Samsung to Apple: Blame Google for Patent Infringement

court judge gavel

Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is pushing the blame on Android-maker Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the latest round of litigation between itself and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Samsung and Apple gave their opening statements to the court on Tuesday as Apple seeks a whopping $2 billion in damages on the grounds that Samsung infringed key iPhone patents with some of its latest smartphone devices. Apple is suing over five different patents that the company believes Samsung blatantly copied from the iPhone, which cover the technology for data tapping, unified search, organizing media, asynchronous data syncing, slide-to-unlock, and remote video transmission.

Samsung’s lawyer Peter Quinn said that several of the patents Apple has issue with, including tap-to-search and slide-to-unlock, were actually developed by Google in the Android operating system on which Samsung phones operate. Samsung is in turn accusing Apple of infringing on its own patents for camera and folder organization functionality and video transmission functionality, CNET reports.

“Not one of the accused features on this phone was designed, much less copied, by anyone at Samsung,” Quinn said in his opening remarks, per CBS News. “The accused features on this phone were developed independently by some of the software engineers at Google, up the road in Mountain View.”

Apple’s attorney Harold McElhinny acknowledged that the damages the company is asking for are very high, but he says the damage done to Apple’s business because of Samsung copying the iPhone warrants such a high figure. “Given the success of these features in the marketplace and given the importance of the iPhone to Apple’s success, Apple would not have agreed to license these patents to this company for less,” McElhinny said, per CNET. He went on to say that the jury “will understand the reason the damages in the case are high is because the scope of Samsung’s infringement has been massive.”

Overall, Apple thinks that Samsung has been ruthlessly copying its products and stealing potential Apple customers. The South Korea-based Samsung believes that Apple is trying to throttle consumer choice and create an even-smaller smartphone market. As that market has become increasingly saturated, Samsung and Apple have been shown to account for all of the industry’s profits.

Even though Samsung is pointing blame at Google, the company doesn’t believe Apple is warranted to sue over the features that Android allegedly copies. “What this case is really about is Apple trying to limit consumer choice and to gain an unfair advantage of its one main competitor, Google’s Android,” Quinn said, per The New York Times. Quinn argued that the five different patents Apple is suing over are not key to sell iPhones, using the example of Apple’s infamously inadequate Maps app. Since the company was more than capable of selling iPhones without a working maps app, then it could certainly sell them without these minor features. “These aren’t the things that drive sales,” Quinn said.

Judge Lucy Koh is yet again presiding over the latest round of litigation between the two companies, both of which seem to have been perpetually fighting over patents for several years. It had been predicted that Samsung would attempt to place the blame on Google since some of the features that Apple has taken issue with are a part of the Android operating system rather than the Samsung devices themselves. As the litigation continues, we’ll see if Koh buys this argument.

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