Apple v. Samsung timeline: The guide to what's happening

Apple v. Samsung timeline: The guide to what's happening

Summary: Legal jargon aside, what is actually going on in the high-profile Apple v. Samsung case, and how did it start? Let's take a look at the timeline.

TOPICS: Apple, Samsung

[Updated August 22, 2012]

The high-profile battle between technology giants Apple and Samsung has managed to cross not only country borders, but probably the comprehension of many trying to follow the trial, which is taking place in San Jose, Calif.

Samsung vs pple

So, without further ado and in bite-size portions, here is a rundown of the trial's events thus far, all the way from the beginning:

Key Facts

  • In the original lawsuit filed by Apple against Samsung in April 2011, the former stated that the South-Korean firm had ripped off the design and technology of Apple products.
  • The actual terms used? Apple alleges that Samsung "slavishly" copied its designs.
  • In response, Samsung counter-sued, saying that Apple had infringed a number of patents to do with 3G.
  • Hitting the ball back, Apple then pushed on, stating Samsung copied the "look and feel" of the Apple iOS range of devices, namely the Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets.
  • The lawsuit has spread to over 30 courts across four continents, and after negotiations failed, landed in front of a judge for the true showdown in July 2012.
  • Apple is seeking $2.5 billion in damages, and Samsung is also seeking financial restitution.

The Timeline

July 2011:

Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement, namely through products including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung then counter-sued over 3G patents, which are owned by the firm. Samsung says that the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPad 2 infringe these patents.

August 2011:

Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet was put on hold in Australia after an intellectual property and trade practises hearing. Apple Australia acquired the U.S. version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, studied it, filed a lawsuit, and claimed intellectual property right infringement based on the design of the iPad.

The case Apple bought against Samsung was speedy -- and effective

The two smartphone and tablet giants then struck a deal. Samsung agreed to restrict the sales of its Galaxy Tab tablet in Australia and would also give Apple sample devices and source code of devices that apparent crossed the line for study -- and approval.

However, it did not end there. Apple then won a victory in a German court, securing a preliminary (i.e. temporary) injunction against the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 throughout the European Union, with the exception of the Netherlands. This took immediate effect in Germany

Was that it? Not at all. In the same breath, researchers accused Apple of modifying images of Samsung's tablet, which were then presented to the Düsseldorf court who granted the original injunction. Afterwards, the judge claimed he also handled the tablets and did not rely purely on the supplied images.

In addition, Samsung filed an emergency complaint that the German court overstepped the mark in trying to impose a ban on sales in other EU countries. As a result, the ruling was lifted across the EU -- except for in Germany.

Basically, Apple believed that the 10.1-inch variant -- the American type -- of the Galaxy Tab looked far too similar to the iPad, and tried to prevent its sale. Not only this, but Apple alleged that Samsung had breached several of its patents, including "slide to unlock" and "edge-bump" functions. 

September 2011:

The new Galaxy Tab 7.7 was next to fall afoul of the German courts, being banned by a court injunction, and was unable to be showcased at one of the world's largest technology shows in Berlin, the IFA electronics show

Meanwhile, in Australia, Samsung set about counter-suing Apple after delaying the Galaxy Tab 10.1 launch down under. The claim was filed with the Federal Court of Australia in New South Wales, and stated that Apple infringed seven Australian patents related to 3G networking on its third- and fourth-generation iPhones and iPad 2 devices.

So far: Apple says Samsung's tablet infringes design patents, and Samsung says that iPhones and iPads infringe 3G patents. 

Samsung's move seemed to go against its original agreement to grant Apple samples of the tablet for study, and to restrict sales. In reprisal, the firm also gathered its army to sue Apple in order to prevent the iPhone 5 making its way to South Korea, taking its case to court on 16 September.

The seven patents that Apple allegedly infringed upon through its iDevices were for methods of data transmission, decoding, power management and mobile data management. Not only this, but Samsung demanded that Apple drop its complaint in Australian court.

These patents are what is known as 'standards-essential patents' -- in other words, 3G will not work without the technology. Samsung is required therefore to license them under reasonable, non-discriminatory and fair measures -- what are known as FRAND terms.

However, if Samsung is required to license the patents that Apple allegedly infringed, what happened to the licensing? Apple said that the terms were "not reasonable" and differed from other third-party vendors.

Up to this moment in our timeline, Apple also filed other similar claims in countries including Japan, the UK and France. 

October 2011:

The Australian ban on the Galaxy Tab continues, and the two sides continue to squabble. Reports stated that the court sided with Apple on two of the patents Samsung allegedly infringed. 

See also: All of Apple's patent claims against Samsung in one chart

Next: Victory for Samsung?


