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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. (KSC:005930) 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. (AAPL) nearly 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 iPhone 4S 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 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, although it failed to secure its most hoped for ban -- a kill shot on the Galaxy S III.

Now it's scored another small victory in its U.S. court battle, with Judge Paul Grewal of the 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 and multi-touch, 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 money
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:

Apple D'889 patent

It was found that the Galaxy Tab 7.7:
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.

Sources: WSJ, PC Magazine

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RE: Arise Neo-classical tablet!
By Alexstarfire on 7/27/2012 11:46:34 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly, Samsung's is more like a combination of the two from Apple. The new one is just a circle, not a CD, and the old one isn't even in color. The only thing that's consistent is the music icon which, let's be honest here, everyone just sees as a music icon, not a specific note. Both sides have been using a note for a while so I can't see that holding up.

Using purple might be the biggest issue with that icon. But it's not like the color matters to anyone either.

RE: Arise Neo-classical tablet!
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/27/2012 11:53:45 AM , Rating: 1
But it's not like the color matters to anyone either.

Yes it does, to the Apple colon dwellers it does.

He just proved it...

He is actually using a color as an fucking funny.


RE: Arise Neo-classical tablet!
By michael2k on 7/27/2012 12:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
No, I think you're not seeing the right example. That page shows a black and white note over CD, when the "real" icon is almost identical:

Apple's been using it from 2001 until 2009, and replaced it in 2010 with the circle you mentioned.

However 2009 (when they last used it) to 2010 (when Samsung used a very similar icon) is close enough to run afoul of trademark and copyright infringement; trademark has a 5 year limit while copyright as a little longer (75 year? I forget).

Trademark is the one where you use it/defend it or lose it.

RE: Arise Neo-classical tablet!
By Alexstarfire on 7/29/2012 7:55:53 AM , Rating: 1
I could see more of a case being made for that as other than color they are pretty similar. The thing that bothers me the most is that no one really gives a shit what it looks like so long as they know it's music. Truth be told, headphones would probably work too, however that doesn't necessarily mean music like a CD and music note do. You could use an instrument, or instruments, but then you might think it's about making music rather than listening to it. Of course, you could write out the word music, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having an icon.

Some symbols really just need to become standard because they don't point to a specific product but to a functionality. This might not be the best case since Apple's symbol is for a specific product. And really, if this is just an icon for a media player then several others could easily be used.

RE: Arise Neo-classical tablet!
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/29/2012 9:04:34 AM , Rating: 1
The thing that bothers me the most is that no one really gives a shit what it looks like so long as they know it's music.
Except Apple

RE: Arise Neo-classical tablet!
By michael2k on 7/30/2012 1:40:45 PM , Rating: 2
You can get the point across then without copying the design.

Not only did you bring up good reasons why other designs might be bad, you need to bring up the point that:
1) A silver disc also equals movies, so you need another design to indicate music
2) iTunes, as the number 1 music retailer on the planet, therefore has a privileged spot in iconography. The only other picture that Samsung could use that would clearly indicate music would be an iPod.

Apple's use of CD+Note was dictated by the same forces you argue have influenced Samsung's design, the difference being that Apple's design harkens from the year 2001 when the iPod and iTunes wasn't in fact a big deal.

As you said, Samsung can make the icon a pair of headphones with the beamed note superimposed over it to get the same effect given Apple's existing success at making the iTunes store the #1 music retailer. CDs are in fact a dead end, which is why they changed their logo in 2009 from a CD to a plain circle with a note in the center.

RE: Arise Neo-classical tablet!
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/30/2012 8:27:53 PM , Rating: 1
Ok TesterGuy...

My lord... just shut up...

Take off your Apple colored glasses. Fuck man..

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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