Sunday, April 29, 2012

Apple v. Samsung - 50+ Patent Disputes & Settlement in SF?

In April 2011, Apple filed a suit accusing Samsung Android smartphones and tablet of copying "the look and feel" of its iPad and iPhone. It sounded a bit strange for the press to refer to copying the "look and feel" since that theory of copyright infringement failed against Microsoft's Windows.

However, Apple's initial suit against Samsung was more than another copyright infringement action. It alleges infringement of seven utility patents, three design patents, three unregistered trade dress and three unregistered trade dress, and six trademarks.Whether or not each legal theory proves to be a winner, Apple and Samsung have filed a total of 50+ lawsuits against each other in ten countries in little more than one year.

Samsung is a valued supplier of hardware components for Apple products. Judge Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, noting the irony of strong business partners pounding each other in court, was able to get the CEOs agreement to meet for court-moderated settlement talks with another judge on May 21-22, 2012.

Given the stakes and range of issues, however, it is difficult to see a settlement on everything. Since Samsung's product sometimes bear a likeness to Apple's products, Apple's response to file another lawsuits also seems unlikely to end soon. So Apple and Samsung continue on "in a marriage" holding each other's hand all the while "punching each other" with their free hand. Still I don't think this marriage will end in divorce. They just need some help on defining the boundaries of the IP!

If you are interested in more details on Apple v. Samsung lawsuits, I suggest the following articles:

List of 50+ Apple-Samsung lawsuits in 10 countries - Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents gives the details of the Apple-Samsung 50+ suits filed in ten countries between April 2011 to April 2012.

Apple v. Samsung: 50 suits, ten countries -- and counting - CNET's Charles Cooper

Apple and Samsung CEOs to meet on May 21 and 22 for settlement talks in San Francisco court - FOSS Patents. Mr. Mueller says Apple's lawsuit in Spain affects the entire European Union, so the disputes extend to 31 countries!

Thanks to Alan Cooper for the CNET article!

Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.