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

August 2012 .. until now:

The second week of hearings begins. Samsung counsel Katrina Howard accused Apple of meeting with 3G patent experts that provided evidence to previous court cases in Australia, and convincing two to "change their minds".

Who said what?

  • A Samsung executive testified that the company has as many as 100 different smartphones available in the U.S. market at any given moment, many of which are and look "distinctly different".

  • During the cross-examination of Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, Samsung's attorney tried to get the executive to talk about a product that hasn't been announced yet. He asked whether Apple's next iPhone model would look anything like existing versions, or if changes were in store. 

  • Peter Bressler -- a former president of the Industrial Designers Society and the founder and board chair of product design firm Bresslergroup -- said numerous Samsung designs infringed on Apple's patents, implying it is possible that consumers may confuse the two devices.  

  • Samsung chief strategy officer Justin Denison denies that the company is copying anything, finding the idea "offensive". 

     "At Samsung, we're very very proud of the products we produce, of all the hard work that goes into bringing those products to market. What we would like to be able to do is simply compete in the market, continue what we've been doing for the last 15 years in the market."

  • An Apple expert acknowledged that even if Samsung's products are similar enough to Apple's to confuse consumers, it doesn't stand to follow that Apple's sales are harmed. 

  • Apple called upon the testimony of Massachusetts Institute of Technology marketing professor John Hauser to explain survey results claiming that Samsung consumers would pay anywhere from $39 to $100 for Apple's features --  the same ones being fought over in court. 

  • The testimony of one of Samsung's key designers was scrapped by Koh. Lead designer for Samsung's F700 phone, Hyong Shin Park, was barred after an Apple request. Park had previously said that the designs were inspired by a "bowl of water" rather than copied technology. Apple argued her testimony was irrelevant.  

Evidence points of note:

  • Some of Apple's entered exhibits seem to show that Samsung's phones only began looking similar to an iPhone in 2010. Other slides were submitted but had to be changed following objections by Samsung. 

  • A piece of evidence which is submitted to court is obtained by AllThingsD, which is a translation of a report prepared by Samsung in 2010 that directly compares the iPhone to the Galaxy S. In the document, the firm compares hundreds of aspects between the two devices, noting key differences and areas for improvement.

  • Following on, one of the first iPad prototypes is excluded as evidence in the trial, despite it having been shown to jurors. 

  • In addition, another report produced by Samsung at court, contained Apple's internal research data. It suggests that most U.S. phone shoppers bought an Android device instead of an iPhone in order to stick with their carrier.
  • A consumer survey Apple sponsored and completed in 2008, shown as evidence, found there was confusion about whether the Galaxy Tab was a Samsung product or an iPad. In reprisal, Samsung used the simple function of turning different device models on -- two phones and a tablet -- to contend the idea that consumers could become confused looking at each model.

  • During the testimony of Ravin Balakrishnan, a professor in the department of computer science at the University of Toronto, Apple brought out two of Samsung's internal usability studies -- one for a smartphone and another for a tablet. Direct instructions were found within to "mimic" Apple's software

  • An internal memo raised at court, addressed to Samsung's "UX [user experience] executives," makes it clear that designers and developers should take "lessons" from the iPhone, but not copy it

    See also: Apple's original 'copying' presentation to Samsung

.. anything else?

A wealth of sensitive company data concerning both companies has been released, despite both firms pleading for exclusion from the public domain. Since the iPad launched in Q2 2010, Apple has sold 32 million iPads in the United States. In comparison, within the timeframe, Samsung sold only 1.4 million tablets.

Apple has also accused Samsung of stealing their icons, in addition to the original patent complaint. Apple's director of patent licensing and strategy also said that the firm approached Samsung in 2010 over patent infringement. 

In court, it was revealed that Apple offered to license patents to Samsung based on fees of $30 per smartphone, and $40 per tablet.

A long-running patent deal between Apple and Microsoft came to light next at the trial, which acknowledges there's no cloning of the iPhone on the Windows phone model. Specific rules are in place to prevent "clone" products. 

Three of Samsung's allegedly infringing phones were excluded from the trial yesterday. The Galaxy Ace, Galaxy S i9000, and Galaxy S II i9100 are now no longer under contention.


"I want papers. I don't trust what any lawyer tells me in this courtroom. I want to see actual papers."

We may be seeing more new details appearing which include business dealings between both the rival firms and other corporations enter the public domain soon. In a court ruling issued by Koh, taking into consideration many appeals of privacy have been ignored, the judge wrote:

"Although the Court has generally allowed royalty terms of licensing agreements to be sealed, Samsung is seeking to seal a proposed royalty rate between the two litigants. This information is important to the parties' damages calculations and therefore important for the public's understanding of this case."

So far in the high-profile battle, information has been made public that the two firms probably both regret. However, as the trial is highly unlikely to finish any time soon, these facts will not be the last we learn about the two technology giants. 


14 August: Samsung's senior designer Jeeyuen Wang takes the stand, and attempted to quash claims that Samsung's phone and photography app iconography was a copy of Apple's. 

14 August: U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh seems to have had her fill of 'courtroom theatrics' (think back on Apple appeals and Samsung releasing information to the press). She told the court on Tuesday after Apple raised objections to one of Samsung's witnesses, trying to block Tim Williams, Ph.D., one of Samsung's expert witnesses from testifying:

15 August: Koh told the CEOs of the two firms to lock themselves in a room and fight it out before the jury decides, talks in court resulted in a discussion of a low-level cellular-communications chip in Apple's iPhone, and one of Samsung's head designers says the company was working on tablet design well before the iPad's debut.

See also, just for fun: CNET's Chris Matyszczyk acts the clueless consumer in Best Buy to confuse Apple and Samsung products.

16 August: It seems the judge's patience is wearing thin, after asking if Apple was "smoking crack" when handed a last-minute witness list -- all 75 pages of it. Hours afterwards, Koh questioned Samsung's strategy, saying it may have burned up too much of its time cross-examining Apple's witnesses -- using 14 of its 25 hours -- rather than presenting its own case. 

Samsung rested its case after putting witnesses on to the stand that said the iPhone maker may owe as much as $421.8 million in royalty payments.

17 August: Apple and Samsung today both ran through the last few hours -- or in Samsung's case, just minutes -- of their allotted 25 hours for rebuttals and clarifications. Still ahead are closing arguments in which the two companies get their last chance to convince a jury of nine that the other company is infringing on its technology. 

20 August: Samsung CEO Kwon Oh Hyun had a chat with Apple CEO Tim Cook, but failed to reach a deal. In addition, Motorola Mobility filed new patent infringement claims against Apple, and wants its range of desktop and mobile devices banned from U.S. sale.

In court, one of Apple's experts recreated a 1994 tablet prototype.

Facing disclosure to a jury that both Apple and Samsung failed to uphold document retention laws, the two companies struck a deal to keep the matter of lost emails private. However, Koh had her own problems to deal with -- believing that the jury will have trouble tallying up damages for the two rival firms.

In a separate case from the one in San Jose, Apple began arguing for an appeals court to go through with a ban on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus.

See also: Mutually Assured Destruction: Google/Motorola vs. Apple

21 August: Interested in seeing sketches from the courtroom? 

22 August: The closing arguments are in. Apple relied on Samsung's documents to try and prove patent infringement, whereas Samsung argued that siding with the rival firm would change the "way competition works in this country".

Deliberations begin on Wednesday.

25 August: The verdict is in.

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.