With emerging mobile technologies and rapid growth in users of smartphones, there have been a lot of legal issues involved between the mobile phone producers. Standards are being set and patents are being registered by the producers to keep their market upright. These patents are registered mainly to monitor and implement the means to increase the number of consumers. This article will examine how these legal issues affect the end users and also about the legal issues which are being brought to the court. The article also discusses the implications of the current lack of specificity of the patents and suggests refinement of patents in terms of narrow versus broad inclusiveness.
The smartphone market has taken a giant leap in the last decade with major markets emerging every day. The markets do have their own patent and copyright to keep their work intact from the other manufacturers. The legal issues binding to such patents are also complicated. These patents are directly connected to the profits and also market value. They are considered to be valuable and serve as the counter weight for the manufacturers in terms of the market place and to keep a competitive balance in the market. The author in the article tries to understand the legal battle between Apple and Samsung on various patents they use on their phone. Apple on one hand claims that Android market has been designed to copy iphones design and strategy whereas Samsung replies saying that familiar product design doesn’t mean imitation. This battles has started when Samsung launched the galaxy series.
The legal battle mainly started with patent issues when Samsung went for Android market for their phones. The legal issues went public and familiar when Samsung was asked to pay $1.05 billion in damages as it acted wilfully in violating the patent rights. This also went to a stage where the Samsung’s key phones and tablets may be banned for sales and the world’s biggest technology provider has come to a stand- still with their four year low on market value after the verdict the US jury. Samsung has come to stage overturn the decision with the patent battles come to an end but it always seems like a fake promise to keep the competitive market balance in mind for the smart phones.
While Samsung believes that the design and feature of Apple should not be allowed to claim patent whereas Apple strongly believes that its design and features are its main market value and consider them as its intellectual property. More violations from Samsung’s end in patents have strengthened the case towards apple. These cases between Apple and Samsung have been spread to almost all the countries where they have their end consumers. Samsung being the main component supplier for Apple should have solved these issues amicably out of the court but failed to do so.
The end customers are put in a question always whether to go for Samsung products or Apple products keeping in mind the legal issues these two companies have. The product support also went to a question mark because of the pending legal cases in the court. Most of the applications in both the phones are now in a question mark because of the pending patent rights. Both Apple and Samsung phone users are getting a software update in which many of the features goes for redesigning and certain legal issues goes missing. The functionality of the phone remain the same but the patent suits won goes for upgradation. Because of these copying acts of Samsung, Apple have won 1 billion for damages and that is not all it might have negative impacts on the phones already released.
The android market which is having a market stake of 60 to 70 percent will lose some key functionality and also some specific features. This could also end up Samsung in redesigning and changing the features in the phones which they have already released in the market. The end customers are also in the queue up whether the battle for the smartphones will affect the functionality of the product they have bought in the market. With android markets being at stake it is hugely a question mark for Samsung to depend on such market which is highly competitive. Apple has shown the world that Samsung has copied the design and features of iphone. Apple in turn is trying the curb the android market which proves to be very competitive to the Iphone market. Apple tries to curb the manufacturers who are attached to Android market for which HTC legal cases and Samsung legal cases are a better example.
Apple is tactically using its own method to slow down the android market by attacking the companies making android devices While the prospects of losing so many design and features to Apple it could just be a platform for android to try something new. This could be a push ahead move for android as they will try new things from now on and will not act as a shadow to ios. By introducing Android 4.0 Google is trying to improvise and create a new unique operating system to support the android making companies. Since the android phones no more resemble a iphone in the market, it could be a boost to sell the new model phones in the market. The legal cases could have favoured Apple but the sales and the market value is favouring Samsung. The cases have favoured Apple but if the customer have to go away from old hat and needs a good change they have to go for a new smartphones which are using android operating system.
The industry experts reckon that the android markets would boom after the complex decision from the jury come up as they conclude that the phones will have a new look and features which will attract the customers more than before. The market share of android making phones are also expected to rise with their new design and feature. The end customers are given a new glimpse of phones which is not a shadow or imitation of iphone with improved functionality and features. It gets better with wacky new designs for the customers and is proving to be a good idea for the manufacturers to try new things and new features on the phone. The law suits by apple in one form have helped the end customer to get new design and new features. This can be put in other words that there are now two different smart phones available which has different designs to excite the customer.
1. Dan Levine & Purnima gupta (2012) Reuters, 27 August [online] Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/27/us-apple-samsung-legal-idUSBRE87Q02K20120827 (Accessed on 13 December 2012) 2.