Apple vs Samsung Patent Row: Behind the Scenes Activity Coming to the Fore?

April 22, 2011, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

The patent row between two major smartphone makers – Apple and Samsung – has raised many eye brows. Apple had sued Samsung claiming patent violation by its Galaxy line of devices. As per the argument in the suit filed with the US district court in Northern California, Samsung’s Galaxy line of devices resembles Apple products such as the iPad and the iPhone.

However, apart from a usual patent row, the tension between the two companies is a peculiar chemistry which makes the issue more than just legal. To get an idea of what is happening down behind the screens is very important.

As the issue made it into the headlines, Samsung was quick to issue an official response that the company will fight back so that they do not get into the intellectual property muddle. Triggering a tit-for-tat kind of scene, they have gone the extra step of alleging that Apple has violated Samsung’s patents.

However, dig a little deeper, and it can be easily understood that despite the patent raw, both the companies depend each other in the market game. Apple was the second largest revenue source for Samsung last year constituting almost 4 percent of its total $142 billion annual revenue. This year, things are closer for the two, with Samsung being listed as a supplier for MacBook Air SSDs.

To read the story in the present situation where Apple is straining to meet the outpacing demand for iPad 2 as their component supply chains have been disturbed due to Japanese earthquake.

So, a rift in the relation with Samsung will seriously add to the disturbances in Apple’s supply chains and Samsung will find a major portion of its revenue affected. In a gist, both the companies will be trying to end the issue by effectively resorting to behind-the-screen negotiations – they have already begun.

Taking another view, it may be seen that the  Galaxy devices blatantly copy the iDevice identity. Apple, obviously, had no way other than filing a suit due to the peculiar way the law is set.

If Apple was not ready to sue Samsung, it would have been in a weaker position. Since the case is filed, they can now work behind the screens, on possible licensing deals with Samsung. However, it will be interesting to see if Samsung will file a patent suit against Apple, as is the usual case in patent rows between big shots.

To cut a long story short, Apple’s concern for the case also indicates that Samsung is growing in leaps and bounds in the smartphone and tablet markets. However, it seems, we may not ever come to know the results of the row as a behind the screen settlement is imminent between the companies soon.

What do you think about the whole issue? Tell us your take on the design copy muddle.

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