Apple claims Samsung copied iPhone technology

July 31, 2012 5:21:56 PM PDT
Attorneys for Apple and Samsung laid out their patent infringement case in federal court in San Jose Tuesday, and the key question is whether Apple can legitimately claim it came up with key features of the iPhone and iPad first.

Every company wants bragging rights for innovation and with Apple taking on Samsung for allegedly stealing its patented ideas, it lays both tech giants open to scrutiny.

Samsung made it clear it's going to fight Apple's copycat claim by showing that Apple's patents aren't valid. For example, the feature called "bounce back" on the iPhone and iPad. When you get to the edge of a document or screen, it makes a spring-like bounce to indicate you've reached the edge. Samsung will argue others invented it first. Another example is the feature called "click-zoom." When you double-tap on an iPhone or iPad, it zooms in. Or when you tap another area, it re-positions that area to the center for easier reading. Again, Samsung will try to prove someone else had it first.

The two companies are fierce competitors in the $219 billion per year smartphone and tablet business.

Apple says Samsung has made nearly 23 million smartphones and tablets that infringe on Apple patents, making over $2 billion in profits. However, Samsung argues it is no slouch when it comes to innovation. It pointed out it spent $35 billion on research and development from 2005 to 2010, employing 20,000 engineers and 1,000 designers, some of them based in San Jose.

It's a high-stakes showdown between two competitors. However, Apple also depends on Samsung for key components of the iPhone and iPad. Samsung makes the retina screen, for example, for the iPhone 4A. Samsung also makes the A5X processor inside the iPad.

Michael Cohen, a Fremont-based tech industry analyst, says the relationship between Apple and Samsung is complicated.

"The Silicon Valley is a very interesting place, as is the whole technology industry," Cohen said. "Where two companies can be partnered on side and be completely battling on another and in the end, everyone acts in their own financial interests."

Apple claims it filed over 200 patents for various features when it created the iPhone five years ago. It will focus on six in the court case. But now the jury will have to sift through the claims and counter-claims to get to the facts, a process that will take the better part of August.


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