Protecting your rights in the workplace.

Apple, Inc. and “The Smartphone Wars”

With over 300 million users of its iPhone worldwide, Apple is one of the largest smartphone manufacturers. As a result, Apple is often the subject of intellectual property lawsuits. In a series of lawsuits between the biggest smartphone producers in the world, dubbed “the smartphone wars,” Apple, Samsung, and Motorola have been embroiled in a years-long battle of the ages with each being accused of some sort of patent infringement.

Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Elec. Co., Ltd.

Someone may remember the rumor that swirled around in 2013 after a jury awarded Apple around $900 million in damages against Korean consumer electronics giant, Samsung, which Samsung allegedly paid in full with nickels. While the rumor was untrue, the case itself was very real. The case, which was originally filed in 2011, centered around Apple’s allegations that Samsung violated Apple’s intellectual property in the design of its mobile devices, thereby violating several iPhone patents. Apple claimed that Samsung copied the iPhone’s user interface and design features in 10.7 million devices, generating $3.5 billion in revenue for Samsung. However, you could say that Samsung got off easy as it was only required to pay Apple $900 million in damages. While Apple was the plaintiff in this case, it has also found itself the defendant in the series of “smartphone wars” lawsuits.

Motorola v. Apple

In a 2010 case that predated the Samsung case, Apple found itself in the hot seat when telecommunications giant, Motorola (owned by Google) accused Apple of patent infringement. Google, Motorola claimed that Apple’s iPhone products had infringed upon eighteen Motorola patent and filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission. Apple countered that Motorola wanted far too much (2.5% of Apple sales) for the use of its patents. In this case, which was finally settled in 2013, the Commission sided with Apple, finding that Apple had not infringed upon any of Motorola’s patents.

While the “smartphone wars” are some of the more high-profile instances of patent infringement, such infringement occurs daily on a small scale as well. You do not need to be a corporate plaintiff to obtain legal justice against someone you believe is infringing on your patent. If you believe that your patent has been infringed upon, you should contact an experienced intellectual property law attorney to determine your legal options.