12 Things You Need to Know About Apple vs. Samsung
The stakes are high for both Apple and Samsung Electronics as they prepare to kick off their much-anticipated patent-infringement trial in front of a California jury on Monday.
Thu, July 26, 2012
IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau) —
At the end of the proceedings, the 10-member jury, under the guidance of U.S. District Court judge Lucy Koh, will render a verdict that could cost one of the parties billions of dollars and change the competitive landscape in the consumer electronics industry. Perhaps it's no wonder that The Wall Street Journal has called it the "patent trial of the century."
In preparation for Monday, here's what you need to know. (Click the links for access to the relevant part of each court filing.)
When did this all begin?
Apple filed its initial lawsuit on April 15, 2011. Samsung fired back with a countersuit a few days later and the two cases were subsequently combined into one.
What are they fighting about?
Apple claims that Samsung "deliberately" copied the design of the iPhone and iPad, and their packaging, when coming up with its Galaxy smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablet PCs. Apple has a list of patents that it says Samsung infringed upon and a nifty graphic that shows a transformation in Samsung phone design before and after the iPhone. This transformation is, according to Apple, "the basic story of our case."
Samsung maintains that Apple's claims are all false and that the consumer electronics industry routinely looks to past products for inspiration. It has its own graphic designed to contradict Apple's assertion and show that Samsung had at least mock-ups of full-screen touch phones before the iPhone went on sale. Samsung will also be on the offensive, arguing that Apple infringed a number of its own patents covering technology in a cellphone.
What do they want?
Money and a ban on sales of any products found to be infringing their patents. Apple is asking the jury to award it US$2.525 billion in damages. It then hopes the court will triple that figure using a U.S. legal statute that allows judges to multiply damages to punish willful misconduct. Samsung wants a royalty payment of 2.4 percent of the sale price of each product found to be misusing its patents, so it could potentially collect that on iPhone and iPad sales.
Is there anything more at stake?
Perhaps more broadly, the case could help determine where the U.S. legal system draws the line between what counts as copying and what is innovation. It could also influence the debate on the U.S. patent system, which critics say has been too liberal in issuing broad patents that in turn stifle innovation and lead to unnecessary lawsuits.