Apple v. Samsung: The Trial Goes On, but It’s Already Over

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The patent trial of Apple v. Samsung has been fascinating to read about if you’re interested in either company’s inner workings. So far, we’ve learned that one Samsung executive freaked out about the iPhone, that Apple considered making a car and that Samsung’s 7-in. tablet spurred Apple’s interest in a smaller iPad.

But as the Loop’s Jim Dalrymple argues, beyond the juicy highlights, it seems the purpose of the trial — at least from Apple’s perspective — escapes most people:

This lawsuit isn’t about getting compensation for products that were released in 2007 or even 2011, it’s about protecting the products that will be released in 2013 and 2015 and beyond.

Dalrymple writes that Apple is no doubt planning more revolutionary products in the coming years (like a TV perhaps). The lawsuit is all about stopping Samsung now and sending a message to other companies about the ramifications of copying. That’s more important than the $2.5 billion for which Apple is suing.

It’s an astute observation, but I’d like to add to it: by taking the case this far, I think Apple already got what it wanted.

(MORE: Apple Wins Ban on Two Android Devices: What It Means for You)

Earlier this year, Ron Amadeo of Android Police analyzed the design of Samsung’s Galaxy S III and called it “the first smart phone designed entirely by lawyers,” because it avoids nearly all of Apple’s trade-dress claims against earlier products. Unlike Samsung’s previous Galaxy S phones, the S III doesn’t have a perfectly rectangular shape with uniformly rounded corners, and size of the bezels on each side of the screen are not equal. Samsung also abandoned the colorful square app icons found in earlier versions of its software and removed the stationary app tray from the phone’s app list. From these observations, Amadeo concluded that Samsung designed the Galaxy S III so it’d be safe from future legal attacks.

Looking at Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, I get the feeling that the same strategy is in play. While Samsung’s original Galaxy Tab 10.1 looked a lot like Apple’s iPad, the Note 10.1′s design seems tailored to avoid resemblance. In landscape mode, the bezel thins out around the sides so it’s not evenly sized all the way around. Outside the bezel, there’s a silver frame that runs around the front of the tablet, also unevenly sized, with speakers that throw off the device’s symmetry. Anyone with a clue wouldn’t mistake the Galaxy Note 10.1 for an iPad.

If Apple hadn’t sued Samsung over its designs, do you think today’s Galaxy phones and tablets would bear so little resemblance to the iPhone and iPad? I think not.

Maybe if Samsung prevails in this lawsuit, it’ll go back to designs that more closely resemble Apple products, but I doubt that as well. Win or lose, Samsung’s reputation is getting dinged in this trial. Its earlier products do look a lot like Apple’s, even if they haven’t violated patent law, and that’s what the public sees as this case plays out. That’s why you see Conan O’Brien poking fun at Samsung, and not Apple, in a comedy skit. If Samsung has any pride, it’ll keep producing designs that don’t invite accusations of copying (and the sales will keep rolling in).

As Dalrymple notes, $2.5 billion is chump change for Apple. In the scheme of things, it’s not even that much for Samsung, which made $5.9 billion in profits last quarter alone. The bigger issue in this case is whether Samsung can continue to make its products look like Apple’s.

Recent products suggest that Samsung has already moved beyond that. The legal pressure has already been applied. In the future, may the best product win.

MORE: Apple Claims Samsung Copied iPhone Technology

109 comments
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Sirwriter
Sirwriter

Apple sues every company remotely related to its' own industry so frequently that news of another lawsuit filed by them is no news at all. OTOH, how often do you see Apple sued and lose? That's right, it happens so frequently it's like a change of weather. They even were sued by another country over the use of the name "iPad", which had been patented by that county a few years prior. Most products have one or more design factors in common. Do you really believe Samsung copied Apple's design intentionally so that it would help them sell more products? Please. If Apple's business were up to forecast they'd probably never have thought of lawsuits.

For Samsung's part, they make a simple change to the design and keep on selling. Besides, if Samsung's product sales were less sucessful, Apple probably wouldn't have bothered.

docmacdvet
docmacdvet

If Samsung has any pride, it’ll keep producing designs that don’t invite accusations of copying (and the sales will keep rolling in)."

Read more: http:// This is one of the most idiotic statements I have read. Samsung has pride in that it has a lot o fproducts you can choose from. Accusations are common in the Tech world. Look who is talking? Apple is suing Samsung for alledged Intellectual Property Infringements. 

