Rather than expecting the world to end by 2012, we have entered an inevitable smart phone war. Not really a case of your average nerd-on-nerd crime, but it is definitely getting there. Popcorn anyone?
Apple sued Samsung in Germany on April 15th, 2011, accusing Samsung of copying Apple’s iOS platform, meaning its appearance and packaging of iPhone and iPad, hardware with the Galaxy series of tablets and handsets. Apple has spent over 2 billion dollars of advertising alone between the years of 2007 -20100 to imprint in every consumer to non-consumers’ mind of what an iPhone looks like, so that even if you do not own an iPhone, you can still identify an Apple product from a mile away. Has all the money gone to waste when Galaxy S comes out with a similar iPhone-esqe look? Or is Apple just threatened by the competition? This war is not so much about which device is better, but whether or not Samsung’s Galaxy series does have an unfair striking resemblance.
No one likes a copy cat, and in this case the cat got Apple’s tongue. Samsung filed a countersuit against Apple for patent infringement in August in South Korea, Japan, and Germany. Apple must have forgotten that Samsung is a supplier for Apple products, including chipsets and LCD screens, making them business partners! Tit for tat, Apple! You gotta do what you gotta do to protect your intellectual property.
Apple is infamous for being known as an aggressive company. In the past Apple has already filed lawsuits against, Nokia, Motorola, and HTC, now adding Samsung to the list. Who’s left to fight? Hulk Hogan?
The case has been running since early 2011, and the German court gave their ruling on September 9th. Apple claimed that TouchWiz and the Galaxy S violate the Apple patent for its iOS home screen and iPhone 3G design patents, along with the iOS instant messaging interface, the “bounce back” touch effect that happens when you scroll too far in a window, along with control and status widgets, UI status windows that vanish a set time after being opened, and ellipse multi-touch recognition. On one hand, by nature, it is inevitable for smart phone interfaces to resemble in one way or another, because the developers are bound to design the best possible layout for the market, but despite nature, Apple asked the court for preliminary and permanent injunctions to take Samsung’s Galaxy devices off the shelves, and requested punitives, triple damages and lost profits. German judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffmann stated that the Samsung Tablet bears a “clear impression of similarity” with the iPad 2, thereby announcing a nationwide ban. Samsung is expected to tackle Apple with the last punch, but it is still blurry whether their last words will be settles in or out of court. These results will definitely limit consumer choices of smart phones in Germany.
Samsung is currently #2 in the smart phone and tablet market right behind Apple. It took them only a month to a million Galaxy S series smart phones in Korea. Despite the legal spat between Apple and Samsung, Samsung still plans on riding the wave for the smart phones because that is where the market is headed. Who is to say they will be left behind in the bandwagon? Samsung will also continue to offer tablet PCs in multiple screen sizes as a way of distinguishing themselves from Apple.