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Apple Vs. Android: A Brief Overview of Litigation

post Tuesday September 25, 2012

Apple iPhone; from FreeDigitalPhotos

Founded in 1976, Apple Inc. is a powerful force in both the personal computer and mobile device industry. When the Android operating system was unveiled in 2007, it posed a threat to the overwhelming market share  that Apple’s operating system had gained, and according to Steve Jobs was a “stolen product”, he also declared a “thermonuclear war” on the Android system and said that he would be willing to spend every last dollar of Apple to bring down Android.

Apple Inc. has has certainly kept their word.  They have routinely brought suit against Android. In 2010, Apple initially filed a complaint to the US District Court and with the US International Trade Commission for alleged infringement of 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone user interface, underlying architecture and hardware by Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC Corporation.  Apple was then attacked by Motorola Mobility for using its 18 of its US patents, followed by another attack on the validity and relevance of 12 Apple patents. Apple responded by fighting back with 6 of its own patents none of which were related to the 12 patents that had been attacked by Motorola. This brawl escalated to a litigation involving 24 Apple patents and 18 Motorola patents spanning three US District Courts. Apple also sued Motorola in Germany for infringing on their “bounce-back list” patent allows the user to “move documents over the screen and allow bouncing back to the centre following the release of their fingers” Motorola has been found guilty for infringing on the patent and this could lead to banning the Motorola products form the German market.

Another target on Apple’s list of Android users is Samsung. But in this case, it gets a bit more complicated as Apple and Samsung share a multifaceted relationship with one another. Samsung Inc produces Apple’s A4 chip, a customer system-on-a-chip that integrates ARM processor core, graphics, operating system and memory controller. This A4 and A5 chip was used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad products, making Samsung a key supplier. However with the release of the Samsung Galaxy S handset and the Galaxy Tablet using Android technology, it became one of Apple’s biggest competitors whom also allegedly copied Apple. So in 2011, Apple sued Samsung for infringement of various utility and design patents, trade dress and trademarks by a range of products including Samsung smartphones and tablets. On Friday August 24th, the US jury ruled in favor of Apple, demanding $1 billion in damaged from Samsung.

When will these lawsuits come to an end? Never, or so it seems.
Apple has some more lawsuits up its sleeve and Samsung is planning on suing Apple on the LTE technology used in the iPhone 5.

Source: IAM Magazine, The Inquirer, ZD net

Image courtesy of: FreeDigitalPhotos


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