The rivalry gets real: Apple to sue Samsung for $2 billion for ‘copying iPhone features’ and drag Google to the courtroom
Apple will this week seek more than $2 billion (Dh7.34 billion) in damages from Samsung for copying features of its iPhone, as Google makes its first appearance in the US courtroom battle between the smartphone rivals.
The latest fixture in the long-running patent fight will see the US and South Korean technology companies go head-to-head before a jury in the same courtroom in San Jose, California, that awarded $1 billion in damages against Samsung in 2012.
Many of the companies’ arguments will probably be repeated despite the different patents and smartphones at issue, with several of the same experts and witnesses presenting evidence, including Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller.
However, in a departure from the previous case, Samsung will also call on the engineers behind Google’s Android operating system, used by it most popular smartphones.
Though Google, which does not generate any revenue directly from Android, is not a defendant, Samsung’s legal team hopes that bringing another Silicon Valley company to aid its defence will reduce a perceived “home turf” advantage for Apple.
Google executives, including Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice-president of engineering for Android, are expected to describe how they created the software that powered more than three quarters of all smartphones sold last year, independently of Apple’s iPhone development.
Samsung’s legal tactic mimics Apple’s lyrical retelling of the “revolutionary” iPhone’s creation by its late founder Steve Jobs at the 2012 trial.
The first verdict’s damages have already been reduced to $929 million after a partial retrial last year, when Apple argued that awarding a stiff penalty was vital to protecting Californian innovation and jobs.
In a counter suit, Samsung is asserting just two utility patents, which cover wireless video transmission it argues is vital to Apple’s FaceTime feature and a method for organising digital photos.
Despite Samsung’s large intellectual property portfolio, Apple’s is likely to leverage the fact that it bought in patents developed elsewhere. Samsung is expected to counter that Apple, Google and other innovators also acquire patents in the market.
The overarching patent battle between Apple and Samsung shows no sign of slowing, after mediation talks failed yet again ahead of the trial.
However, despite its damages wins, Apple is yet to succeed in barring Samsung from selling its smartphones in the US, nor has it collected any damages, as legal fees mount into the tens or even hundreds of millions.
Meanwhile, in a separate legal battle for Apple, a judge on Friday granted class-action status to individuals seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for the iPad maker’s alleged ebook price fixing.
Apple is already appealing Judge Denise Cote’s ruling in New York last year that it colluded with publishers to raise ebook prices.
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