Samsung Scores US Patent Victory over Apple

by Matt Klassen on June 6, 2013

Its shaping up to be a week of meaningless victories for Korean tech giant Samsung, as not only has the company topped its rival Apple in the U.S. mobile market for the first time since the release of the iPhone 5, but it has won its first patent skirmish in the U.S. against Apple as well, a decision that could mean a ban on the import of older Apple products and one that certainly means that there is no end in sight for this ongoing legal battle.

In this latest instalment, the U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent federal agency, found that Apple had infringed on a patent held by Samsung and thus has blocked the sale of certain older model iPhone and iPads sold by AT&T.

With dozens of lawsuits spanning the globe, both companies have now scored a victory in the American mobile market as they try to use every tool in their arsenal to secure a greater share of the $293.9 billion worldwide smartphone market, but with no end to this legal row in sight and such litigation having little to no effect on current technology, will this decision have any effect on Apple’s bottom line?

The problem with this ongoing worldwide legal battle between Samsung and Apple is that there’s simply no global governing body to decide the fight once and for all, meaning that each decision made in a particular country or jurisdiction is often reversed or reassessed in the region next door. So for every victory that Samsung scores against Apple, Apple scores one right back, making this a pointless exercise for everyone…except the lawyers of course.

That said, while there will undoubtedly be another decision that goes Apple’s way in the very near future, it does look like Samsung has scored a major hit against Apple in the American market, blocking the import and sale for AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G. Granted these devices are all more than a year old, but they’re all still strong earners for Apple in the budget smartphone sector, and should the order be upheld, it’ll certainly be a blow to Apple’s revenue stream.

But in this ongoing patent to-and-fro, there’s no reason to think it will be upheld, as not only are such exclusion orders sent to President Barack Obama, who has 60 days to veto the decision before it takes effect, but Apple is already preparing its appeal. “We are disappointed that the commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal. Today’s decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said in a statement.

And that’s the real problem in all this, isn’t it? Despite the boldness of certain jurisdictions to impose punitive measures against these mobile giants for blatant patent infringements, the fact that every decision is appealed and contrary decisions in other jurisdictions are subsequently used as precedent, there really can’t be a winner, as neither side will gain anymore than it loses and again, as mentioned, nothing greater than zero sum will ever be achieved.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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