One year ago in April, the technology giants of the world engaged in a patent war – a constant onslaught over various patent infringement allegations.
The patent war between Samsung and Apple has lasted for over a year with Apple making the first move back in April of last year claiming that Samsung blatantly copied iOS devices as a whole. Apple accused Samsung of replicating the iPhone‘s and the iPad‘s general shape, UI and packaging with Samsung’s line of Galaxy tablets and smartphones. To counter this, Samsung counter-sued Apple in South Korea, Japan and Germany claiming that the Cupertino-based company infringed patents related to mobile-communications technologies.
Since then, the fight has extended to 10 countries and consists of at least an astonishing 50 lawsuits. Patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents has thankfully kept tabs on all of the lawsuits. He’s done an excellent job of compiling a list of all of the venues at which this “massively escalated, planet-spanning dispute” has spread to.
What’s interesting is that he believes the total number of lawsuits between the two companies will further escalate. He notes:
After an initial filing, lawsuits can be consolidated (which effectively happened to the first two lawsuits the parties filed against each other in California) or, which happened far more frequently, split up into multiple lawsuits by the courts. For example, German courts usually look at only one patent per litigation, and sometimes assign more than one case number per patent if there’s a delay with serving the complaint on one of two or more defendants. Also, these parties tend to appeal each and every decision, and the list below doesn’t contain cases before appeals courts.
There could also be another scenario: the dispute between the two companies could come to a resolution. After all, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his equal counterpart over at Samsung are scheduled to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference on May 21 and 22. Although they’re not forced by the court to make a settlement, there’s the slight possibility.
Additionally, Tim Cook was quoted saying he’d rather make amends than continue to fight during a conference call last week when Apple reported its Q2 2012 results; he didn’t specifically mention Samsung.
“I would highly prefer to settle than to battle. But it’s important that Apple not become the developer for the world. We need people to invent their own stuff.”
So will it end the year old patent war? Based on Samsung’s latest move to sue Apple for 8 more patents, we won’t count on it.