Apple vs Samsung: conflict on patents
In this conflict in the USA, between Apple and Samsung, in relation with the infringement of several patents of Apple, Samsung, that has been already been condemned, has just obtained a small victory consisting in the reduction of the compensation payable to the giant of electronics industry from the USA.
Indeed, at first, compensation by Samsung was evaluated in 1,005 million dollars, a figure that was down to 929 million. Recently, a Court of Appeal in Washington, denying the existence of an infringement by Samsung of a specific Apple patent covering the design of a Smartphone, further reduced such compensation. According to the Korean company, the amount payable should decrease about 382 million dollars more.
The case at issue, a quite spectacular one that started already in 2012, the same year of the case between Lego and Best-Lock, is interesting because it shows the value that an Intellectual Property asset can reach.
As we often say to Startups and SMEs, a proper strategy to protect their intangible assets, should not be limited to register a trade mark or obtain a grant of patent, but it should also take in consideration that a conflict with third parties could arise and including this hypothesis in the framework of an overall protection strategy.
Although, in such cases, we usually advise to try to find a good agreement between the parties, likewise the one achieved between Apple and Ericsson, it is important to be aware that sometimes the conflict is imposed as an essential tool in order to satisfy Intellectual Property rights.
It is both a delicate and dangerous aspect. Indeed, most of the time conflicts are not seen at beginning, they arise only later, once the value of intangible asset starts to increase or when it begins to bother competitors somehow.
Therefore, it is important that any Intellectual Property right is accompanied by a proper contractual legal framework, in order to prevent, avoid or reduce the risk of disputes with third parties (competitors, suppliers, designers, etc.).
Alessandro DI MARCO