Samsung to Apple: Game on


As we all know by now, last week’s jury verdict regarding the two biggest smartphone makers rewarded the fruit and punished its competitor. The monetary damages are over 10 figures, but that’s nothing compared with what both companies are now fighting for. If you like corporate dramas, you may enjoy this.

Round 2, fight!
The opening salvo of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) versus Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF.PK) included more than US$1 billion in damages awarded to Apple for patent infringement regarding several Samsung smart devices. Following the monetary damages, Apple immediately pressed for an injunction against Samsung to forbid the sale of eight devices the electronics conglomerate sells in the United States.

Samsung’s (reworded) response to Apple: “You can pry these phones from my cold, dead hands.”

The verdict is only the beginning
Yes, Apple’s victory sets a legal precedent for more courtroom battles in the U.S. and around the world, but this is not an automatic win for Apple. Instead, Samsung is now awoken. And it is an angry South Korean beast with lawyers for knives.

Apple wants Judge Lucy Koh, the presiding barrister over the Bay-area-based case, to aid the company in preventing what it calls “a portion of the immediate, ongoing irreparable harm that Apple is suffering.” I have a hard time feeling bad for a company that has more than US$100 billion in cash lying around and is in the process of building one of the most absurd corporate headquarters in history, but the ruling was reached within the rules of the American legal system — so be it.

With 12% of smartphone sales coming from the United States for Samsung, it is hardly going to allow its products to vanish overnight. The company is committed to use “all measures necessary” in fighting the injunction. The steps are:

1. Submit a motion to Judge Koh to stop the injunction (if it is approved).

  • The judge already granted one injunction on behalf of Apple for a model of the Galaxy tablet. So Samsung might have an issue here.

2. Go to an appeals court to fight the injunction.

  • Because of the scale of the case and the public interest, an appeals court could move the case close to the front of the line, but this could still take up to a year while the majority of Samsung’s products are off the shelves in the United States.

3. Develop products that are without the patent infringements and get outta Dodge.

  • This is already happening, though it will take time. Samsung’s best move is to put all this patent drama behind it and find ways to work around the infringements.

Samsung’s latest products are already finding workarounds for patents, and the company claims to have found workarounds for two software patents as well, though those that are in error account for a very hefty chunk of Samsung’s U.S. sales.

Alliances forming
Apple may be alienating itself in its crusades against technological plagiarism. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) headquarters is no doubt buzzing with high-priced JDs preparing for future litigation, not to mention product developers finding ways around the patent infringements. While Apple has proved its ability to take on a behemoth such as Samsung and come out victorious, it may find greater difficulty in taking on the world’s largest tech companies combined. In the case ended last week, offending software patents were built into Android, though Google may design around certain features, like tapping to zoom.

In the meantime, my iPhone battery keeps losing its juice, my iPad crashes like a ’95 Gateway, and I am seeing some good-looking (and patent-infringing) devices coming from Apple’s competitors — such as China-based Huawei, which makes very comparable devices at fractions of the price.

I’ll make the same comment-inducing statement directed to Apple I made in my last article regarding the case: Make your products the absolute best in the world, and let the competitors copy and chase all they want. If you continue to be the world’s innovator, you will never lose.

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The Motley Fools purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

A version of this article, written by Michael Lewis, originally appeared on fool.com

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