.
Unfortunately for Google, its Motorola purchase has not been enough to gain it a seat at the main table with Apple, Microsoft, and a handful of others with big portfolios of intellectual property. This group horse-trades among its members. Whatever disputes they have in other areas, Apple and Microsoft have a gentleman’s agreement not to sue each other. All quiet on the Apple-Microsoft front.
When the Nortel patents came up for sale, a group that included Apple and Microsoft made sure Google didn’t get them. They were keystone patents that could have blocked others in mobile communications, enabling Google to get in on the horse trading. And Moto’s patents? Not so potent.
So, one message here goes out to the absent, silent, non-indemnifying Google: You need to grow up and become a real business.
Just because you make some software and give it away doesn’t mean you don’t have to clear the intellectual property rights. Microsoft has chosen to play a license-fee game, but Apple wants only blood.
Steve Jobs harbored a well-known vendetta against Google based on his belief that Eric Schmidt, while sitting on Apple’s board, had leaked theiPhone’s critical characteristics to his own design teams, who then copied it. Jobs swore he would spend as much of Apple’s considerable wealth as necessary to stop Google cold, and he wasn’t interested in licensing to Google’s partners. The offer that Apple made to Samsung, which came out during the trial, would have absorbed all of Samsung’s profit. In other words, the terms were unreasonable, and Samsung rejected the offer. But Apple wasn’t serious, or else it would have done something more like what Microsoft has done: license on reasonable terms.
Apple seems to want to drive all viable competitors from the high-mobility game (in which the pieces are smartphones, tablets, Ultrabooks, and basically any device you can carry around and operate all day without plugging into a wall socket). If Apple succeeds, then it will have no viable competitors and might draw attention from public authorities around the world.
Microsoft may gain a better position in high mobility over the next few years with Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 on tablets. And the aforementioned gentleman’s agreement between Apple and Microsoft will allow the latter at least the opportunity to give it a go. But Microsoft has no position in this market today. Only Google does, by way of Samsung, HTC, and others.
There are questions about whether Jobs was alone in his passionate Google-hate and whether Tim Cook is prepared to carry on the battle in Jobs’s name. Some people think that Cook is less emotional and might seek an accommodation, but so far there’s no evidence of that. It’s likely that Jobs wasn’t the only one who felt the way he did and that some of his team still want the heart of Google’s city burnt to the ground.
It would be a bad thing for the market if Apple were to become the only supplier of high mobility products, software, and related services. And yet, that’s where we’re heading.
Samsung has said it will request that the judge set aside the verdict and otherwise will appeal to a higher court. A higher court might be more sympathetic to Google’s proxy if it sees Apple starting to look more like a monopoly. The Supreme Court would likely weigh heavily the potential harm to consumers of there being no viable competitor to Apple.
Intel has made good use of Advanced Micro Devices as a straw competitor and has thus avoided some of the problems that, for example, Microsoft faced. And that Apple could face.
A proper settlement of this case would be for Apple to license on a reasonable basis to Samsung and other Android customers. Microsoft already does. A lot of consumers like Android.
Google can argue that Apple’s patents are overly broad and should be invalidated. It can say, Apple, with its filings on “ways of doing things” is trying to patent the blue of the sky and the warmth of the sun. And that’s not right. Apple can’t claim to have invented “roundness” or “black.”
Over the years, whatever the final disposition of the case, the outcome will affect the shape of the high-mobility market — and our lives — dramatically.