Patent battles between Samsung and Apple rage all over the world, and all over the world, it seems that Apple is winning.
The iPad maker claims that Samsung is infringing on patents Apple has on the look and feel of its tablet and its iPhone with Samsung’s various Android devices, including the Galaxy Tab and Android Galaxy S smartphone. And Apple has won some victories: a ban prevents the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany and an injunction of the Galaxy S II in The Netherlands, which almost resulted in those devices being banned throughout Europe. Apple has partially stopped the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, delaying its launch, despite Samsung’s changing the look of the device from its counterparts in other regions.
As TechCrunch points out in its report, up until now, Samsung has been mostly reactionary, as if it was unwilling to really commit to the battle with Apple. Meanwhile, Apple has been extremely aggressive, as if the company didn’t care what bridges it burned with Samsung.
For Samsung, there has always been resistance to really go crazy in the Apple fight. Sure, Samsung has sued and countersued in a few cases, but there’s a reason that it has seemed that Samsung hasn’t really gone after Apple the way Apple has after Samsung: the Korean device maker doesn’t want to ruin its relationship with Apple.
Or at least, it didn’t.
Things are changing now. Samsung formerly was the largest component supplier for Apple’s devices, and Apple Samsung’s biggest customer. But reports from a few weeks back suggested that Apple might be looking for new components manufacturers given the legal battles with Samsung, and it appears that for Samsung, the gloves are coming off.
Lee Younghee, head of global marketing for mobile communications at Samsung, to the AP that Samsung was going to be much more aggressive with Apple going forward. Here’s a quote from that TechCrunch story:
According to Lee Younghee, ‘We’ll be pursuing our rights for this in a more aggressive way from now on.’ She also added that Apple has been ‘freeriding’ on Samsung’s wireless communication technology patents.
Earlier this week, a report from the Korea Times said that another unnamed Samsung executive had made a similar claim, promising to block the iPhone from sale in South Korea where the company is based. That executive started that it would be Samsung’s mobile technology patents that would cripple Apple, and that the iPhone would basically need to be reduced to the functionality of an iPod to be free of Samsung’s claims.
It seems pretty likely that the patent battles between these two companies are about to heat up significantly, with Samsung going on the offensive. Apple has been pretty effective at dismantling Samsung’s ability to sell its Android devices in a few countries. If Samsung is similarly successful, it could have a pretty big impact on the next few sets of Apple products, like the iPhones expected to be announced in October.