Samsung vs Apple: Let battle commence (again)

Judge Lucy KohAfter a brief hiatus, patent wars are firmly back on the agenda for 2013, with Samsung gaining the upper hand this time round.

US District Judge Lucy Koh, who famously called for “global peace” among rival technology companies, has rejected Apple’s demand for more money from Samsung in damages.

Apple won $1.05bn in damages from its South Korean rival after a jury found last August that Samsung had copied six Apple patents. But, not content with that award, Apple went back to court to demand that Samsung pay more.

Judge Koh has now thrown out that demand, but she is still considering Samsung’s request to have the amount reduced. Samsung is arguing that many line-item calculations carried out in the original trial were not done correctly and, therefore, it is due a sizable reduction in the award it owes Apple.

It comes as part of the long running patent battle between Apple and Samsung which started in early 2011 when Apple first took Samsung to court. So far, the Californian tech giant has been the more successful of the two, winning the $1.05bn damages award and a pre-trial ban on some Samsung products.

Samsung, however, hasn’t taken any losses lying down and is fighting back, having scored some favourable rulings, including Judge Koh’s most recent one which prevents any higher damages.

Both companies were, however demanding a re-trial – which Judge Koh has firmly rejected. “Accordingly, the trial was fairly conducted, with uniform time limits and rules of evidence applied to both sides,” she said. “A new trial would be contrary to the interests of justice.”

Samsung vs appleEarlier, Judge Koh refused to block sales of the products in question in the US, saying Apple had failed to show demand for Samsung’s gizmos was driven by Apple technology. Apple has since filed a new lawsuit, saying Samsung’s current products are using technology copied from Apple, in a separate trial which is set to be heard in 2014.

So, it seems that the next two years at least will be tied up with court battles between the technology companies. But, for consumers, the continuing fight is wearing thin. On tech forums, customers are urging the companies to stop being “childish”.

One person said: “All this patent wars is so childish…competition is good.” While another said: “This is getting old, old mobile products have something similar in their design and how to use etc, it’s stupid.”

But it is little wonder that both Apple and Samsung want to protect their share of the global smartphone market, which is worth a staggering $346bn every year.

At the moment, according to a new report released by International Data, Samsung has a bigger slice of the smartphone pie, shipping nearly 64m devices in the fourth quarter of last year and taking a 29 per cent share of the global market. Meanwhile, Apple ranked second with nearly 48m iPhones shipped during the same time period, a market share of 22 per cent.