IN WHAT COULD be a rare sign of sanity in the increasingly insane world of corporate legal shenanigans, both Apple AND Samsung have been banned from selling their gear in South Korea, after a court ruled that they both infringed on each other’s patents on mobile devices.
This is the legal equivalent of “you’ve both been very naughty, now go to your rooms”. And you know what, I kind of like it.
It’s pretty old news that both firms are locked in a bitter patent battle that could ultimately determine which brand gets supremacy of the global smartphone market, but this ruling may give both parties pause for thought. LG and assorted other brands must be pretty stoked.
The Seoul Central District Court ordered that Apple remove the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2 from store shelves in South Korea, ruling that these products infringed on two of Samsung’s telecommunications patents. The smile on Samsung’s mug was quickly erased when the judge also ruled that Samsung had infringed on one of Apple’s screen bounce-back ability patents and banned sales of the Galaxy S2 and other products in South Korea.
This might not be terribly good news if you happen to hold shares in either company, but ultimately it is probably good news for consumers (who’ll no doubt end up wearing the massive legal costs of this long winded bun-fight in the form of RRP mark ups on both Samsung and Apple kit.)
It could also be argued that the copying of features from a competitors product stifles innovation, and that this is definitely a bad thing; however, there is an equally compelling argument that goes something along the lines of not only is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, but that it also fuels innovation in subsequent products that would otherwise be stiffed.
Either way the sad reality is that hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in legal battles that appear to achieve very little (apart from giving the media some headlines). Arguably the only real winners out of this sad state of affairs has been the lawyers. Even sadder still, the money being paid to them ultimately comes from the pockets of us, the consumer.
So how about it, Apple and Samsung, can you both play nice before another judge rules you need time out again? Because as a customer I am sick and tired of seeing litigation bullshit rather than actual innovation. PAT PILCHER