Why is smartphone patent war on everybody’s mouth again?
The war on patent field between the two biggest players on the scene of smartphones – Apple and Samsung – have been doing quite well for a long time now. Initially, Samsung was sentenced to pay billion dollars of punishment, but over time the amount was reduced to much less impressive $550 million. Will this never-ending battle finally come to an end?
It all started in the middle of 2011, when Apple sued Samsung for copying the look and feel of iPhone and iPad. However, in response, sometime later Samsung countersued Apple. In total there were 12 patents in question, seven belong to Apple and five to Samsung. According to Apple, its patents have been unlawfully used in the 28 Samsung devices.
In the meantime, Samsung settled with Microsoft raising the questions of who is the real enemy here. One gets the impression that the battle is actually between Apple and Google, which supplies the devices in question, as four of the seven Apple patents at issue relate to functionalities of Android.
The battle over patent infringement continued not only in different courts, but also on different continents, until it became difficult to figure out who’s suing who for what and where.
After questioning the witnesses, who by the way had to answer 700 detailed questions, the verdict was finally issued in August 2012. Samsung violated six, not seven, patents, whereas Apple none of them. The jury decided that the Korean manufacturer has to pay a penalty of 1.05 billion dollars.
It seemed like it will finally finish, but it was far from the end as portion of the verdict against Samsung has been reversed by a U.S. appeals court. After countless court cases and appeals at several different points, Apple was eventually awarded around $930 million in damages.
However, the topic entered the public opinion once again, when this May an appeals court lowered the amount Samsung was ordered to pay by $382 million.
The battle continues and the following months will probably bring profits and losses of each party and will be rather difficult to reach compromise.
Complicated and usually uninteresting patent disputes rarely receive such publicity. But when it comes to two most popular manufacturers of smartphones and considerable amount of compensation, the situation is far from boring.