The patent litigation between Samsung and Apple has taken on a life of its own. Seemingly not a week goes by when yet another lawsuit is added into an already complex web of suits and countersuits.
Apple thus far hasn’t commented much on their legal squabbles with Samsung, aside from prepared and perfunctory remarks regarding Samsung misappropriating their intellectual property.
Samsung executives and spokespeople, on the other hand, have been much more forthright and cavalier in the way they’ve addressed questions regarding their complex litigation with Apple.
In the most recent example of Samsung talking up a big game, Samsung’s head of global marketing for mobile communications, Lee Younghee, said that Samsung thus far has been quite passive in its approach to Apple’s patent lawsuit. Going forward, however, Younghee explained that Samsung is going to become a lot more aggressive.
In an interview with AP, Younghee said that Apple has been “free riding” on Samsung’s patented wireless technologies.
Complicating matters is the fact that Apple is one of Samsung’s biggest customers. Many of the components inside some Apple’s more popular products, from the iPhone to the iPad, come from Samsung. In 2010 alone, for example, Apple component orders accounted for nearly $7 billion of Samsung’s bottom line.
Younghee believes Samsung has been “quite respectful and also passive in a way” as a result of the company’s business ties with Apple. “However, we shouldn’t be … anymore,” Yonghee added.
Responding to Samsung’s latest comments, Apple spokesperson Steve Park stated:
It is no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.
It remains to be seen what a more aggressive stance from Samsung will look like, and indeed, we’re quite curious since Samsung already appears to be quite savvy with their legal shenanigans.
As for the mobile wireless patents Samsung accuses Apple of “free riding” on, the company recently sued Apple in the Netherlands seeking to ban the sale of the iPhone and iPad amid claims that they employ patented 3G technologies from Samsung.
That particular lawsuit, however, is questionable since the patents at issue belong to established 3G standards. As a result, Samsung is contractually obligated to license said patents out on reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms and cannot use them offensively. With that in mind, Apple claims that Samsung never even bothered to make said patents available for licensing.
This, however, isn’t all that surprising as Apple has complained about Samsung’s RAND violations previously. And just last week the WSJ even reported that Samsung’s efforts to sue Apple over RAND encumbered patents could merely be a ploy to confuse the courts into thinking that all patents are created equal.