Who’s the Biggest Loser in the Apple v. Samsung Battle?
At a time when smartphones and tablets are the hottest things on the market, it’s no wonder that the Apple vs. Samsung patent infringement battle is a hot topic right now. But whether you’re an “Apple afficianado” chatting it up with Siri, or a “Galaxy Guru” relishing in the ample size of your screen, do you really think about who came up with these amazing features, or are you just thankful that somebody did?
After months of ongoing lawsuits between Apple and Samsung regarding their smartphone and tablet designs, the jury returned a verdict largely in favor of Apple, alleging that Samsung had “willfully infringed upon Apple’s design and utility patents, among them the curved rectangular shape of the iPhone.”
Samsung has requested a new trial, arguing that the verdict was not supported by evidence or testimony, that the judge imposed limits on testimony time, and the number of witnesses prevented them from receiving a fair trial. Furthermore, Apple has filed a new lawsuit asking for additional damages and has issued a request to stop all sales of Samsung products that were cited to be in violation of the U.S. patents. The next hearing is December 6th.
Samsung may have lost this round, but they are not giving up the fight. Last year, Samsung started running an ad campaign using the tagline, “The Next Big Thing Is Here,” promoting its 4G service and the Galaxy S II phone. But just in time for the recent iPhone 5 launch, Samsung updated that campaign, inserting the word “already” into the tagline, comparing features head to head in the print ad—and in the TV spot—poking fun at the iPhone devotees waiting in long lines wondering if they were wasting their time as they watched Samsung users flaunt the features of the Galaxy III. iPhone followers had a field day with the print ads, first “editing” and then tweeting them.
OK, so you get the idea. It’s kind of like two kids fighting over space in the sandbox. But what does this court decision really mean for consumers? If this case becomes precedent, will it serve to promote innovation in technology—or hamper it? Is it really possible to make a smartphone without infringing on any of Apple’s patents? Will Apple go after other manufacturers? Samsung may be large enough to survive and continue to flourish despite this attack; however, many smaller manufacturers may not be able to stand up to Apple’s financial strength and market position.
I have an iPhone, as do my two sons, and we are very happy with them. My husband has a Samsung smartphone and is equally satisfied with it. Even though I would never give up my iPhone, I have to admit, the Samsung phone has some great features. It’s all a matter of preference.
But despite my loyalty and emotional connection to Apple products, I have to disagree with the court’s decision on this one. Take a look:
Apple’s Statement following the verdict:
“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 trial 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.”
Samsung’s statement following the verdict:
“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.”
As consumers, we should have the option to choose. The more competition, the more pressure on manufacturers to innovate. Then WE are the victors. But if Apple v. Samsung is a hint at the direction of the technology industry, as Samsung stated, the real losers will be you and me.
An Apple a day may keep the doctor away—but I just want to know that I can have an orange if I want one. Don’t you?
SOUND OFF: Which side of Apple v. Samsung decision are you on? Leave a comment to let us know.