Some of the most notable consumer rivalries of our generation include household names such Nike vs. Adidas, Coke vs. Pepsi, Skippy vs. Jif. However, in an age that popularized video chat, the need for constant Internet access, and social networking, the stakes grew beyond merely which sneaker to buy or which peanut butter makes the best sandwich. In the past year, the world watched as tech giants Apple and Samsung battled it out on the international stage over alleged violations of intellectual property rights.
In the spring of 2011, Apple sued Samsung for allegedly violating various components of its smart phone and tablet technology. Apple brought claims of ‘patent infringement’, ‘false designation of origin’, ‘unfair competition’, and ‘trademark infringement’ to international courts. Different combinations of these claims were brought to trial in South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, England, Australia, and the United States.
Though experts say that Android phones are more customizable with Google or TouchWiz technology while the iPhone has a more aesthetic appeal coupled with Apple’s iOS operating system, the Aplle maintains that the technology actually violates patent law. The infringements on user interface, and style, claim Apple, specifically include Samsung’s tablet, Nexus 5, Epic 4g, Galaxy S and 4g, and Galaxy Tab. In response, Samsung counter-sued Apple in multiple countries for infringing on its patents for mobile communication.
Both companies attempted to impose preliminary injunctions on the sales of its products. In one case, the German court eventually banned the sale of Samsung’s tablet on the bases of copyright infringement. The sale of Samsung products was soon banned in other countries such as Holland. In South Korea, although the court ruled that Samsung was not guilty of copying Apple’s iPad and iPhone design, specific product sales from both companies were banned due to other infringements.
Samsung’s largest victory in this embroiled legal battle was in Japan. The Japanese court dismissed Apple’s claim that Samsung violated its patent on media synchronization. Apple made great strides when in August 2012, the Federal court in Northern California awarded Apple with over a billion dollars in damages.
Because lawyers did not negotiate the form of payment for the billion-dollar settlement, Samsung allegedly sent over 30 trucks filled with nickels as the first installment of their payment. (Techies with a sense of humor?)
According to a PCWorld review of the top smart phones on the market, Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus was ranked higher at number two than Apple’s iPhone at number seven. Apple sits at the top of United States smart phone sales while Samsung is the leader in the world mobile and smart phone market. Samsung has dominated the market with the release of a few new smart phones while iPhone sales have been sluggish in the second quarter. It would not be surprising to see a pick up in Apple sales in the near future since it has recently invited the media to an event in which it will announce the release of their new product, the iPhone 5.
Although it seems as if Apple has emerged as the victor, the world must wait for the many still pending cases across the globe. For now, this could be an opportune time to break previous technological loyalties that keep us glued to our beloved handheld touch screens and chrome keyboards. Dare I say it; it might not hurt to try other brands instead of waiting endlessly for our dear electronic executives to announce the release of the next models and software. We might just find ourselves pleasantly surprised.