Tech titans Apple and Samsung will face off once again in a California courtroom Monday as a fresh legal battle over patents gets under way — the latest round in a fight that has lasted for years and spanned the globe.
The new case follows another in 2012 in which Samsung was ordered to pay Apple around a billion dollars after it was found to have infringed a number of patents related to the Cupertino company’s iPhone and iPad devices with products of its own.
This week’s legal proceedings focus on a bunch of more recent Samsung devices – including the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Tab 2 – also accused by Apple of incorporating design features similar to those found on its own devices. We say recent, but of course these devices are old by tech standards, with the Korean electronics firm already prepping the launch of the latest iteration of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5.
Speaking to California-based news publication Mercury News about the latest battle, Stanford University technology law professor Mark Lemley said the case highlighted the fact that “technology and the law move at very different speeds.”
He added, “As a result, I think this trial, like the last one, will be about money – a lot of money by the standards of us ordinary mortals, but not nearly enough to make or break Apple or Samsung.”
Apple’s legal team claims five patents have been violated by Samsung, including those relating to the iDevice’s Siri – Apple’s voice-activated virtual assistant – and the slide-to-lock feature found on its mobile offerings. The presiding judge, Lucy Koh, has already ruled in Apple’s favor regarding an auto-complete text patent, leaving the court to determine the level of damages Samsung should pay.
Copier or pioneer?
In court filings, Apple said it had “revolutionized the market in personal computing devices,” while claiming that Samsung had “systematically copied Apple’s innovative technology and products, features and designs, and has deluged markets with infringing devices.”
Samsung’s legal team, meanwhile, said the Korean company has “been a pioneer in the mobile device business sector since the inception of the mobile device industry,” adding that “Apple has copied many of Samsung’s innovations in its Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad products.”
Interestingly, Google is expected to play a significant role in this latest trial. Samsung is calling on the Web giant as a witness in connection with the development of its Android mobile operating system, which powers Samsung devices at the center of the case. Many will recall how Apple’s late co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs loathed Android, claiming it to be a rip-off of the iPhone’s iOS operating system.
In this latest dispute, Apple wants Samsung to pay a $40 royalty for each of its devices using software that the iPhone maker claims as its own. If Apple wins, Samsung could be ordered to pay somewhere in the region of $2 billion.
Apple boss Tim Cook and Samsung co-CEO JK Shin met face-to-face last month in a bid to hammer out a deal and prevent this latest case from coming to court, but no agreement was reached.