March 7, 2012
Samsung vs. Apple Patent War Expands To South Korea
Jedidiah Becker for RedOrbit.com
International electronics giant Samsung announced on Wednesday that it has filed another patent lawsuit against competitor Apple Inc. This time, the South Korean multinational conglomerate will be duking it out with the wunderkind of the tech world on its home turf.The opening shots of this latest legal skirmish open up yet another front in the companies´ escalating multinational patent war, which now encompasses more than 30 cases in 10 countries.
As the two tech behemoths vie for dominance of seemingly insatiable global markets for high-tech mobile gadgetry, their competitive strategies have increasingly turned on exploiting patent laws in attempts to gain the upper hand over rivals.
In the latest suit, Samsung Electronics will attempt to convince a Seoul court that Apple´s iPhone 4S and iPad 2 infringe on three of its patented technologies, one involving data display, another short text messages and yet another the user interface.
Breaking a sort of unspoken gentlemen´s agreement regarding the mutual use of various industry-critical patented technologies, Apple launched the initial legal attack on Samsung last April. Adding insult to injury, Apple publically claimed that its competitor had “blatantly” and “slavishly” copied its iPhone and iPad designs, thus bringing an abrupt end the era of corporate “good feeling.”
Not to be outdone, Samsung quickly retaliated with a countersuit, demanding that Apple pay royalties for use of its own patented technology.
Having broken the tenuous peace, the two firms now appear to have opened up a Pandora´s box of tit-for-tat legal warfare that has already cost millions in legal fees — both to themselves and taxpayer-funded court systems around the world.
Earlier this week, German courts threw out two dueling Apple v. Samsung and Samsung v. Apple suits. Steeped in a legal tradition that is less inclined to indulge frivolous lawsuits than many other countries of the West, German district courts will be ruling on a handful of similar cases between the two companies in the coming weeks and months.
Whether this week´s decisions by German courts represents the setting of a deliberate and pragmatic legal precedent aimed at discouraging costly and unproductive patent wars remains to be seen.
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