14:59 31st Aug, 2012
Minor Victory For Samsung In Japan
It's part of a much larger story.
August 31st, Samsung and Apple faced each other in a Japan District Court with patent violation claims against each other. Apple claimed that Samsung had stolen a data-transfer technology and used it in some of its mobile devices; the Court ruled in Samsung's favour.
Compared to last week's monumental $1 billion US verdict, the amount here is comparatively very small – $1.3 million. If Samsung had lost, though, it might have meant a bitter blow: The two companies are suing each other left, right and centre around the world.
About a week ago, a South Korean court ruled that the two companies had violated each other's patents – Samsung had copied Apple's "spring-back" touchscreen feature, it said, and Apple had infringed on a couple of Samsung's technology patents. In Australia, Apple and Samsung have cases against each other in the 3G and touchscreen technology areas.
It gets all twisted when you consider that Samsung supplies chips for Apple's devices, meaning that Samsung has a bargaining point – and Apple is probably looking at alternative suppliers.
Looking at the broad picture, Apple versus Samsung isn't so much about innovation, theft, or copying. It's about who will attain the right to dictate terms within a technology – and there's a large element of luck. Court rulings upon UI design, or upon finer points of functionality, will always be subjective to an extent: In South Korea last week, the court didn't find Samsung guilty of copying Apple's icons on its smartphones.
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