Sorry, I don't buy that! It is losing its projected profits! If that weren't the real case, why the whooping 2.5 billion?Apple you are near the end of the Road. You can't use laws to get profits! Shame on you. Fight with everything you've got.Truth of the matter is you have plateaued and couldn't con people to buy your gadgets?Its time for The Rest!

d-G
d-G

What I see here is protectionism and the stifling of innovation .How can someone attempt to patent an idea and the court even pay attention to this ? I would not even support this if I am an Apple boss .Think about it ,imagine someone had patent the shape of any other product or function of a product ,say the steering wheel of a car or the shape of a tin of beans or the idea of making sandwiches ..Anyone support these suits does not support America as the Chinese will continue to ignore these stupid patents that is stopping American innovation .The Europeans don't allow these crazy patents as we would all be driving ford and drinking coke .

JohnDoey
JohnDoey

Yeah, it is a meme now to expose yet another example of Samsung copying. The latest I saw is a developer tool for Samsung's TV's that runs on Windows, but for some reason has the windows borders of a Mac app and looks like Xcode, Apple's developer tools. They had to do some extra work to make it look like that.

Samsung already had this reputation among people who work in the same industries, but now their reputation has gone mainstream.

If this court case was taking place at a University, Samsung would have been expelled for plagiarism. Their 2010 thesis is way too much like the award-winning 2007 thesis from another student. A lot of people judge with that standard. Never mind patents. Unoriginal work is unoriginal work.

And we have to raise our standards, not lower them. Technology is confusing enough and dangerous enough to consumers already. You can get a $10,000 phone bill next month. You can get your identity stolen, or get malware that makes Windows empty your bank account. Consumers will stop participating when they are abused. The idea that a company the size of Samsung, with 20 years in phones, would be selling counterfeit iPhones to consumers and then abandoning them with no support and no apps and no upgrade path is abysmal. Samsung's 2010 phones were like a trap door consumers fell into when they were shopping for iPhones.

Samsung still owes all the profits they made on the 2 years of copycat products. That is the only way a corporation learns. I hope the jury awards triple because it was willful. It was so willful it was offensive.

Jackie-Barry Page
Jackie-Barry Page

I really can't stand all of this anymore. Maybe the first creator of the laptop should start suing for the use of their design, after all hasn't the design essentially stayed the same? Crikey can you imagine it, Dell, HP and Apple would be in serious trouble. Let's be even more silly, how about the desktop computer! Seriously this has become so pathetic. Whats more important is some of these companies should be taken to task regarding with how they are treating their overseas workers, what's the fine like for that nowadays, probably a lot less the patent infringement right?

Sri
Sri

 I have no dog in the Apple vs Samsung since I use a WP7 from HTC. The last thing I personally wanted before the trail was Apple to win, but after seeing the proof that was presented, it would be foolish to say that Samsung was "not creatively inspired " by IPhone.

The Samsung Phone Icons were a given away how much they were "Creatively Inspired" by IPhone.

RobertSF
RobertSF

Imagine if this nonsense had applied in the early days of the automobile. Once one company put four people sitting in a box between two parallel wheeled axles, nobody else could do it.

Phone_Guru
Phone_Guru

Great article. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is a great phone. 

eliking
eliking

Apple has already lost... me as a customer.

I do think Apple makes great products, but I simply don't want my money going to pay lawyers who try to ban me from being able to buy the product I want to buy, just because Apple feels it deserves the rights to all touch screen smartphones.

When I found out they were trying to ban the Galaxy Nexus, I went and bought one.

It's an awesome phone with an awesome, customizable OS, and off contract, it cost half of what an iPhone would cost. That's the benefit of competition that Apple is trying hard to suppress.

Umair Abdullah
Umair Abdullah

well i think that apple knows that they are loosing ground after steve, apple products are just like any other kitchen appliances. you cant customize them, you have this line kept going link a news ticker that i cant do that in this, coz its human nature that you like customization then appliance had to mold into your need. Apple just making materialistic devices things still like bluetooth file sharing aren't there its not a rocket science they are falling to what they call revolutionary products take the new Final Cut X just changed the name from iMovie no professional workflow, MacBook Pro, you have to specs it well before you buy the battery, storage, memory, video memory are all glued yup glued not even an optical drive. Ask any ordinary computer user about the importance of optical drive. There is no secure data without optical drive, lastly the iPhones amp; iPad just like mentioned before no bluetooth file sharing, no expendable memory no simple USB drag n Drop from PC, no user friendly integration with other devices like TV. You have to buy extra expensive to taking simplest of jobs like HDMI.  The HTC Status has better camera then both if these devices. Retina Display, whats the big difference about it in terms of OLED or SUPER AMLOID 

Fixing Apple since my childhood and now im fade up with their technology amp; products so i know Apple then the so called "Apple Genius" 

Dont have any Samsung products not even the refrigerator yet see its technology growing adapting the numan needs for technology is great no need to explain about samsung.