Topics: Apple, Samsung

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  • Good read

    Thanks for putting all those details (and links) together in one handy place!
  • Here's the real timeline

    1. Apple builds revolutionary phone and makes a bundle.
    2. Competitors build a competing phone and sell it for less.
    3. Competitors build better phones and sell it for less.
    4. Apple loses the market they created (sound familiar?) and goes to court in an effort to compete (again sound familiar?)
    • are you suggesting

      that competition is a bad thing?
      btw, whether Apple really built a revolutionary phone from scratch or capitalized and improved the already existing phones and electronic organizers is a matter of debate.
      • I am suggesting no such thing.

        "are you suggesting that competition is a bad thing?"
    • #3 is not working, though

      At all stages starting from original iPhone competitor could not offer "better" phones. In some aspects those were better, in the others -- worse. Even now iPhone 4S is no worse or better than competition in few key areas: photo quality (thanks to unique five lens system that prevents blurring near to the corners), graphic performance (only now competitors catched up with SGS-543MP2 co-processor). Apple's device also offers ever perfect looks since it is steel and hardened glass all around, no cheapo-feeling scratch-prone plastics anywhere (as a downside, though, the device is twice more vulnerable if it falls on hard floors).
      • I have direct experience with what appears in the paranthesis

        Someone knocked my iPhone onto a rock which put three small chips in the screen which then turned into a crack over night. iPhone is quite fragile. After returning to my Android phone I realized how much time I spent babysitting my iPhone compared to the Android phone.
    • or perhaps the real timeline

      1. Bunch of companies build the technology, necessary for for successful cell phones to be produced (Moto, Samsung, Nokia, etc.)
      2. Apple comes and scoops all those technologies without (yet) paying a dime
      3. Apple builds on top of existing designs and creates the best marketed toy in the world and gets a very nice marketshare
      4. People start realizing that iPhones are like Macs- nice, but not feature rich and quite overpriced. Apple loses shares.
      5. Apple cries 'Wolf' and run to their mommy (the courts), complaining someone ate their lunch.
      (In the meantime Apple and MS forge probably illegal cartel like "gentlemen" agreement)
      • More true

        Apple just steals tech from everyone without licencing it. They have always been in licensing battles with other companies because they for some reason believe that they dont need to license tech like everyone else.
        • Apple paid for all of technology via communication chip producers which ...

          ... have licenses paid.

          So this whole "everyone invented and Apple stole" thing is ignorant nonsense.
          • You are the ignorant

            Samsung had an agreement with Qualcomm not to sue its customers. This agreement was dissolved after Apple sued Samsung.
            In many cases licenses are not transferable which is the case with Apple. Apple are not even contesting the fact they are violating the patents. They are just claiming the right to pay next to nothing when they choose to do so.
            In the case of Motorola, they were found guilty of infringing in the Netherlands. So far it is only Apple who has been found by a court of law to violate patents.
          • You are ignorant; those licenses do not need to be transferred

            Just read court papers. For example, Samsung requires license fees for patents that only used and Intel's chip, for which Samsung already got paid. So there is no perspective there for Samsung.
          • Tell it to the court in Netherlands

            The sentence was read. You are wrong.
          • You are ignorant; those licenses do not need to be transferred

            Just read court papers. For example, Samsung requires license fees for patents that only used and Intel's chip, for which Samsung already got paid. So there is no perspective there for Samsung.
    • @ye

      "3. Competitors build better phones and sell it for less."

      The better phones part is subjective.
      • No

        Top Android phones are factually superior to iPhones in almost every way.
    • #2.

      Competitor builds an exact copy using Apple's iPhone as a guide and sell it for less. Not expecting Apple to take them to court. Oops.

      You are free to remain ignorant to the facts. It's your life. Samsung is ripe with corruption and has shown similar behavior in the past, namely the BlackJack.
      • Interesting

        Since the iPhone was based on Sony designs, and Samsung did the R&D for all the Apple chips, and sold Apple their memory for the devices (most of the components in the iPhone are Samsung Engineered and Manufactured). But now you say they copied Apple? So they copied apple by using their OWN TECHNOLOGY that THEY DEVELOPED? Interesting Theory you have there.
        • Silly argument! Tired of reading it

          Flour + eggs + sugar does not = cake. Apple has the recipe, everyone else copies (poorly). Whether they develop the components is irrelevant. A box of parts is not a phone.
          Scott HB
          • Who else has patents on cakes ...

            That just proves to me how crazy this lawsuit is really. Why doesn't Apple use something other than 3g? Maybe they should either not have those patents or have to use FRAND. With an emphasis on fair and reasonable.
    • That is somewhat true

      When the original iPhone came out there wasn't much like it at the time. Windows mobile was still King along with blackberry. But after Android went public (it was actually in development from before the time iOS was) things started to go downhill.