Samsung Accused of Destroying Evidence, EU Bans Galaxy Tab 7.7
July 26, 2012 3:17 PM
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Apple demands $2.5B USD from Samsung -- plus complete sales ban on most of its smartphones/tablets
Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) is in the middle of a tough week in the courts.
I. Samsung Accused of Destroying Evidence
The South Korean gadgetmaker recently celebrated outselling arch-rival Apple, Inc. (
two-to-one in smartphone sales
in the recent quarter. Those strong sales are driven by the
Galaxy S III
, a smartphone whose hardware beats Apple's flagship
in nearly every category.
Apple is struggling to keep up in sales despite continuing to haul in record profits as the
world's most profitable tech company
. Apple attorney Josh Krevitt sums up his company's plight, remarking, "Samsung is always one step ahead, launching another product and another product."
But Apple has been relatively effective at looking to stifle its competitor in court.
In recent weeks it scored sales bans on the
Samsung Nexus smartphone
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet
to secure its most hoped for ban -- a
kill shot on the Galaxy S III
another small victory in its U.S. court battle, with
Judge Paul Grewal
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
(San Jose/San Francisco) granting an Apple request to give an "adverse jury instruction." The judge told the jury that Samsung destroyed evidence that might have been pertinent to the case.
Samsung is accused of destroying evidence. [Image Source: Office Products NYC]
Samsung's global electronics empire maintains a purpose-built central email network. That network automatically deletes emails after two weeks. That's run Samsung into trouble in past lawsuits, including a 2004 one where it received a similar sanction for the practice.
In the current case, the
U.S. International Trade Commission
had ruled that Samsung behaved responsibly. While it acknowledged the automatic email deletion, it noted that the company had informed employees that they should be saving any documents pertinent to the case.
But Judge Grewal saw things quite differently. He argued that Samsung did not do enough to monitor that its order was being enforced. He remarks, "In effect, Samsung kept the shredder on long after it should have known about this litigation."
Samsung plans to appeal, but if it loses, the order could be a blow to its image when the trial
goes before the jury
II. Apple Wants $2.5B USD
Apple is suing Samsung on the grounds of a slew of patents and trademarks. The trademarks encompass largely deal with the look of certain icons -- such as a white email envelop on a blue background. The patents cover a host of software features such as
slide to unlock
, as well as the "look" of the iPad and iPhone.
A UK court recently found that most of these patents were
invalid due to prior art
. It forced Apple to
print a public apology
to Samsung acknowledging that Samsung
did not "steal" the look
of the iPad with its Galaxy Tab. In recent interviews
Judge Richard A. Posner
, one of the most experienced intellectual property experts in the U.S., expressed similar sentiments remarking that the majority of software patents -- including Apple's --
should likely be ruled invalid
Apple wants an exorbitant $2.525B USD from Samsung ($2B USD of which represents profits from devices). It also wants Samsung to be banned from selling the majority of its Android smartphones and tablets in the U.S. These provisions would surely provide a nice padding to Apple's already industry-leading profits, and help it overcome its product design difficulties.
Apple wants Samsung's devices banned and Samsung forced to pay billions in damages.
[Image Source: SomanyMP3s]
Samsung sought a 2.4 percent royalty from Apple on its 3G patents in the U.S., a proposal that is also slightly outlandish, given that it's grossly above the industry standard for licensing
fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) patents
III. Galaxy Tab 7.7 Banned Throughout the EU
More bad news came for Samsung this week when a decision by the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court was expanded into a
complete ban on sales
of the Galaxy Tab 7.7
throughout the EU
. The ban comes courtesy of
Community Design 000181607
, which depicts a rectangular tablet:
It was found that the Galaxy Tab 7.7:
...looked too much like the iPad, despite being a different size, having different back decals, and different ports.
Again, this would seemingly indicate Apple has a government-enforced monopoly on tablets in the European Union, but this is clearly not the case, as
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N
was deemed valid for sale thanks to the addition of extra metallic accents.
About the only conclusion one can thus draw from these divergent rulings is that bans are rather arbitrary and based on the sentiments of whatever court they happen to wind up in for the ruling.
The ban is tentative, pending appeal, and likely does not apply to the UK, which already found Apple's design claims invalid.
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RE: if i were sammy...
7/26/2012 6:38:35 PM
Correct. Apple also sued over the similarity of some of the icons Samsung used to the iPhone icons. Samsung rolled out updates to change many of the icons in response, since that was easier than feeding millions of dollars to lawyers in the courts.
That doesn't stop some of the purported trademarks from being silly. A white envelope on a blue background? Really? So since envelopes are universally white, only one company is allowed to use a blue background, one green, one red, and one black, and if anyone other than those four companies uses a white envelope icon, they're infringing trademark?
Another silly one was Apple purporting to own the angled green phone icon for placing a call. Motorola used a very similar icon on one of its first cell phones.
But in response to Apple's suit, Samsung rolled out an update changing it to blue. Apparently it's been settled or dismissed, since the icon is now back to green.
RE: if i were sammy...
7/26/2012 7:07:21 PM
It doesn't matter if it's silly, it only matters if the infringement was found not to occur.
Trademarks have to be defended else they are lost.
So, yes, if Apple files the trademark (and it isn't itself found to be a trademark violation), only one company can use that trademark. A classic and well known example is Mickey Mouse. No one else can use the character because Disney owns the trademark.
So long as Apple has trademarked it's icons (which, according to the registration paperwork, they have), then they can (and have to) stop others from using them.
The angled green phone icon is also the same case, and specifically regarding Motorola, has four key differences:
Shape of the button, round vs rounded square
Orientation of the phone, up vs down
Angle of orientation, diagonal up vs diagonal down
Presence of headset rest vs no headset rest
And, this is the key aspect, Motorola has to have trademarked the icon and defended it; if they didn't use it for 5 years, nor defended it, they cannot make any claim to it.
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