Nicco Janelli
Nicco Janelli

I can't beleive Apple thinks it owns the rights to rounded corners.

Really, Apple, you need to take it easy with the lawsuits.  Trust me, it doesn't make you look any cooler.

SixSixSix
SixSixSix

May the best product win without lawyers harassing the free market. If Apple has patents it isn't Intellectual Property, it's Intellectual Trivia. Only a total idiot, Apple, lawyers, journalists, and possibly Judges could ever mistake a Android system for IOS. It makes a mockery of patents and trademarks as "incentives".

skybrite
skybrite

Some of these comments are funny. You would have thought the writer of this article was attacking your mother instead of expressing his opinion about Samsung's blatant copying of the iPhone. But then again if anyone expresses a tinge of criticism toward either Android or it's OEMs you're accused of Apple fanboism or worse--a paid Apple conspirator (LMAO). 

Yeah I said it, and let me say it again...Samsung deserved to be sued and I hope Apple wins. And this is coming from someone who doesn't even like Apple or owns an iPhone. As much as I dislike Apple, I hate plagiarism/copying/ripping off other's designs even more. Oh and for the record I think the post trial Samsung products look FAR better than the iPhone/iPad look-a-likes of before. Heck, they even look better than the originals. Perhaps this trial is the best thing that could have happened to Samsung. 

David Alex Martinez
David Alex Martinez

 you can't use effective marketing as part of your argument. that's a separate issue. if it comes down to marketing then even I will give Apple all the credit in the world. they really are very good at selling technology. my point is that they're not marketing *original* technology, which is what they're basing their lawsuit on, and that's my problem. and it's all especially hypocritical considering that the vast majority of their produtcs are a combination of previously available techonogy. that they're being bullies about it really takes things over the edge. nevermind that in their orignal marketing they claimed their products were oh so "innovative" and "revolutionary".

in terms of your individual examples, that video showed that the iPhone (at least the key technology and functionality behind it) was really *not* an original Apple invention, just like the iPod or FireWire, etc.

I can see your PBamp;J point. and yes, PBamp;J should be considered an original idea. but here is where Apple is taking things to ridiculous levels. they did *not* invent the rectangle, they did *not* invent curved edges, they did *not* invent slide to unlock (ever seen 500yr old locks?), and whole slew of other things. in fact, even OSX is just a modified version of Unix/BSD, a *free* OS to begin with. going by those standards then Apple itself should get sued by dozens of other companies!

that some Samsung phones look "similar" to the iPhone is the same as saying that some flip phones looked "similar" to others.

Apple is actually playing a dangerous game here. they're dragging the tech industry down for the sake of satisfying their own selfish tantrum. do they really want companies to later patent "if-else" statements?, a beep sound? the fact that their produts run on electricity?

you could easily come up with even 20+ characteristics that all smart phones have in common, so the trade dress, 15-point argument doesn't hold much water. at best it's a matter of opinion. going back 3-4+ years, when the iPhone was first being designed, most smart phones were naturally evolving into the current design we have today. just look at every other smart phone on the market. why isn't Apple suing everyone else? like this very article points out, Apple doesn't really care about their supposed losses, they just want to make an example out of Samsung for the sake of intimidating other companies. and they're basing their lawsuit on ridiculous claims of originality.

I am looking at the facts objectively. are you?

David Alex Martinez
David Alex Martinez

 you can't use effective marketing as part of your argument. that's a separate issue. if it comes down to marketing then even I will give Apple all the credit in the world. they really are very good at selling technology. my point is that they're not marketing *original* technology, which is what they're basing their lawsuit on, and that's my problem. and it's all especially hypocritical considering that the vast majority of their produtcs are a combination of previously available techonogy. that they're being bullies about it really takes things over the edge. nevermind that in their orignal marketing they claimed their products were oh so "innovative" and "revolutionary".

in terms of your individual examples, that video showed that the iPhone (at least the key technology and functionality behind it) was really *not* an original Apple invention, just like the iPod or FireWire, etc.

