Both Apple and Samsung are right-and wrong-and here's what I think both sides ought to do to get some sanity back into the mobile industry and the patent process.
Samsung’s documents (displayed in court) showing feature-by-feature comparisons of its unreleased S1 handset and the iPhone are shameful. Each page makes nearly explicit recommendations for aping features on which Apple has patents.
This is aggressive competition gone waaaay overboard. It is copying patented technology. You did it. You gained the lead in the smartphone market in part because you did it, and you deserve to be reined in with some sort of punishment.
We expected to see clunky no-name clones of the iPhone come out of China a month after the iPhone was released, and we did. We didn’t expect this slavish professionalized copying from Samsung.
Still, the lights stay on pretty late in Seoul where they develop some of the world’s finest chip technology, displays, batteries and much more. There are hundreds of hard working engineers in this company and they deserve their due. In becoming one of its largest customers, Apple has already paid Samsung a form of silent respect.
When this trial is over, Samsung probably owes Apple a check, though it may not be for as much as $2.5 billion. Indeed, Samsung showed some pretty compelling evidence of how the iPhone appears to infringe some of pretty broad mobile patents it owns.
Speaking of what’s owed in all this, Apple could write one to the diligent workers at Foxconn who help it amass its iFortune along with the Apple’s retail staff that reportedly works for an average of about $12 an hour.
After observing the maneuvering in a San Jose court, one thing seems clear: It’s time to put an end to this patent madness.