back to article Samsung-Apple patent lawsuit tally hits 21, and counting

The legal activity around Android continues to mount, with the chief antagonists - Samsung and Apple - increasing their lawsuit tally to 21. And another may follow soon, as Samsung threatens to sue to block sales of the iPhone 5 as soon as it launches, at least in its home country of Korea. Let's face it, this is relevant to …


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  1. SynicNZ

    Let's face up to the real reason Apple wants control

    Because they want it BACK.

    They had it with the ipod. Android mean you don't use your ipod (well I don't) and I don't use itunes anymore.

    Apple gets no more money from me and since I got an Android phone I use no apple products.

    They just want my money and control of me again.

    1. Miek

      I have to say that I too have a nice iPaperWeight that has been reduced to such by a rather agreeable Samsung Galaxy SII and yes, they totally are thinner than an iPhone 4.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I hate fruity fanbois as much as anyone, and I love my SGS but

        you got to admit KIES is almost as awful as iTunes.

    2. The Brave Sir Robin

      My iPod has been gathering dust since I got my Android phone. Always hated the iTunes program. Glad to be rid of it TBH.

  2. Steve ten Have
    Paris Hilton


    Can someone just put Samsung and Apple into a cage fighting ring, give them handbags and let them sort it out between them!

    This is doing nothing but hurt the consumer - and you know I don't care who started it... someone needs to get in there and start banging heads together!

  3. Volker Hett

    TV and Video

    How many patents and copyrights might Microsoft have in this realm? They tried for years to get a foothold in media distribution.

    Penguin, for obvious reasons.

  4. gort

    "Google retorts that the 12 code files were copied 'de minimis' – any changes are hardly noticeable." No, Google's argument of 'de minimis' in this context was that the portion of the work copied - 12 files out of thousands, accidentally copied and not used in the product - was not significant and therefore not actionable. The judge turned this down because Google hadn't shown whether in making this comparison they should be using the whole Java platform, or considering each file as a separate work.

    Also it was not just the filenames that were found not to be protected by copyright in this judgement, it was package, class and method names as well.

  5. Joseph Lord

    Necessary patents must be FRAND

    Surely Samsung took part in the standardisation activities for mobile/WIMAX/LTE and must have committed to offering their necessary patents on (Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) FRAND or at least RAND basis. While they could still collect royalties on these I don't see how they could prevent Apple getting a license on the same terms as anyone else so I don't see that they could really get injunctions based on them.

    This whole patent mess could potentially add $50 or more to most smartphones by the time it plays out fully which is bad for everyone except those collecting.

    I don't really blame the players so much as the game the people who created it (government). In fact the ridiculous mess it is turning into could be the best thing for fixing the patent system because over the next 18 months I think it is likely to become clear how broken and expensive it is has become which has been hidden over the past couple of decades by massive cross licensing and restraint of the players for fear of retaliation. Now it seems to have reached the stage where everyone is opening fire and getting their retaliation in first.

    Its a good time to be a patent lawyer, I think there is an opportunity to get very well paid over the next couple of years.

    Icon not so much for "Eat this" but the failure of deterrence in a world of Mutually Assured Destruction!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents"

    So Samsung invented and patented the mobile phone and all associated technology did they? I think not!

    1. Thomas 4

      Well duh

      It was clearly Apple that invented them.

  7. lurker

    working both ways

    The patent lawsuit artillery coming to bear on Apple is also getting increasingly extensive.

    It will be interesting to see what happens if we reach the point of 'mutually assured destruction', where nobody can sell a smartphone without infringing on some patent or other.

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      We already know what happens

      1) Apple go out of the phone business.

      2) Everyone else stops suing everyone else.

    2. MacroRodent

      Everybody infringes

      "where nobody can sell a smartphone without infringing on some patent or other."

      It already is that way (and has been for a long time). The difference is that now these patent infringements are actively prosecuted by major players, whereas before such cases were very exceptional.

      It is a bumper harvest for IP lawyers. Everyone else will suffer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        So much for the generally held belief that, since everyone has some patent that may infringe, the big guys will protect the customers since they will amicably sort out the problem through cross-licencing deals (IIRC it was one of Microsoft's arguments against the use of by users Linux, since they did/do not participate in these cross-licencing agreements, hence being vulnerable to claims by patent holders).

        This is going to be a very long and very dirty fight, with everyone except the lawyers losing, as you rightly pointed out.

