It’s hard not to view this as one big replay of the first trial of 2012 when Apple was awarded $930 million in damages after convincing jurors that Samsung copied the iPhone’s look and design, the current case is exclusively about software functions. And as more news are coming out it shows that the tech war between the two giants is day-by-day catching up more heat.
Apple claims that 10 Samsung products, including the Galaxy S3, infringe five patents covering a range of user-interface designs for the iOS software that powers iPhones and iPads. It includes features like the slide-to-unlock function, automatic spelling corrections, and the ability for a user to make a call by clicking on a phone number within a web page or e-mail instead of having to dial it separately.
Samsung has responded with a counterclaim accusing Apple of infringing on two patents that involve camera and folder organization and video transmission functionality.The products that Samsung is citing are: iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPod touch (5th generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and MacBook Pro.
Who will gain WHAT?
Samsung stands to gain US$6 million if the jury rules in its favor, while Apple is asking between $33 and $40 per device, for what could be tens of millions of Samsung devices. That puts the damages around US$2 billion and could proceed with similar lawsuits against other Android handset makers, as the relevant patent issues extend beyond Samsung’s software technology.
The main battle between the world’s top two smartphone makers is to get royalty and dominance over a market valued $338.2 billion last year. Samsung had 31 percent of industry revenue, compared with 15 percent for Apple, whose share of the market has shrunk as the touch-screen interface has become commonplace and Samsung, LG Electronics Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. have introduced lower-cost alternatives.
The jury didn’t buy that in 2012, but now that Android is more directly in Apple’s crosshairs, maybe Google will help Samsung get the jury to think different this time around.Samsung is trying to show that Apple’s claims are a cloaked attack on Google in an attempt to blunt smartphone competition from Android.
Google likes to have its own identity.
Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of Android engineering, testified recently in federal court in San Jose, California, about the capability of creating an Android operating system used in Samsung phones without copying Apple’s patents.
Lockheimer further defended,“We were very passionate about what we were doing, and it was important that we have our own ideas.”
According to Lockheimer, his first involvement with Android was in January 2006, when co-founder Andy Rubin invited him to view a demonstration of the OS. This means development on Android was well underway even before the iPhone first came out.
Apple has tried to counter the Google executive’s role in the trial, with counsel stating that they are just the vendor. However, since the initial 2012 lawsuit and other legal and oversight proceedings involving Apple and Samsung, the sentiment is that Apple is using Android device manufacturers as a proxy in its war against Android itself, and by extension, Google.
Lockheimer is only one of the several Google executives and the Korean company is expected to present a total of 17 witnesses throughout the month to fortify its defense.
Samsung plans to call another Google engineer, Dianne Hackborn, to testify about the design of Android features that Apple claim infringe the patent covering single-click phone calls, according to Samsung lawyers and a court filing.
The question here is this: is Samsung on the right track? Is seeking Google’s help leading to a brutal defense against Apple’s patent complaint?