I can see your PBamp;J point. and yes, PBamp;J should be considered an original idea. but here is where Apple is taking things to ridiculous levels. they did *not* invent the rectangle, they did *not* invent curved edges, they did *not* invent slide to unlock (ever seen 500yr old locks?), and whole slew of other things. in fact, even OSX is just a modified version of Unix/BSD, a *free* OS to begin with. going by those standards then Apple itself should get sued by dozens of other companies!

that some Samsung phones look "similar" to the iPhone is the same as saying that some flip phones looked "similar" to others.

Apple is actually playing a dangerous game here. they're dragging the tech industry down for the sake of satisfying their own selfish tantrum. do they really want companies to later patent "if-else" statements?, a beep sound? the fact that their produts run on electricity?

you could easily come up with even 20+ characteristics that all smart phones have in common, so the trade dress, 15-point argument doesn't hold much water. at best it's a matter of opinion. going back 3-4+ years, when the iPhone was first being designed, most smart phones were naturally evolving into the current design we have today. just look at every other smart phone on the market. why isn't Apple suing everyone else? like this very article points out, Apple doesn't really care about their supposed losses, they just want to make an example out of Samsung for the sake of intimidating other companies. and they're basing their lawsuit on ridiculous claims of originality.

I am looking at the facts objectively. are you?

Phil_Kiwi
Phil_Kiwi

Oooh I don't know,well gee the S3 is sort of a rectangle so I guess anything that shape is infringing Apples Patents.OMG my Cars that shape!

Enzo_Leon
Enzo_Leon

I don't think you have been paying attention. Apple has over $100 Billion in cash,  Over 70 percent of their profits come from the iPhone and the iPad, and their profit margin on the iPhone is twice that of the iPad.  And they don't make anything.  And they pick apart the cheap labor and hardware and technological advancements of Japan, China and Korea.  They are a software company, and even then they absorb other smaller  companies that have made advancements like every other company does.  Siri, or more recently Authentec. All facts. Not opinion.    And they keep the profits offshore so they don't have to pay taxes on it. Because that's exactly what the US economy needs, more trolls. 

JeremyMeiss
JeremyMeiss

This is an example of terrible reporting. The trial isn't even over, Samsung hasn't laid out their evidence (which as we've actually seen will show Samsung had similar designs prior to the iPhone), and the jury hasn't even convened to weigh a verdict. It would seem you have no knowledge of the justice system, in which both sides present their case and then the jury decides. I am so glad that journalists do not run the justice system, as we would see cases decided by those dedicated to providing a quick soundbite or nugget instead of the whole picture. You sure seem to show a lot of prejudice in this article as you have decided Apple is in the right and Samsung is in the wrong. 

And to your comment below, it means nothing that your personal phone is a Galaxy SII. Why would you try and justify this article's slant by saying you own a Samsung phone? And "basic journalistic ethics?" If that's the case, then why do we see such slanted reporting on everything from politics to technology to sports? You may not be paid by Apple, Oracle, IBM, etc. to write, but that doesn't mean nobody else is.

Jose
Jose

"(which as we've actually seen will show Samsung had similar designs prior to the iPhone)"

Except that judge Lucy Koh will not allow that evidence in.

Justin Meself
Justin Meself

"As Dalrymple notes, $2.5 billion is chump change for Apple. In the scheme of things, it’s not even that much for Samsung, which made $5.9 billion in profits last quarter alone."

That is, if Shamesung didn't lie about there earnings too.

GV_Comment
GV_Comment

Boy am I glad that Apple didn't invent the mouse, the keyboard, the laptop keys + joystick + trackpad layout. If not, they would have sued the competition to a monopoly.

GV_Comment
GV_Comment

Not sure if the links would be allowed, but here's a good article with pictures on before iPhone / iPad announcement. BTW, there was also the Microsoft Surface and Courier (multi gesture, page flip and pinch zoom), 1983 Startrek PADD which has an eerie resemblance to the Apple patent 889. I guess some fools at US PTO go by big name and big lawyers.

http://www.pcmagme.com/2012/07...

James Katt
James Katt

Samsung - the evil copyist - is trying to atone for its sins by making its products as different from Apple's as possible. Apple is perfectly happy with this.

Gnusmas - the devil in Korea - may be turning a new leaf.  Again, Apple is happy with this outcome - even if it had to sue them.

