Did Samsung Really copy Apple and the Patent Trolling Saga!

Note: This editorial was originally published on Fommy.com’s Blog – the author happens to be the editor of Fommy.com’s Blog.

The tech would has been buzzing with Apple versus Samsung news, analysis and insights since forever now, there are jokes out there – there are fanboys from both ends fighting it out on the inter-webs trying to prove the other wrong, that’s mostly the adrenaline rush associated with their loyalties towards either Apple or Samsung (or Android more holistically speaking). At the end of the day, fans will say what they wish to, analysts will keep predicting what they believe to be the consequences – but, the bottom line is the real loser in this battle is not Samsung, neither is it Apple – it’s is technology which looses, the word “innovation” has been taken for granted in this battle, greed, dirty politics and insecurities by both the companies on either ends is taking too much out of innovation and technological evolution – as we knew it!

Back in the days, when there was no Android and there was no iPhone  – what we had in the name of smartphones were – BlackBerrys, DoPods and Palm Pres, yes those were the days!

In the Apple versus Samsung saga – all we have seen is a company (Apple, do’h) legally rightfully defending their patents – which happen to be the most obscure ones, one can think of – filing those patents was a moral low or a dirty trick, but more so the American Patent System granting those patents was even worse! Now that the said company has won the suit – it can only lead to worse patents and suffocation of technology in the future! From the proceedings it was very apparent that Apple had no intentions and interest in sharing their so called “innovations” with any of it’s rivals with any sort of licensing, not even at a price which could earn them more than what their iOS devices do – that is what is something which points towards a dark future of technology – an era we are heading towards where nobody wants to share anything with anyone, not even at a price. Think of it, if Martin Cooper had not let anyone use his innovation! What was his innovation? The bloody cellphone! Cooper’s invention was patented on October 17, 1973. the first phone call was made by Cooper months before he applied for the patent, on April 3, 1973. He made the call to Dr. Joel Engel, a researcher at AT&T’s Bell Labs. Cooper was working at Motorola at the time, and the call was made with several media people present. If Martin had done an Apple back then, Apple wouldn’t be the most valuable company today!

In 2012, it’s not about creating new – it’s more about having the best patent arsenal! Look at Google, why did they buy Motorola? It’s not that Motorola was a leader when it comes to selling phones, it hardly sells any! Google did not buy Motorola, they just bought an immense and elaborate patent arsenal – to defend themselves in potential suits, perhaps if Apple goes nasty on them!

To get a realistic picture here is the list of patents which were judged to be infringed by Samsung – or Judge Lucy Koh and her jury members think so!

’163

Enlarging documents by tapping the screen

’381

‘Bounce-back’ feature when scrolling beyond the edge of a page

’915

Distinguishes between single-touch and multi-touch gestures

’087

Ornamental design of the iPhone (white color)

’305

Rounded square icons on interface

’677

Ornamental design of the iPhone (black color)

’889

Relates to the industrial design of a tablet computer.

Sad to see such judgements, but before we go all shoots on Apple – Samsung is not far behind – with the Galaxy S III, they patented the Pebble Blue color! Yes, according to Samsung and the American Patent System – it’s Samsung which invented the color blue!

If we closely look at innovation per se, I would say that every company does have a right to defend something unique to them, but not claim everything to be their innovation – today Samsung has risen from a radio maker to the bestseller in display, mobile phones and supply chain technologies! $1.05 Billion is not what will hurt them, they earn a lot of money, this is just a small fraction – what will hurt them is the “copycat” tag. Strictly speaking based on my opinions, Samsung’s latest generation of phones do look and feel a lot like iPhone, of course baring the Galaxy S3  – but what’s wrong with that? Nothing.

Samsung’s strategy was to build something similar to another company’s product but to make it a lot better with it’s own touch. When it did that, the market was flooded with a wide range of models that were constantly updated with gigantic improvements at a speed its rivals found hard to keep up with — a strategy best illustrated by its smartphone business.

Samsung is appealing the U.S. verdict, which it called “a loss for the American consumer.” – not only it’s a loss for the U.S. consumer it’s an unwanted, unneeded and a wasteful distraction for the community, industry and the consumers – the same resources can be spent on research and development of much better device, with some real innovation in them – something to leap into the future and not into the courtrooms across the world!

Here is hoping for a better tomorrow and courtroom free innovation, till then I can only wish Apple, Samsung and their legal teams all the luck!

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