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Samsung v Apple Patent War

by Mhairi Steele

The Samsung v Apple patent dispute deepened this week with the release of the iPhone 4S.

Samsung and Apple have been locked in a patent battle for months now, fighting over who has infringed patents and intellectual property rights. Then, following the launch of the iPhone 4s, Samsung reignited the fire by claiming they would try and ban the release of the phone in France and Italy.

The South Korean company said that:

“Apple has continued to flagrantly violate our intellectual property rights and free-ride on our technology, and we will steadfastly protect our intellectual property… we are going into an aggressive stance”.

The Samsung v Apple war has been raging for so long now, and rears it boring head so often, that the words “Apple”, “Samsung”, “patent” and “infringement” trigger involuntary eye-rolling in tech bloggers and journalists. So let’s take at what has happened up to this point:

April

Apple accuses Samsung of ‘slavishly’ copying the design of the iPhone and the iPad
Samsung counter-sue by claiming that Apple breached 10 of Samsung’s patents and attempts to force Apple to release prototypes of their up-coming products

June

Apple bring the fight to Samsung’s home in South Korea, where they reportedly alleged Samsung’s Galaxy S was a copy of the iPhone 3 design

August

After a week of its release, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was removed from shops in Europe as Apple successfully upheld an injuction against the tablet
However, a week after the injunction was imposed, the ban was removed and the tablet could once again be purchased, except from Germany where the injunction remained

September

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 was removed from the Berlin trade show following a court order. Again this ban was a Germany-only ban (seeing a pattern here?).

October

Samsung looks to impose a ban on the iPhone 4S being released in France and Italy

The Samsung vs. Apple battle sparked a discussion within our team about whether patents were still applicable to modern technology. Many products within the industry are looking more and more familiar and are doing similar tasks.

The old patent system is widely acknowleged in tech communities as being broken. Therefore it is increasingly difficult to protect against your products and prove what is ‘unique’ and ‘exclusive’. We came to the decision that it is almost impossible to prove such a thing these days and that a new way of protecting a businesses rights may be needed to ensure that creators remain able to protect their innovations.

What do you think? What is the best way of protecting a company protecting their innovative ideas? Let us know in the comment section.

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