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Smartphone lawsuits how we all lose

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Apple just “won” $1.05 billion from Samsung in a court case based on patent infringement of design, software and trade dress. Samsung and Apple are in legal battles globally in countries including Britain, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. But it doesn’t stop there. HTC, Motorola, and Google are all engaged in lawsuits and counter lawsuits as well, but who really wins? It is often said that nothing is invented from nothing but merely built upon (improved upon) the platform/idea of something else.

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Apple was suing based on a variety of technology: slide to unlock, pinch/tap to zoom and twist/turn to rotate. Suing on design issues like: “A rectangular product shape with all four corners uniformly rounded” and “the front surface of the product dominated by a screen surface with black borders” is like Peugeot suing every car manufacturer for the shape of a car. Rectangle with curved edges and black border: sounds like my old Garmin GPS unit better yet, this sounds ridiculous! As a consumer if you think you win, please put down that illegal “cigarette” and turn off the Jimi Hendrix record. There are enough articles about who wins and who loses (generally a company). Realistically this technology comes from a myriad of sources which Apple has culminated into the smartphone from different patents and manufacturers.

A few facts:
Smartphone history
1. Wikipedia describes the history of the smartphone as: “Although devices combining telephony and computing were conceptualized as early as 1973 and were offered for sale beginning in 1994, the term "smartphone" did not appear until 1997, when Ericsson described its GS 88 "Penelope" concept as a "Smart Phone".”
2. 1993 IBM introduces Simon the first touchscreen smartphone. Although the phone used a type of stylus and did not have multi-touch capabilities; it did have a calendar, address book, emailing capability and an alarm clock. Users even used the onscreen keypad to dial and through the address book you could click on a phone number to dial it.
3. In 1973 Theodore “Ted” Paraskevakos created patents which are the basis of many smartphones today. Including: data processing, caller id, banking by phone, paying utility bills by phone, visual display screens on phones
4. In 1984 Bell Labs – Bob Boie created the first multitouch screen.
5. In 1991 Xerox created the Digital Desk which allowed objects to be resized with a pinch feature
6. In 2000 Ericsson R380 touchscreen smartphone introduced using Symbian operating system
7. In 2001 Palm introduced the first smartphone in the US entitled Kyocera 6035
8. In 2002 Blackberry, Ericsson P800 and Palm Treo are introduced.
9. In 2005 Neonode N1m one of a few phones with no keypad, swiping gestures, individual taps on the screen and slide to unlock feature.
10. In February 2006 Jeff Han displayed a suite of applications in his TED Talk that showcased multi touch screen with pinch feature where he used two hands and two fingers to zoom in and out.
11. In December 2006 the LG Prada KE850 was introduced (one month before the first iPhone) which looked very similar to the iPhone.

Android and Android manufacturers
1. Currently Android accounts for 68% share of the global smartphone market last quarter as reported by IDC (International Data Corporation). Android shipped 4 times the number of phones than iPhone (105 MM vs. 26 MM)
2. Samsung, LG and Sharp currently make the retina display on Apple products. Samsung is its largest supplier of iPad, iPhone retina displays.

Samsung
1. Samsung is the world’s no.1 mobile manufacturer.
2. Samsung is the sole supplier of Apple’s processing chips (A5) both iPad and iPhone
3. Samsung supplies the NAND Flash chips for iPhone
4. Samsung supplies the DRAM for iPhone
5. Samsung integrates phone technology in several other electronic products they create. As an example read Galaxy Camera article.
6. Samsung says it has claims to other patents like: emailing photos from a camera phone and multitasking with music.
7. Countersuing for infringement upon their patents asking for $15.50 for every iPhone sold from the $.05 that Apple is willing to pay.

Other iPhone vendors – (Hint: All Android manufacturers) see attachment
1. Camera components – Sony, Sharp and LG
2. Several components – Samsung
3. Toshiba
Some of Apple’s lawsuits
1. United Kingdom – On July 19, 2012 Bloomberg reported that Apple must publish on their UK homepage and in newspapers that Samsung did not copy Apple designs for the iPAd
2. South Korea – On Aug 2012 ruled Samsung did not copy Apple’s iPhone design but both infringed patents
3. Germany – Motorola won a few patent lawsuits against Apple whereas Apple cannot sell 3G, 4 or iPads. One of the patents referred to Push technology of email. Another dealt with data transmission.

The court case verdict’s ultimate hope is that it will inspire more innovation. Innovation will continue to happen and help to differentiate brands. Those innovations are to get more money from the consumer. These lawsuits are not for the Android fanboy/fangirl or the Apple fanboy/fangirl they are about money and hopefully monopolization which leads to more money.

What does Google have to say about this?
Google put out a statement that reads: “The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims. Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office. The mobile industry is moving fast and all players – including newcomers – are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don’t want anything to limit that.” What does that mean? Well it means Google will fight to the end for Android and with appeals and some errors within the trial this is far from over.

So let’s sum this up: everyone knows lawsuits cost consumers (the America public) money, different manufacturers of components will certainly cost Apple different prices which will in turn cost you more, Samsung’s loss of revenue will be passed on to consumers and brands that use Samsung products. Look for costs to increase in the near future. More competition creates better products, decreases cost of products, increases supply chains (more jobs) and allows for more choice. Let’s just stop with all the lawsuits and let consumers decide. Lastly if Samsung's phones and tablet is the same as Apple's, Apple better watch it's pricing.

As two LOL moments: a. Etch a Sketch is suing Apple. Huh? Yes it’s true, don’t believe me? Google it. (Another ridiculous lawsuit) and b. Please check out Jeff Han’s Ted Talk video where at 2:20 he mentions Google should have this in their lobby. Samsung has a few tricks up their sleeve.

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