        I don't like popcorn, but one might have to make an exception in this case.

        May the whole USPTO debacle finally implode so that sanity can prevail.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why does the word MASTURBATION come to mind?

    1. DZ-Jay

      Probably because you are a sick freak.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Any news yet on whether Samsung will stop providing the displays (or whatever they make) for the iPhone?

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: Optional

      Yes. Apple has recently outsource materials to other manufacturers that they used to get from Samsung. Nothing lost there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Apple has recently outsource materials to other manufacturers that they used to get from Samsung. Nothing lost there.

        Apart from QA - WinTek's 20-25% contribution of iPhone5 displays are fscked by all accounts.

        Still, I suppose the nice thing about being Apple is you can ship them anyway, knowing only a small number of sub-standard handsets will be returned.

        Incidently - Samsung are still the biggest single supplier of components - and for RAM they required Apple pay in advance at last years market rates.

        Weird that everyone thinks Apple is holding the cards rather than backed against a wall.

  10. Shades

    If ever...

    ...we needed a prime example of why the US patent system is nothing more than a complete joke:

    "a system to identify phone numbers in an email in a way that lets the user dial or store that number"

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Apple has patented 'a system to identify phone numbers in an email in a way that lets the user dial or store that number'

    I am fairly sure my motorola Accompli 008 from around 2002 could do this and this was well before the iphone came out

    1. Wang N Staines

      so what?

      It may well be the case that prior arts exist but an Apple patent trumps all of that because black turtle necks are far more superior.

    2. Daniel B.

      So did most Blackberries, and my SonyEriccson (which predates the iPhone). Prior art should nullify this stupid patent.

    3. nyelvmark

      @ mark I 2

      >Apple has patented 'a system to identify phone numbers in an email in a way that lets the user dial or store that number'

      >>I am fairly sure my motorola Accompli 008 from around 2002 could do this and this was well before the iphone came out

      Motorola must have improved by 2002, then. I bought one of their phones in the 90s, thinking that they might be better than the Nokias than I'd used previously. I was quite happy with it until the first time I wanted to SMS a friend, and found that I had to manually enter the telephone number, despite the fact that it was stored on the SIM. In fact, you had to cancel writing the SMS, go to the contacts menu, look up the number, write it down on a nearby fag packet, then go back and write the sodding SMS all over again, because it wasn't saved when you exited the editor.

      I pissed myself laughing about this. Did Motorola designers never look at Nokia phones?

      Later, I worked for Motorola's mobile comms division on a design project and realised that there were no channels even for different departments to talk to one another, that the business had no focus, and was on a headlong rush to oblivion. I think it achieved that aim recently, no?

      I never bought another Motorola phone. As for "smartphones", I will buy one when I can see a use for it, if that's within my lifetime.

  12. Eponymous Cowherd


    you will be......

    Anyone else remember "Soap", the late 1970's sitcom? Every episode started with a précis of the story so far, and ended with the line "Confused? You won't be after this week's episode of Soap"

    This is a bit like that. Who's suing who? Who has an injunction against who? Who can't sell their products in Germany?

    What we need is an official El Reg "Who's suing who" wallchart to help us keep track of these shenanigans.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      "What we need is an official El Reg "Who's suing who" wallchart to help us keep track of these shenanigans."

      You know, that's a cool idea.

    2. Esskay

      A wallchart?

      What!? But I already thought of this! I said to myself "I need a visual device that can be used to illustrate a collection of related events in an amusing manner" a few years back.

      *gets lawyers*

      Mine's the one with the turtleneck and the business card from Scheister & Scheister

    3. vonBureck

      Playmobil, or it won't happen

      A wallchart is required, and must be based on Playmobil technology.

    4. Originone

      Who's suing who wall chart:

      It's what you needed.


    apple cant stop

    ok this is hurting samsung but apple may have just messed with the wrong company. before apple got on to the mobile waggon there was if not any sueing going on likes of samsung lg nokia sony ericsson etc. and suddenly when horrible apple comes on to the scene we have patents all over the place. personally i wish apple would just die cause its doing nothing but hurt and its trying to be a dominate company trying to be the only company where no other company gets a look in.

  14. jai

    what's a win?

    I wonder what Samsung are hoping to get from this.

