Apple and Samsung are the world’s two largest high-end mobile providers. Apple and Samsung are major competitors but are also business partners. Apple is one of Samsung’s biggest phone component customers and Samsung is one of Apple’s biggest suppliers. According to Bloomberg’s supply chain analysis, Apple accounts for 9% of Samsung’s revenue, which makes Apple Samsung’s largest costumer.
Despite the companies’ business relationship, in April of 2011 Apple sued Samsung for copying Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The lawsuit happened following meetings between Apple and Samsung in August 2010 that ended in an unresolved agreement over patents. Samsung countersued Apple in June 2011 stating that Apple infringed on several Samsung patents. The two companies have also sued each other in South Korea, Japan, Australia and the U.K..
On December 2, 2011, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California issued an order denying Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Court’s order then remanded for further proceeding based on the D’889 Patent which covers the design of the iPad. The Federal Circuit issued the mandate that was received in June 2012 by the Clerk of the U.S. District Court. The judge presiding over the case is Lucy Koh, a former IP attorney appointed by President Barrack Obama in 2010.
Apple held a strong case on the merits. Apple claimed that Samsung infringed four industrial design patents and three utility patents. This included Samsung’s Galaxy S phones and Galaxy Tab tablets. The Court has previously noted that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was substantially similar to the iPad. Samsung held concern over the losses suffered because of the injunction. The District Court found evidence that Samsung altered its design to make its product look like Apple’s. Apple was required to post a bond in the event that this injunction was wrongly issued.
Samsung’s arguments stated that the injunction was based on “one aspect of overall product” and that an injunction would harm Samsung’s business relationships with wireless carriers that provide the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Court rejected Samsung’sargument and found that the product design was an important driver in the demand for sales on the tablet.
The trial court read the verdict over the case on August 24, 2012, after three days of deliberating following the trial. Apple won $1.05 billion after finding that Samsung infringed six of seven patents. Apple sought to use this verdict to ban sales for the Samsung tablet and eight Samsung smartphones. On December 6, 2012, Judge Lucy Koh will hear Apple’s request for permanent injunction against Samsung smartphones. Samsung has appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It may be months even years before any money changes hands again between the two feuding companies.