The Apple versus Samsung case has been on the tongues of and minds of the world.
News agencies, lawyers, inventors, computer geeks, consumers and businesses are all gabbing about what this case means. What will be the ramifications after the appeals have finalized, and the dust settles? Will intellectual property be protected? Will innovation continue to stun the world? Will consumers pay the price for this tech war? What are the boundaries of inventions?
Not surprisingly, there are at least ten different answers for each of these questions depending on what expert is answering the question.
The consensus as to what the future of technology will hold is far from being reached. When these cases world wide have finished throwing money, legal arguments and death looks at one another we may find the truth. This paper will attempt to look at what Intellectual Property is, what the Apple vs. Samsung is about, and what it will mean for not only the United States of America, but also the rest of the world. The phrase intellectual property refers to the bundle of legal rights that arise from the creative genius of the human mind… IP rights protect one’s ownership interest in intangible objects, such as the idea behind an invention, the music score for a Broadway play and the name or logo used to brand a product. ” (Peterson 2012) Intellectual Property is not a new idea. It has been around for at lease 1500 hundred years. “One of the first known references to intellectual property protection dates from 500 B.
C. E. when chefs in the Greek colony of Sybaris were granted year-long monopolies for creating particular culinary delights… From Roman times to the birth of the Florentine Republic, however, there were many franchises, privileges, and royal favors granted surrounding the rights to intellectual works. ” (Moore 2011) As far as scholars can determine, there weren’t any formal institutions protecting intellectual property, only the informal examples outlined above. One of the first statutes recognizing the rights of authors and inventors to their intellectual efforts was issued by the Republic of Florence in 1421.
This statute built in an incentive mechanism, which is a prominent aspect of intellectual property protection of common law states today. The United States upon the creation of its colonies and its constitution instituted a federal law protecting intellectual property modeled after the English System. There are arguments both for and against protecting intellectual property. Those who argue for it claim that those who create are justified in maintaining the rights to both their labor and merit. Without intellectual property rights, social progress and innovation would flounder.
Rights to intellectual property provide incentives to move us forward economically. There are others who argue that assert that it is inconsistent with the commitment of our country to freedom of thought and speech. It maintains that intellectual property restricts the flow and expression of ideas, holding us back as a society. Is denying access to society fair especially when it is for the greater good? On the whole, however, the merits and debates supporting intellectual property win out over the dissenters. For the most part, it is agreed upon that protection of IP foster a competitive marketplace by encouraging disclosure of innovation.
This disclosure, however, protects companies and individuals for a designated period of time, but allows others to build and improve upon prior innovation. This incentive mechanism forces creative individuals to share their genius with society which in turn endorses evolutions and new developments and without these benefits provided by IP protection, the marketplace would not operate as effectively. “Without enforcement of these rights in the law, it would be difficult for society to prosper and grow. ” (Peterson 2012) There are four main types of intellectual property protected under U.
S. law; patents, trademarks, trade-secrets and copyrights. The Apple vs. Samsung case, although extremely complicated and convoluted mainly covers patents. Patents are intended to stop others from making, using, selling or offering for sale a product that is described in the patent claim. It gives the patent owner the exclusive right. “It is important to note that a patent does not give the patent owner the right to exploit the patented invention himself. The patent owner has only the “exclusive right” to stop others from doing so. ” (Peterson 2012) Much of what we in the U.
S. have been hearing about is the case decided in California. However, this technology war is not exclusive to America. In fact, there are cases in at least ten countries worldwide. The reason for this being, that intellectual property protections are not uniform. When an individual or a company applies for a patent within the U. S. , the protection only extends to the borders. Once a company stretches past the borders of The States, and goes global, it must apply for intellectual protection in each country it is attempting to sell within. “There is often no consensus ithin countries on the appropriate approach and when the economic interests of different nations may dictate a different balancing of interests in the IPR law. ” (Wallerstein, Schoen ; Mogee, 1993) Although there are calls to make intellectual property rights uniform, each country has their own interests to protect, and has their own ideas about the extent of protecting intellectual properties. The U. S. is one of the strictest supporters of intellectual property rights, and for that reason, a jury of nine has ruled in favor of Apple to the tune of $1. 05 billion. Samsung has appealed, however, so the battle is far from over.
Apple, the second largest seller of smartphones is in ongoing litigation with Samsung, the largest seller of smartphones about seven distinct patents. These patents covered everything from the “pinch and zoom” to “bounceback” effect seen when scrolling. “There are two types of patents at stake: utility patents, which control the features a phone or tablet can have, and design patents, which cover how they look. ” (Bosker ; Grandoni , 2012) According to The Verge, Apple’s final arguments went as follows,”Steve Jobs shocked the world” with the iPhone, changing the trajectory of the mobile industry.
He framed Samsung, however, as a company with a stagnant line-up of products that faced faltering sales after the introduction of Apple’s device. Samsung’s solution? A three-month dash to design what would become the original Galaxy S. “In those three months Samsung was able to copy and emulate” the “world’s most successful product,” he said. “They have spent a billion dollars mimicking our designs and holding it out to the world so the Apple design is no longer seen as unique. It took Apple five years to create this revolution, and Samsung took three months to copy it.
That’s truth, and that’s simple, clear, and undisputed. ” (Bishop 2012) Samsung argued that Apple was trying keep all competitors out of the game unfairly. One of Apple’s major claims was that the products were so alike, that customers were mistakenly purchasing Samsung’s smart phones thinking that they were iPhones. But Samsung’s closing attorney claimed that this customer confusion was folly. “The fact is consumers make choices, not mistakes… there’s no deception, there’s no confusion, and Apple has no credible evidence of it. ” Apple, he said, thinks it’s “entitled to ave a monopoly on a rounded rectangle with a touchscreen. ” (Bishop 2012) Samsung has claimed that their technology is altogether different and has in turn sued Apple for patent infringements. The American jury in the end, found Samsung guilty of willfully violating three of the utility patents, and six of the seven on trial. What Apple could not convince the jury of was that Samsung had violated a patent on the physical design of the iPad. However, it was able to skillfully and successfully defend its claim to the rectangular rounded edges and rounded backs that was the original look of the iPhone previous to the iPhone 4.
The case was less about the money, and more about setting an example. Apple’s message to world was that it’s innovations couldn’t just be copied without consequences and that a fair marketplace was one where competitors competed with new inventive products not reconstructed ones. The implications of this case are intricate, and knotty but that doesn’t stop the speculation from going rampant. Wall street reacted to the news by increasing the price of Apple’s shares and decreasing the prices of Google and Samsung’s shares.
One thing that is clear, the verdict marked a victory for Apple on several different levels, not only did it solidify it’s iron grip on the majority of it’s features, but it also sent a warning shot to it competitors to back off before Apple comes after them as well. Although the damages Samsung owes Apple is a large sum, most of Samsung’s devices that were found to infringe upon Apple’s patents are older models, and, its important to note that Samsung’s current flagship phone, the Galaxy S III, was not included in the case.