LONDON – Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has countersued Apple Inc. over alleged patent infringements, according to reports.
Samsung is a competitor to Apple, offering Galaxy Android-based smartphones and tablet computers, but also supplies the microprocessors and NAND flash memory that are the heart of Apple's latest iPhone and iPad systems.
Samsung said Friday (April 22) it filed lawsuits in South Korea and Germany Thursday claiming that Apple is violating 10 patents in the production of the iPad and iPhone. Samsung's suit comes one week after Apple filed a patent infringement suit against Samsung in U.S. District Court in Northern California and claimed that Samsung "slavishly" copied the look and feel of its iPhones and iPads with its own smartphone and media tablet offerings.
Observers have said the legal spat is not expected to endanger business relations in the short-term and are partly being made to appease shareholders. However, in the longer term Apple's dependence for chips on a key competitor at the systems level is looking to be problematic.
You're absolutely right Peter, and I think that we engineers all too easily forget what patents are all about.
We love it when a patent gets issued to us, because we see it as an acknowledgment of our engineering contribution to advancing the state of the art. But this is not the reason companies pay big money to file and maintain patents -- as you said, they do it for the commercial value.
We engineers sometimes hate that the financial value of a patent can only be realized by lawsuits, the threat of lawsuits, or cross-licensing deals that allow other companies to use some of our patents if we can use some of theirs.
Engineers love to invent things, and inventions naturally lead to patents. Perhaps engineers need to occasionally remind themselves of what patents are really all about -- using the legal system as either a defensive or offensive weapon against a competitor.
Apple is using the fact the majority of people who are not into computers think they are the first to sell a tablet. Many companies have been producing them for a number of years before Apple. Fujitsu is also a large company that has been producing tablets for years. Even my Archos 9 came out before the iPad.
Apple is not about innovation, but instead about marketing. They've been good at selling over priced goods compared to the competition for years because their marketing department works very well.
Even their computers are nothing special, and yet people still buy them with 30-40% mark ups verses the competition who now since they use Intel is even easier to calculate and show how much above Apple prices out their products. Similar to how they sell iPhones for $638, with a BOM cost of less then 180$ something most other companies couldn't dream of doing.
So they have plenty of money to throw around in these suits whether or not they actually win.
Well we have discussed before Apple's plans to work with TSMC on the baseband processor. Although Samsung's chip division still appears to be the monopoly supplier.
As to the rest of the debate, there seems to be a lot of frustration that companies take out patents and get engaged in tit-for-tat legal suits.
But that's what patents are there for. To build some sort of "position" around a techniques and technologies primarily as a COMMERCIAL lever.
Once a market gets large enough and a competitor threatening enough, it would be a dereliction of duty to the shareholders not to use those patents to try and slow that competition down. That's the patents' purpose.
And the fact is that patents are expensive to file and maintain and often seem to be granted for minutely detailed yet patently obvious reasons. But that's ok too because having them contested and found unenforceable still slows the competition down.
I get the feeling that Apple has backup plans in case Samsung stops making the processor for Apple or stops selling them memory devices. Apple is quite capable of quietly doing this while the whole world is busy discussing the lawsuit. Thoughts?
Where is Motion Computing in all of Apple's look and feel frenzy? Motion Computing has been selling tablets for years before Apple even started one on the drawing board.
Apple can't sue on the form factor which is half the suit, the other half is iOS and Samsung is not using it.
Apple is just trying to suppress any competition in the market. Also Samsung is giving Apple preferential treatment of their products so if Apple truly doesn't want delays they will cool their heels.
I think it's an attack on a rival in the smart phone arena + an attack on Google's Android used in Samsung's Galaxy. Android is a big threat to Apple ... and Microsoft. The latter is also launching attacks againt other OEMs that use Android....
Semiman_#1. I disagree with your assertion apple conceptualized the tablet. I think they were the first to execute a product with mass market success based on their software offering, not form factor, look or feel.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.