Exactly one month ago, we covered a wild lawsuit in Germany brought by a patent troll for the hefty sum of just over $2 billion. A few days ago, Germany swatted the trolls out of court. Meanwhile, after Samsung was found guilty of releasing confidential Apple documents, its is back in court with some new twists.
In August of 2012, a jury awarded Apple over $1 billion in a lawsuit against Samsung. That decision was just the beginning. Now, both companies are squaring off in the courtroom again for the first of three major showdowns that will take place over the next few months. These trials could bring the end of the Patent Wars, or they could spawn and endless sea of appeals and retrials. One question that should be answered rather soon: How much of that $1 billion will Samsung have to pay Apple, anyway?
For Samsung, rules are clearly optional. Over a dozen times in the last 10 years, the Korean company has been busted for flat-out flouting the law, and now finds itself once again attempting massive courtroom damage control. As "Patentgate" continues to unfold, Samsung is reeling from recent smack downs from two different judges, and Apple is pressing the attack. All of which begs the question: even as we engage in friendly debates about which smartphone or operating system is best, at what point do we start questioning why anyone would support a company with such a startling history of dirty, nasty, unlawful tricks?
The European Commission smacks Motorola for using patents as leverage rather than tools for innovation (cough, cough), a major Taiwanese University is suing Apple in Texas, and Apple is begging the court for a peek at Android's goods. Another week, another round of courtroom drama in Law & Apple.
Apple and Samsung reached a major agreement in court. No, not to settle their claims against each other and put an end to the Patent Wars. Instead, the two business partners finally agreed on which products they would each allow the other company to add to the next super trial between their alter-egos in court. But aside from pithy headlines and ten-digit jury awards, are any of these products in risk of being banned in the United States?
Next Monday, the courtroom battle between Apple and Samsung will hit full steam and, based on the pre-trial activity between the two companies, it's not going to be pretty. It appears both sides, despite doing massive amounts of business together in the components industry, are not going to pull any punches. It also appears, however, that the scales of justice are weighing in Apple's favor already, and Samsung has adopted a defensive position even before the gavel falls.
Anything can happen in a jury trial, but could things have gone much better for Cupertino up to this point? Join us for another week of Law & Apple.
Tuesday was a rough day for Samsung in the U.S. court system, and even though Wednesday brought a victory against Apple in the Netherlands it appears to be a situation where the winner is going to end up the biggest loser. If you work for Samsung, you might just want to stop reading here. For the rest of you, join us for another week of Law & Apple.