The soap opera style saga between Apple and Samsung has already seen more than its fair share of drama, from Samsung leaking disallowed evidence to the public to the revelation that Apple once considered its enemy a "strategic partner," offering to license key patents at a discounted rate. The latest episode in As the Patent World Turns involves U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh barring a Samsung designer from presenting testimony in the trial.
Research In Motion (RIM) managed to escape from having to pay a hefty patent infringement fine when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California overturned an earlier verdict that would have had the company pay $147.2 million in damages to Mformation, a software company that deals with mobile device management. According to the presiding judge, there wasn't enough evidence to support the jury's findings of patent infringement.
Apple this week pulled out what it hopes will be a trump card in its courtroom battle with Samsung over allegations that the rival device maker copied the look and feel of its iPhone and iPad devices. The supposed trump card is a 132-page internal Samsung document from 2010 in which the company directly compares the Galaxy S1's shortcomings to the iPhone in a variety of areas, with recommendations on how to improve them.
It's too late to claim things are getting ugly between Samsung and Apple. The question before us now is, how ugly can things get? That depends on which court system you're talking about. Here in the U.S., Apple is peeved at Samsung for leaking rejected evidence to the public, and over in Australia, Samsung is accusing Apple of inappropriately meeting with expert witnesses to change their opinions on things that could affect the outcome of the patent trial.
The high-profile and long-anticipated Apple versus Samsung trial kicked off in San Jose, California yesterday morning with a jury selection process consisting of a 20-minute question and answer session in which a pool of 74 potential jurors was whittled down to 10. Those 10 individuals -- seven men and three women ranging in occupation from social worker to an unemployed video gamer seeking a software degree -- will hear arguments from Apple and Samsung in a case the latter described as "fighting over rectangles."
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.
When it rains, it pours, and as if Kodak didn't have enough to worry about already as it ditches the camera business and tries to figure out how to pay back movie studios millions of dollars it owes in unpaid rebates, all while declaring bankruptcy, Apple has decided it wants to dump a patent infringement suit to the company's pile of problems.
Apple isn't letting up on its relentless legal attack against Samsung in the which the Cupertino company is continually attempting to have certain Galaxy devices banned in the U.S. and abroad. It's been a largely unsuccessful campaign so far, though Apple remains undeterred as it fires off lawsuit after lawsuit claiming Samsung is infringing several of its patents. In a lawsuit filed in California, Apple takes aim at the Galaxy Nexus, the world's first Android 4.0 smartphone, and cries foul over Samsung's recent ad campaign mocking the iPhone.
If the ammunition you're using to try and take down your prey isn't getting the job done, you can either hunt different game or try different ammo. Apple has chosen the latter as it continues to chase Samsung through various courts around the world. According to reports, Apple added a pair of patents to its portfolio, which it's using to try and convince a California judge to ban sales of Samsung's smartphones and tablets.
Would you have guessed that it would be Microsoft who stands up and yells, "Enough already!," in response to all the silly patent squabbles, many of which only end up hurting the consumer? Believe it or not, that's what the Redmond software giant did, in a roundabout sort of way. Microsoft is taking a public stand in support for industry standards and vowed it would not seek injunctions against any firm that runs afoul of so-called "standard essential" patents, all for the greater good of mankind.