One step forward and two steps back. That must be how Samsung feels as it dances with Apple in various courts around the world defending its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and other products the Cupertino outfit claims infringes on the look and feel of iPad and iPhone devices. The latest setback took place in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which denied two of Samsung's motions related to the preliminary injunction levied against the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Nobody likes to eat crow, but what do you do when a judge in a court of law hands you plate full of it and orders you to shove it down your gullet? The answer to that question is forthcoming. Apple, which has been on a crusade to bury Samsung for allegedly copying the look and feel of its iPad and iPhone devices, was ordered by a U.K. judge to flip the script and take out ads stating Samsung is innocent.
Samsung hasn't had much to celebrate lately in the legal arena, and the fact that a U.K. judge deemed the company's Galaxy Tab "not as cool" as Apple's iPad seems like it would only rub salt in the wound. However, it's for that very reason that Judge Colin Birss sided with Samsung, ruling that Apple's patent infringement claim, which has been successful in the U.S., is bogus.
Even for a company as financially stable as Intel, paying a $1.3 billion fine doesn't come easy, or without hesitation. It's even tougher to fork over the funds when it's believed the fine is based on "profoundly inadequate" evidence, as the Santa Clara chip maker referred to the European Commission's investigation, which led to the record breaking penalty. Intel is hoping to have the three-year-old fine removed, or at least reduced, via appeal.
Samsung is having a crummy week. After losing a court battle in which Apple was successfully able to convince an appeals court to ban sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the U.S., Samsung learned a day later that it would also have to pull its Galaxy Nexus smartphone from store shelves. Adding insult to injury, Samsung has just been denied a preliminary injunction against sales of said smartphones.
Everyone knows you 'don't do the crime if you can't do the time,' or in Toshiba's case, if you can't pay the fine. The only problem with that is Toshiba is innocent, or so the company claims, just like every single person serving hard time will tell you. Legally speaking, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco found Toshiba guilty of collaborating with other liquid crystal display (LCD) panel makers to fix prices at artificially high levels, and has ordered the company to pay $87 million to absolve itself of its sins.
In the grand scheme of things, there aren't many companies that can afford to cut checks for billion-dollar fines. Microsoft is one of them, but that doesn't mean it will go about it willingly. Even for Microsoft, $1.3 billion, which is roughly the amount the European Union (EU) penalized the software giant for in 2008 when it imposed a fine of 899 million euros for antitrust shenanigans, is a lot of money. Following an appeal, Microsoft won't have to pay quite as much, but it does still owe the bulk of the original fine.
Remember being told, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again?" Apple heard the message loud and clear, and applied that philosophy to our legal system where, on appeal, it was able to win a big victory against Samsung. No longer is Samsung allowed to sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the U.S. after U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, ruled in Apple's favor upon a second examination.
Software patents, to put it mildly, are a bit of a mess. Its difficult for us to say that innovation which happens in bits, rather than hardware shouldn’t be protected, but naturally a line must be drawn if progress is to be made. On Friday US federal Judge Richard Posner rendered a verdict that not only left the executives over at Motorola sleeping a bit easier, but could actually be an important precedent for patent litigation going forward.
It's said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when you're Apple, a company that thrives on form just as much as it does on function, there's nothing flattering about other companies designing products that look even remotely like existing iDevices. And make no mistake, today's Ultrabooks share design DNA with Apple's MacBook Air, DNA Apple doesn't want anyone else using, so the Cupertino company went out and snagged a broad patent for the MBA's wedge shaped design.