On the day that a San Jose jury submitted a final verdict on the damages that Samsung owes Apple in the second United States patent infringement lawsuit between the two companies, Vanity Fair has published a lengthy piece that takes a look at Samsung’s long and successful history of using patent infringement as a business tactic.
Previously, in 2010, before Apple filed an initial lawsuit against Samsung, executives from Apple met with Samsung executives in Seoul, where it was made clear by Samsung VP Seungho Ahn if Apple chose to pursue a lawsuit, Samsung would countersue with its own patents. Ahn told Chip Lutton, an Apple lawyer at the time, the following regarding the matter:
We've been building cell phones forever. We have our own patents, and Apple is probably violating some of those.
According to various court records and people who have worked with Samsung, ignoring competitors' patents is not uncommon for the Korean company. And once it's caught it launches into the same sort of tactics used in the Apple case: countersue, delay, lose, delay, appeal, and then, when defeat is approaching, settle.
A similar story apparently occurred with Pioneer, who filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung over plasma television technology in 2006. Samsung countersued, dragged on litigation and appeals until a 2009 settlement. The long and expensive legal battle caused Pioneer to shut down its television business while Samsung thrived. Samsung has supposedly pulled the same tactic on Kodak, Apple and several other technology companies as well. The following was mentioned regarding the matter:
Bit by bit, the new model for a Samsung smartphone began to look--and function--just like the iPhone. Icons on the home screen had similarly rounded corners, size, and false depth created by a reflective shine across the image. The icon for the phone function went from being a drawing of a keypad to a virtually identical reproduction of the iPhone's image of a handset. The bezel with the rounded corners, the glass spreading out across the entire face of the phone, the home button at the bottom--all of it almost the same.
Meanwhile, as has happened with other cases where Samsung violated a company's patents, it has continued to develop new and better phones throughout the litigation to the point where even some people who have worked with Apple say the Korean company is now a strong competitor on the technology and not just a copycat anymore.
Source: Vanity Fair