Both Apple and Samsung's products are at the top end of the tech spectrum and although the former is one of the latter’s biggest customers, this hasn’t stopped lawyers in both camps working overtime in order to outsue each other.
We’ve whittled out the legal mumbo jumbo to give you a no-nonsense timeline of events over the past year in a bid to shed some light on all of the bickering. Flame on.
Mirror image – April 2011
Apple hit the Korean electronic moguls with 16 claims back in April which included charges of unjust enrichment, trademark infringement and 10 patent disputes in a crusade against the “slavish” copying of the iPhone and iPad. The perpetrators? The Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab.
Two can play that game – April 2011
Samsung decided to counter Apple with a few lawsuits of its own in Japanese, German and South Korean courts, stating that the iPhone and iPad infringed on 10 of its own technology patents including 3G and wireless data communication technology. In the first of several curious legal moves, Samsung asked the court to make Apple hand over prototypes of the iPhone 5 and iPad 3.
Knocking on Sammy’s door – June 2011
Apple brought the fight to Samsung’s home country of South Korea in which another patent dispute was filed in what was to be Apple’s first retort to the company outside of the US.
No Tab for Aussies – August 2011
Just days after Samsung confirmed an August 11 launch date for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, the Federal Court granted an injunction preventing the release of the tablet nation-wide. The block arose over allegations the device infringed on up to 10 Apple design patents.
Critical hit – August 2011
Within a week of hitting the shelves, all sales and marketing of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe were pulled thanks to a successful injunction by Apple in the Regional Court of Dusseldorf. At this stage, the only country in Europe selling the tablet was the Netherlands – bleak times for Android tablet-lusting gadgeteers.
The resurrection – August 2011
The 10.1 Tab received the green light a mere week after the initial ban was executed and was happily being snapped up off the shelves in all countries bar Germany, where the pesky injunction ruling still held firm.
IFA blues – September 2011
Last month’s IFA event in Berlin saw the Galaxy Tab 7.7's mysterious dissapearance, with all demo units and promotional material swiftly disappearing – we’ll give you three guesses why. As before, the ban is a German-only affair, for the time being at least. In other legal developments, Samsung cited the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey as 'prior art' against Apple's iPad design patents, arguing that the tablet's design and concept already existed prior to Apple's patents.
iPhone 5 caught in the crosshairs – September 2011
It may not have been announced quite yet, but Samsung is already planning to appeal for the iPhone 5’s ban in both South Korea and Europe as soon as it’s released. Sammy’s ammunition comes in the form of wireless technology-related patents and it’s gone on to state that it will be impossible for Apple to sell its i-branded products unless they drop mobile communications functions altogether.
Time will tell what the next chapter in this lawsuit-peppered saga will hold, but for now we’ll just let those lawyers warp up for the next round.