Apple and Samsung spend a lot of time working together toward a common goal: Making Apple products possible with processing chips manufactured by Samsung. At the same time, each company’s legal alter ego seems to have its hands wrapped around the other’s throat, in court, somewhere in the world. KitGuru unveils the latest twist in the saga and asks “Why?”.
Brits are a funny lot. We still have milk delivered by electric floats, we cherish Sunday papers that seem to be delivered by the kilo and our court system is relatively simple and straight forward. The Brit’s sense of right and wrong, with no reporting while cases are underway, means that disputes are generally settled and then announced.
The American system is a little different, with blow-by-blow accounts matched only with huge PR spends to make sure everyone knows who’s winning.
Combine these oil-n-water approaches and you get some interesting situations.
Here in the UK, Apple has been ordered by a court to run a series of adverts – on its own site and in other publications – explaining how it was wrong to suggest that Samsung ever copied its designs and to say that Samsung has done nothing wrong.
Meanwhile, in the USA, both sides are preparing for a case where Apple is adamant that Samsung has been sneaking looks over its shoulder and performing its own version of ‘copy exactly’. This action is to the tune of $2.5 Billion. A game changing amount of money in anyone’s book. Samsung has a counter-suit in there, somewhere, that says Apple nicked its 3G technology.
OK, that’s a lot of money, lawyers and court time – so what are the arguments?
In many materials, across the globe, in a variety of environments and conditions – bubbles look like bubbles. The occurrence of similar looking bubbles in Mount Etna’s lava or a child’s Coca-Cola does not mean the design was copied – instead it is simply the most natural shape for a bubble to take. This similarity is what Samsung will argue in defence of its design for tablets etc: That designs from competing companies will have many similarities, because they have similar functionality – and one leads naturally from the other.
Apple will argue that there should be a bigger difference from iPads to Samsung tablets, if ‘natural development’ was all that was on show.
So what happened when the two sides argued in a British Court?
Last week, in the High Court, Judge Briss confirmed that Samsung had developed its own products and not only ordered Apple to post on its own web site that ‘Samsung has not copied us’ – but also ordered Apple to buy advertising in other top-selling publications to say clear Samsung in public. Wowzer.
Naturally, Apple will appeal, but in the meantime there is the matter of the $2.5Bn court action which kicks off in California later today. While the outcome is not a forgone conclusion, it’s hard to see how Apple could win if the British court’s decision is upheld and Apple is compelled to run a story on its own site saying that Samsung has not cheated/copied.
KitGuru says: When we first saw Microsoft demonstrating a Toshiba tablet around 10 years ago, the interface etc was broadly similar to what we now have with Apple and Samsung. Everything we see today, seems to be a natural evolution from that origin. The same goes for the physical interface work demonstrated on Intel’s stand at CeBIT 2005 which, on a very large scale, seemed to be similar to the iPhone interface Apple launched 2 years later. While the lawyers prepare to stab and invoice, Samsung’s production engineers will carry on having nice dinners with Apple’s engineers as they continue to produce processors together. No doubt.
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