It's like deja vu all over again. This fall, Apple and Samsung will return to the courtroom battlefield to argue about the same issues they've been arguing about for years. In fact, both companies will only be permitted to discuss exactly the same issues as a previously settled case. Well, mostly settled. Read on, we'll explain.
Google went big when it dropped nine zeroes on a patent portfolio to use against Apple, but the portfolio has been a dud in the courtroom. Is this latest legal loss the one that convinces Mountain View to try something else? Also, when you download a song twice, you pay for it twice, the end. What you don't do is get a check from Apple for $5 million, right? Right. It is known.
Seems like everyone wants to take a bite out of Apple these days. In China, an Internet technology company claims to have been in a relationship with the technology behind Siri before Apple and the virtual personal assistant even starting dating. Back home in California, a small company that wants to make sure you understand up front that they are not a troll is nonetheless suing Apple for patent infringement. That Cupertino team of legal eagles is never bored, are they?
Apple got some expectation of closure on a major issue in the ongoing patent war with Samsung, though it's probably not exactly what Apple wanted. Also, Apple fought the law in its home state of California, and won. But was it the privacy rights of the consumer that actually lost?
Finally, some clarity on the $1 billion jury ruling from the big trial with Samsung last summer. Samsung had a wish list that included dismissing the case entirely, while Apple made a pitch for triple damages, among other things. Judge Lucy Koh finally ruled on most of the issues; would Samsung get off scot free, or would Apple be lugging an even bigger check to the bank? Also, if you are able to invest in companies, and one of the companies is doing really well and earning a lot of profit, is your next move really to sue them?
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?
This week, Apple finds itself in several rather awkward courtroom dramas: being asked by a U.S. judge to find a way to go away; being sued by a European Union nation for something it should have fixed a year ago; and being railroaded by a Russian company for failing to police the App Store. All aboard! It's time for another trip on the Law & Apple Express.
Apple is not the boss of every word in the English language, and Samsung is on the verge of breaking the U.S. Patent system forever. The Patent Wars roll on, and to what end? If Apple is going to try to corner the market on words, and no company in the United States is going to be stopped from putting copycat products on store shelves until it is too late, these lawsuits will never stop. Join us for another week of Law & Apple as we try to make some sense of this nonsense.
When China decides to seriously protect intellectual property, one imagines the government will have quite a massive wall of work in front of them. As the nation that holds the global reputation for turning technological piracy into an art, China could stand to bring forward some high-profile cases and show the world that it is serious about protecting copyrights and patents. Instead, China has chosen the path of irony, and righteously sues foreign companies, like Apple, for absurd copyright infringement.
In a year dominated by Apple and Samsung courtroom battles, it is only fitting to wrap up week 52 with more legal drama from our two favorite frenemies. There will be no singing of Auld Lang Syne from these two as the New Year rolls in, and unless something miraculous happens, it looks like even more of the same for 2013. Last week, however, Apple drew a firm line in the sand and dared the United States court system to cross it.