WTF
WTF

No fair, I see that apple is competing on the customer facing side of the features, and Samsung on the internal workings. So it is easy for Samsung to draw these articles from the "customers" and not get any support from this group. But I think we should acknowledge that to balance the article, else it is unfair advantage in a one sided argument based on a lack of understanding of the other part. 

docmacdvet
docmacdvet

"From these observations, Amadeo concluded that Samsung designed the Galaxy S III so it’d be safe from future legal attacks."

Read more: From the way I see it, Koreans, Samsung that is, has proven that Asians can think! They can design, Innovate. Legal battles are a Western thing, Especially true when the one suing is on the Losing side!I don't mean to be egregious nor acrimonius, pardon me.Just a little Sardonic.

Christina Comoutnplazwitme Cra
Christina Comoutnplazwitme Cra

 JARED NEWMAN: You are just about the biggest Apple fan boy that I have ever had the displeasure of reading an article from. No matter what happens in this case they are both going to continue what they do. Apple will always patent stupid shit so they can sue the littler guys and samsung will continue to make great phones.

iPhart
iPhart

So you say, that if I want  " perfectly rectangular shape with uniformly rounded corners",  but not with iOS  , and not made from glass - there will be no way to have it?

And no one else can make smartphone with a shape of Samsung GS3?  And if all(few) other possible shapes are taken from other existing brands, then no one new maker can come in this market?

What a bunch of BS, man ! Better do not reproduce yourself, to make great favor to the World.

rj5555
rj5555

If Apple wants to make Tv's they better keep Samsung as a friend as they have loads of (non frand) patents in that area.

Manuel T Cavazos
Manuel T Cavazos

I honestly don't see anything wrong with companies copying each other since it drives innovation at new heights.

Rajeev Bhatta
Rajeev Bhatta

but copying only from a exterior design perspective... not the patented stuff.. but again patent system is a crap

Chris
Chris

I honestly don't see anything wrong with companies copying each other since it drives innovation at new heights.

Gary McCray
Gary McCray

What amazes me most is that when I read the comments, there are so many people who believe the Apple rewrite of history where they basically invented the modern computer.

Their most important technologies were outright stolen yes (STOLEN!) from Xerox PARC .

After Steve Wozniak crashed (literally) the only new thing they did was to improve on the stolen Xerox architecture and create really cool Bauhaus style ergonomics and a totally locked (not open) architecture.

Apple is a big company and they have neat products, but in the chain of guilt at patent infringement, they simply out lawyer anyone who stands in their way without any regard for right and wrong or who's side the law is actually on.

They Don't Care!

John Kolak
John Kolak

Let's sue because all cars have four wheels, and a steering wheel too. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Dakota44
Dakota44

All this junk about how Samsung products resemble Apple products nauseates me.  All tv's look basically the same too.  Anyone suing over that?  Maybe Samsung will sue Apple if they do come out with a tv.  All cars have round wheels.  Any lawsuits?  It's childish Steve Jobs jealousy at work, even from the grave. 

Alex Novosad 
Alex Novosad 

Actually, Harley Davidson sued Honda over as stupid a thing as engine sound. You need to read more. Cars have four wheels, yet all cars look different - have you noticed? 

Samsung is MORE than welcome to sue Apple IF Apple actually infringes on any of its patents or trade dresses. This pendulum swings both ways. But don't you worry, this will never happen - Apple rarely infringes on patents. But when it does, guess what - it settles/pays. It's OK to infringe from time to time by accident, such as by lack of knowledge about the patent, etc. It's NOT OK to infringe, deny infringement when presented evidence, then claim there's no other way to implement something (stupidest excuse ever), and then come up with a non-infringing product somehow (magic!) yet STILL claim previous product didn't infringe. Wow, the audacity! 

Ian
Ian

That would be a very sound point, but Apple refused to settle on it's infringement of Samsung technology, as referenced in this trial, so I fail to see how what you said stands up to scrutiny.

As for Samsung's strategy, it's actually not difficult to see how S1-S2-S3 works as an evolution (Infact if you look further back it's still pretty easy to see how Samsung's phones evolved all the way up to the S1). Claiming the S3 is rounded to avoid infringement is a bit... Closed minded. Plus Apple did try to get injunctions against the S3 (Which you claim is non-infringing) in several countries.

Dakota44
Dakota44

Sure cars have different designs, some only vaguely different.  But they still rely on the the same basic design in most cases.  Thousands of products have significant similarities to competitors when it comes to appearance.  If someone steals patented technology, that is quite different.  But all this junk about similar appearance is a joke and a waste of time.   Apple just can't stand competition.  I'm not sure that appearance is the big seller for Apple.