Apple's Lawyers Take Quest to Kill Android to Japan
September 8, 2011 10:15 AM
The Galaxy S (pictured) is outselling Apple's iPhone in Japan, but Apple hopes to change that by banning its competitor from the market.
(Source: Japan Now)
Those tricky devils! Somehow movie makers traveled back in time 37 years to infringe upon Apple's patented iPad design, which it fantasized in 2005, finally figuring out how to produce it commercially five years later.
Samsung is outselling Apple, but Apple hopes lawyers will succeed in restricting market selection
Apple, Inc. (
) has a very big problem. It can't compete with the superior hardware and broader selection of devices running Google Inc.'s
) Android operating system
. But its large legal staff has devised a clever solution -- it will try to
kill Android in court
I. In the Court of the Rising Sun
Apple's quest to remove its competitor from the market has now taken it to the "Land of the Rising Sun", Japan. In Japan, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, top Android handset maker Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (
) Galaxy S smartphone has been outselling Apple's iPhone. But Apple's lawyers have a plot to change that situation.
late yesterday that a couple weeks back Apple filed yet another lawsuit against Samsung, this time seeking to ban Japanese sales of the company's bestselling Galaxy S and
Galaxy S II smartphones
, as well as the new
Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet
The new Japanese suit, filed Aug. 23, makes the familiar accusation that Samsung "slavishly" copied Apple's smart phones and tablets. It seeks 100 million yen ($1.3M USD) in damages and a complete sales ban.
Apple initiated the court battle, suing Samsung in multiple courts in the U.S., Australia, South Korea, and Europe. Samsung responded by
in these regions. It was in fact Samsung who struck first in Japan, filing suit in April. Samsung is looking to fight fire with fire and is asking for a ban on iPhone and iPad sales.
Sources we've spoken to close to Samsung indicate that the device maker does not truly wish to restrict consumers selection, rather they hope that a potential sales ban would force Apple to drop its questionable lawsuits out of self-interest and let consumers decide which company's products are victorious.
II. Does Apple Own the Exclusive Right to Make Smart Phones and Tablets?
Apple claims to own exclusive rights to produce any modern smartphone or tablet, claiming ownership of all multi-touch in mobile devices and all thin, rectangular minimalist mobile device designs.
Apple has been granted design patents in many regions that appear to grant it sweeping ownership of minimalist tablet designs. In short the patents declare Apple to own exclusive rights to making thin rectangular tablets with a minimalist single (homescreen) button design.
the design patent by the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
in 2005. Apple would not be able to produce its vision commercially until
five years later in 2010
Similarly, Apple claims to own exclusive rights to develop multi-touch devices. It was
granted a patent on multi-touch
in mobile devices, despite the fact that Myron Krueger and the University of Toronto developed and published papers on virtually equivalent technology
almost 25 years prior
to Apple producing its
first multi-touch device
III. Outlook for Apple's Plot is Mixed
Apple's plans may be in jeopardy given a recent Netherlands court ruling, the first major decision in the case. The judge in that case rejected Apple's claims of owning exclusive rights to the tablet design and multi-touch as ridiculous. He wrote, "There was no violation by Samsung on any of Apple's design or copyright..."
The judge essentially handed Samsung a victory, declaring that it only infringed on one minor patent that dealt with a feature in Android's Gallery application. The verdict cleared Samsung to continue sales in Netherlands, much to Apple's chagrin.
Apple has succeed in securing temporary sales bans
. The Australian case will be decided September 26, while the German case should be decided tomorrow, September 9.
If Apple can't topple Android's top handset and tablet makers with lawsuits its hopes of being the market's top player look bleak. Reports indicate that Android is
outselling Apple nearly 5-to-2 globally
, a gap which is widening with every passing month.
Meanwhile Apple has seen its tablet market share plunge from approximately 94 percent to 61 percent in a year, while Android has
risen from 3 percent to 30 percent
over the same period. Most expect Android to soon pass Apple in tablet market share as Apple continues to stick to limited product selection (just a single product in the tablet market, in fact) and a sluggish release schedule (one new design per year).
"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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