Samsung Makes Geometric Faux Pas
A jury in San Jose, California, has ruled that Samsung willfully infringed on Apple's patents and designs with its smartphones and tablet computers, leveling a judgment of $1.05 billion against Samsung. Basically, Apple complains that Samsung has copied the "look and feel" if its precious iProducts.
Back when he could do such a thing, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs decided that Android's form and function was a copy of his beloved iPhone's software, and he vowed to "go thermonuclear" against the rival operating system's developers.
Look and feel, form and function? Yes, Apple complains of the Samsung products' rectangular shape and rounded edges (along with the pinch-to-zoom gesture to magnify display images). Apple's attorneys steadfastly maintain these features confuse shoppers, who are too stupid to notice the difference between the word "Apple" and the word "Samsung" on the product's case.
Apparently, Apple believes it is allowed to patent geometry, although we'll bet Euclid and the ancients in the Middle East would be surprised.
Apple will try to parlay its home-court advantage over foreign-based companies by continuing to pursue patent infringement lawsuits against other manufacturers of Android handsets.
Did Samsung get "homered"? Well, judge for yourself: A South Korean court found that both Apple and Samsung had infringed on one another's patents, and that Apple had to pay Samsung $35,000, and Samsung had to pay Apple $22,000 ... somewhat less than the $1.05 billion U.S. judgment.
We understand patents and copyright and such, but Samsung is Apple's largest parts supplier, providing screens and memory chips for the iPhone and iPad, representing about a quarter of the value of the Apple products' parts.
Maybe Apple is channeling Jobs and is really, really irritated, and maybe, after a while, they could get parts elsewhere; but would you want to piss off a close business partner, when the whole matter likely could be solved without lawyer-fueled court chest-thumping? Maybe they could agree to trade the judgment for some free chips or a few phones or a wok or something.
Samsung, whose spokesfolk are careful to say their parts supply contract has no relation to the litigation, plans to appeal.
Meanwhile, Microsoft, which has only about five percent of the global phone software market, just smiled.