In the ongoing patent dispute between Apple and Samsung, it has now emerged that the Cupertino-based company has demanded, in front of a jury, that its Korean competitor stumps up the almighty sum of $40 per infringing device. The total, which Apple has arrived at by highlighting five separate patents per device (around $8 a pop), would equate to an eye-watering total sum, and even FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller – a guy that tends to see these matters from Apple’s side – seems to think this is a step too far.
Apple and Samsung are two of the technology industry’s most influential companies, and with regards to the mobile market, others are struggling to compete with the sheer volume of smartphones and tablets shipped by these two juggernauts. But while it’s healthy to have a little rivalry and even some animosity between competing companies, there really is no love lost between these two adversaries, as displayed by the constant court battles and litigation over patent issues.
We all know that, under Steve Jobs, Apple was only too happy to make allegations at other companies with regards to their supposedly infringing products. The late co-founder once, for example, threatened to “destroy” the “stolen product” that he deemed Android to be, and was willing to spend every last penny of Apple’s disposable cash to “right [the] wrong.”
Tim Cook, meanwhile, is painted as a much calmer character, but while he himself has expressed a distaste for legalese, it doesn’t seem to be having much impact on Apple’s in-court activities. If anything, the battle with Samsung has stepped up a gear or two in recent times, and while there have been plenty of twists and revelations along the way, the demand of $40 per device would seem, for lack of a more apt phrase, extortionate.
The five patents pertain to phone number tapping, unified search, data synchronization, slide-to-unlock, and auto-complete, and while Mueller believes Apple may have taken things too far, he also questions Judge Lucy Koh’s decision to allow the demands to be read out in front of a jury.
The pre-court meeting between Tim Cook and JK Shin was the fruitless exercise we always expected it to be, but now, it would appear that the gloves are off.
Stay tuned: this could get messy.