The companies are huge, and the stakes are equally high. Today marks the kickoff of the US patent dispute case between Apple and Samsung, with each company leveling claims against the other with billions of dollars to be potentially awarded to the victor. The companies are preparing to enter a serious battle over patent issues, and to date have not been able to agree on even issues as simple as which company should be the defendant in the case, suggesting a hard-fought road ahead.
While there are several issues that will be considered in the San Jose court over the next several weeks, the issues are succinctly captured in each company’s respective opening lines in their court briefings (via Fortune):
Apple - “Samsung is on trial because it made a deliberate decision to copy Apple’s iPhone and iPad.”
Samsung - “In this lawsuit, Apple seeks to stifle legitimate competition and limit consumer choice to maintain its historically exorbitant profits.”
Apple is taking issue with Samsung’s Galaxy S, S II, and Tab 10.1 devices, arguing that these devices are more or less blatant copies of Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The Galaxy S III and Galaxy Nexus are not involved in the current case, though are part of a separate case coming to trial later this year. Samsung has argued in recent weeks that Apple has a “black rectangle problem,” suggesting that patents held by the Cupertino company are invalid because they are too broad. After all, most devices being released to the market today are black, rectangular slabs, with only minor differentiation characteristics.
Samsung may have some credibility here, as the UK has recently ruled in favor of Samsung, claiming the Galaxy Tab did not copy the iPad. In the U.S., however, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 faces a temporary injunction pending the outcome of the case.
Of course, that’s just the basics of the issues at hand, and there are several patents and issues that will be at play in the courtroom. Several sites have put together exhaustive overviews of all the issues, and as the case goes to trial this morning, we suggest you read through the following in-depth guides in order to get up to speed on the underlying issues.
The courtroom battle between the two companies is expected to go on for several weeks, closing perhaps as early as late August. We’ll have our eyes glued to San Jose as the case plays out in coming weeks and will keep you up to date as the trial progresses.