Monday, August 27, 2012

The Apple-Samsung Lawsuit Saga: Stifling Innovation in the Tech World?

Does the latest Apple versus Samsung copyright lawsuit eventually stifle innovation in the global mobile smartphone and tablet computer industry? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Back in August 25, 2012, a US jury in a California court decided that South Korea based tablet computer and smartphone manufacturer Samsung should pay Apple 1.05 billion US dollars for copyright infringement – i.e. Samsung used Apple’s technology in the manufacture of its best selling tablet computers and mobile smartphones in the Galaxy III series. To us mere consumers, the two companies’ products started to look almost exactly alike during the past few months – making one wonder if Samsung had just got the license from Apple to manufacture its own version of i-Phones and i-Pads. 

The court jury’s ruling states that Samsung deliberately stole Apple’s copyrighted technology to manufacture their own versions of the i-Phone and the i-Pad for profit. Sadly, it is usually us, the consumer, who loses in these types of titanic copyright infringement corporate battles because the money that could have been spent on product innovation are now being spent on copyright lawyers and in the complex world of patent law, copyright lawyers tend to be a dead-end investment in terms of profit returns – which means passing the expense to the consumer via higher product prices. And Samsung is at a disadvantage since Apple could pursue the case to deny entry of Samsung products in US territories.    

Even though Samsung was found guilty by US courts of copying critical features in the most popular mobile computing products of its main rival Apple, it could be that Samsung sales here in the Far East could remain unaffected. Samsung’s version of Apple’s most popular i-Phone and i-Pad variants are on average one-third the retail price of Apple’s – especially in Singapore and Hong Kong. But sadly, during Monday’s (August 27, 2012) trading, Samsung’s stocks took a rather steep dive wiping off 12 billion US dollars off the company’s value in the greatest single day loss in the famed South Korea based tech company.