    Best case scenario is Apple are banned from selling iPhones. But surely Apple's lawyer will see if it heads this way and Apple will either reach into it's big sack of cash to come to a settlement agreement with Samsung, or they'll be paying them 0.05c in every $10 of profit Apple makes from each iPhone sale. Eitherway, all Samsung benefit from is a small monetary income, which needs to be offset against the loss of revenue as Apple move to using other suppliers for iPhone parts. AND they still won't be shifting as many tablets as Apple. AND 72% of their phone customers will still be looking to switch to another brand.

    1. Quantum Leaper

      A good feeling?

      I think Samsung is now after revenge, more than anything.

      1. bean520

        Good PR

        They are being made out to be the company that stands up to the bully. Anyone clued up in all this is rooting for Samsung

  15. Horridbloke

    Samsung's big advantage...

    Apple produce about a dozen (omitting various configurations) consumer - targeted products. Samsung produce hundreds of consumer-oriented products plus hundreds of OEM components plus goodness knows what else. If it comes down to injunctions against products then Samsung's diversity offers huge protection. Would the loss of the Galaxy range hurt them? Not much. Would the loss of the IOS range hurt Apple? Yes. Apple will shortly realise this and stop acting like dicks.

  16. richard 7

    Dear God!

    Make it stop! Please.

  17. ScissorHands

    A pox on both their houses

    Let them both annihilate themselves. Why does Apple winning means lock-in? Are there no other options? Are you blind?

    I'll be still stroking my Nokia N9, thank you.

    1. bean520

      If Apple have their way, there won't be. Apple have already tried suing Nokia

      1. ScissorHands

        And settled. Paying 10 dollars for each iPhone to Nokia, if rumours are to be believed.

  18. Robert E A Harvey

    Paragraph 2?

    Does this article origintate elsewhere?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are apple shooting themselves in the foot ???

    Let's assume for a moment that apple wins in all current cases, and thereby has the sole worldwide rights to make rectangular objects with flat screens and corners you won't cut yourself on.

    It becomes legally impossible to make competing products - so apple is now a defacto monopoly (in every country on earth?).

    How long will it take the vested interests in world governments to act on that monopoly and have apple carved up into little, competing, chunks - whilst accidentally trousering all those surplus billions in "fines"?

  20. Gregza

    Free advertising

    They're both benefiting from all this hype. They both work very closely at perfecting the technology and are free riding the news media. What's the bet that nothing will come of these law suits ;-)

  21. Gregza

    Free riding the news media

    In my opinion this is an advertising stunt. They are in bed together with developing the technology.

    1. nyelvmark

      They are in bed together

      That's close to the truth. These IP battles are pretty important in terms of manufacturing cost, but it's a naive analyst who thinks that manufacturing cost is a significant factor in retail price, and an even more naive one who thinks that retail price is the primary driver of profit in a discretionary market sector (e.g. 'smartphones').

      This isn't about personal relations between the executives of the companies, it's just about the legal departments of the companies doing their jobs. Very few of these cases will come to judgement. All will be eventually settled. Apple will continue to make their products, and so will Samsung. The amount of money that Apple pays to Samsung each year (or vice-versa) may change, but this will make not one iota of difference to the end user.

      I can imagine a Samsung executive on the phone to an Apple executive right now, saying "Hi Jim! Are you coming to us this Christmas, or are we coming to you?"

  22. codemonkey

    Don't read this...

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again....yawn....what a fecking waste of human resources....imagine what good these companies could do if they were working for humanity and not just for their bottom line....all pulling in the same direction as opposed to fighting each other...a doubling, at least, of productive the mean the court battles...this is, after all, a natural system that must have been given to us by god....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: Don't read this

      Well, I run a small business (20 staff) and I tend to work for the bottom line.

      Am I doing wrong, should I work for the whole of humanity? Or should I work for my salary and my staff's salaries?

      Apple is a bit bigger but they appear to have staff etc.

      ... Get a grip ...



      PS I have a GT-I9100 and love it

      PPS It's an IT Consultancy

  23. TheresaJayne
    Paris Hilton

    this is getting silly, soon i will not be able to persue my trade (computer programmer) without infringing a million patents because I use Java and connect to a MySQL database and display records from it to the screen using a GUI interface....

    so will i be sued just because someone else had an idea to get records out of a database and display them on a screen - and then they patented it. GROW UP APPLE AND SAMSUNG AND GOOGLE AND ORACLE, cherish the competition you will make better products for it in the end...

    WIN WIN WIN WIN look at the consumer not your bottom line.

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