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?
Samsung and Apple have been dueling in the courtroom for several years now, and the so-called Patent Wars continue without any apparent end. For the first time, however, one company is going to have to watch while a bunch of its products are stripped from store shelves and blocked by customs. And that company is not Apple. This is likely to be a fairly traumatic event for Samsung; will it be enough to bring them to the negotiating table?
When Tim Cook led the big Apple Event last month announcing the new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, a lot of comparisons to his predecessor were made. Almost universally, it was declared once again that Tim Cook lacks whatever magic Steve Jobs had on stage. However, perhaps Tim Cook will do a better job of not breaking future patents with his lack of stagecraft; sometimes the ability to project a powerful "reality distortion field" has unintended consequences.
Samsung, hoping to spring back from last summer's colossal courtroom defeat at the hands of Apple, stretched its latest legal strategy too thin and had it bounced by the judge. Also, many news organizations were hoping that the trial would force Apple and Samsung to let them peek behind the curtain at the finances of each company; they would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for a meddling judge who stepped in at the last minute. Let's catch up on the courtroom drama with this week's Law & Apple.
The so-called Patent War has been raging for years, since Steve Jobs described Google's Android operating system as "grand theft" and notoriously declared his willingness to "go thermonuclear war" to "destroy Android, because it's a stolen product." Those are fightin' words, make no mistake. Instead of calling out Google directly, however, Apple targeted the handset manufacturers. There have been dozens of lawsuits filed, and even more appeals, and following the headlines can get rather confusing. Some have even gone so far as to say no one is winning yet, but they are flat-out wrong. Without question, Apple has been simply dominating these Patent Wars, and here is why.
The news just keeps getting better for Apple in its struggle against Samsung. This afternoon, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in Apple's favor in the patent dispute stretching all the way back to July 2011 after it found Samsung guilty of patent infringement in two separate cases.
Samsung and Apple are no strangers in the courtroom; in fact, despite being each other's favorite business partners, they are also the prime combatants in the ongoing global Patent Wars. Sort of like a couple going through a nasty divorce that can't stop hooking up. While the lawyers get rich, who suffers? Us kids. Now, both companies are heading back to the courtroom this week to begin a trial that holds every possibility of completely reshaping patent law in the United States. Or, perhaps, it could lead to the end of the Patent Wars once and for all. While you chew on those fat pieces of hyperbole, read on for the latest.
A basic rule of employment is that you pay your employees for the time your require them to be at work. Generally, courts don't look too kindly on companies that force you to stay at work and refuse to pay you for it. Especially if you're keeping them there, off the clock, just to make sure they're not stealing from you, which is apparently exactly what Apple's retail store policy does. Now a couple of former Apple employees are taking on the vaunted Cupertino legal team to make it right. A class-action suit representing over 42,000 employees could get pretty, pretty, pretty expensive. And if that's not enough for Apple to worry about, the company is back in the ring with Google, bickering about negotiating tactics. All in another week of Law & Apple!
Samsung continues to pull every legal trick out of its hat to avoid paying Apple legal damages from last summer's trial, but this time it may actually have a valid point. Apple, on the other hand, has decided that consumers may just be smart enough to know the difference between shopping from Apple and shopping from Amazon. Another serving of legal drama and courtroom surprises; we'll try to make sense of it all in this week's Law & Apple.
If you are a patent holder and you haven't tried to sue Apple, you really are sort of bush league. Suing Apple is what all the cool patent holders are doing. This week, Boston University is looking to land a windfall of cash from Cupertino, and there might be a pretty good chance that university will win. Also, catch up on the details of the Department of Justice's big case against Apple, as we all await the final ruling that could change the way eBooks are sold.