Apple vs. Samsung: The Great Debate

In April 2011, Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics, a South Korean company and one of its biggest competitors, claiming that its new Galaxy line of smart phones and tablets infringed seven of the patents that covered Apple’s iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

Samsung, in its turn, countersued, contending that Apple had infringed several of Samsung’s patents that covered different components of wireless software.

More than a year later, after countless greatly litigious court cases  and proceedings, as well as a trial that began in the end of July, the jury took less than three days to come to a conclusion on Friday, August 24th; the verdict was in Apple’s favor, and Apple was to be awarded nearly $1.05 billion by Samsung as compensation.

During the legal proceedings, Apple’s defense team asserted that Samsung had not only violated certain patents but had also ripped off several  unique design features from Apple’s iPhones and iPads, such as “pinch-to-zoom” and “bounce back”.

Samsung, on the other hand, responded with the argument that Apple had no right to maintain a monopoly on design features that were not revolutionary, and also endeavored to prove that Apple’s mobile devices use certain features developed by Samsung, such as the technology used to locate photos in an album and the process used to email photos.

Samsung also attempted to prove that Apple’s patents were null and void by bringing up developments in technology that had existed before Apple claimed to have invented such technology.

Before the verdict was announced, the court also enforced pretrial preliminary injunctions (bans, in simple language) against Samsung, illegalizing the sale of the Galaxy Nexus phone and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States. Now, after the verdict has been declared, Apple is seeking bans on eight different Samsung smart phones: Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 T-Mobile, Galaxy S2 AT&T, and Galaxy S2 Epic 4G.

A hearing has been scheduled for September 20th to discuss this demand, along with Apple’s request to triple the value of the awarded compensation to $3.15 billion. Samsung stated that it does plan to appeal to a higher court (it can do so twice, to the appellate court and then to the Supreme Court of the United States).

During the closing arguments of the case, Apple’s team claimed that Samsung copied Apple’s designs after it realized that it could not compete with Apple, and says that the entire lawsuit was about sending out a message that stealing isn’t right. Samsung, on the other hand, claimed that a verdict in favor of Apple would harshly suppress market competition and would also unfairly reduce the choices available to consumers.

People’s Reactions & Predictions:

Many experts agree that the ruling is ultimately beneficial to consumers as well as to the advancement of technology, since Samsung, along with other tech companies, will be forced to be more innovative and creative when developing and releasing new products.

Also, practically all of the models that are banned or may be banned are fairly old and so, Samsung’s sales will not be heavily affected. As a matter of fact, Forbes magazine recently discovered that the entire case has so far actually boosted sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S III phone. After all, Apple has basically been advertising the fact that Samsung is selling phones similar to and cheaper than iPhones—a crucial marketing mistake!

Other experts, especially those with backgrounds in society and culture, say that since Apple fought and won the case in a U.S. court, South Koreans may feel that the outcome is unfair, thus alienating them from Apple products all together—this would affect Apple very negatively, as Apple products have previously been extremely popular in South Korea.

Many consumers are disappointed with the verdict, not only because they support Samsung’s claim that the ruling suppresses competition and reduces choice, but also because according to many, the Samsung phones provided an “iPhone-like experience” for much, much lower prices.


While the matter of who is right and who is wrong in this situation is highly contentious, the one thing that almost all informed people agree on is this: it is not difficult to disapprove of the principles that led Apple to sue and the attitude that it has towards Samsung and other companies in general.

Design is not equal to invention. While it is true that Apple has produced many revolutionary inventions, design features are but small aspects of the big picture. Instead of taking Samsung to court, Apple could merely have been flattered and then “moved on”.

Ultimately, all technological developments belong and contribute to the field of science; there is no mine or yours when it comes to ideas and to progress. Apple, one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world, should realize and accept that.

Apple, it’s time to move on.

Ayushi Vig

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