So, as you’ve likely heard, over the weekend Apple beat up Samsung in court and took $1 billion of its lunch money. The bellyaching about this has been enormous. Samsung called it “a loss for the American consumer.” Apple called it a huge victory. In short, everybody wants to weigh this as a win or a loss for somebody, but really, in the end, the only winners here will be patent lawyers.
There are two problems with this “victory.” One, Samsung, facing a billion dollar fine and essentially having all of its products thrown off the American market, will almost certainly appeal. And bluntly it’s unlikely Apple will win such a thorough victory the second time around. There’s already chatter that Samsung can easily get this verdict overturned.
Secondly, Apple now has to win this fight against every other company in every other nation in the entire freaking world. It’s actually already lost one in South Korea. It’s currently got dozens of these cases going in countries across the world. It can’t win all of them, and those it doesn’t win, it’ll have to appeal. This isn’t even considering the distinct possibility Apple might lose a court case where it’s the defendant. You know, like the one Google has going against it right now.
It’s true that the company stands to make billions if these patents stand and Android users have to give Apple a nickel every time they have a little slidy unlocky thing or something. But eventually it’s going to realize it can’t win and will eventually do what this industry has done every time lawsuits fail like they always do: Get together, decide on some standards and move on.
In short, all that’s happened here is that Apple and Samsung have wasted an awful lot of money. Hooray?
image courtesy Rockbandit on Flickr