Why isn’t Samsung talking about their victory over Apple?

June 5, 2013
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Yesterday, we told you about the breaking news of Samsung’s court win against Apple. That case, in which the US International Trade Commission ruled Apple violated a Samsung patent, resulted in a sales and import ban of some Apple devices. None of those devices are current, but another interesting thing has come of the case: Samsung hasn’t said a word about it.

As the two tech magnates sue each other across the globe, in any court that will have them, we are left to ponder why Samsung isn’t responding to this victory. A sign of regret, or perhaps peace on the horizon? Unlikely, as Apple seems to enjoy litigation, and Samsung has made it clear they have no intent on making peace with the Cupertino-based company any time soon.

What happened?

We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling, and we plan to appeal.
Kristin Huguet, Apple spokesperson

We’ll make this snappy; Apple was hit with a temporary sales ban on devices for violating a Samsung patent. That patent, number 7,706,384 or “apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system”, had been argued by Apple to be “standards essential”. The sales ban only affects older Apple devices available through AT&T.

Samsung Logo 645px

Perception

Samsung is seen as a bully by many, a multinational tech behemoth running roughshod over the competition. They also famously raised the price of the processors they sold Apple after the $1 billion decision against them, a polarizing decision at best. They dominate the tech landscape, have become nearly ubiquitous with Android, and dumped about $10 billion into marketing the Galaxy S4. They are, undoubtedly, a force.

To boast about a small victory would strengthen that divide in opinion Samsung is very aware of. Already seen as overbearing by some, announcing victory on the battlefield would be poor form. To proclaim your superiority at this stage in the game only increases Apple sentiment, and vitriol toward Samsung. While feelings don’t win court cases, they do influence consumers.

Big picture

Let’s put this decision into perspective: it’s one ruling, on older devices, which needs a presidential veto to be overturned, and will be appealed by Apple. Where is the win, here? This is like the delivery pizza guy arriving late, with a cold pie. The devices in question, iPhone 3 through 4S and iPod 2 3G, are antiquated. Aside from the 4S, which will be dated soon enough (and can be had for a dollar on contract), none of the rest matter.

Is a presidential veto likely? No, but an appeal is definite. Apple has voiced their displeasure in the ruling, and promising to challenge the decision. Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet said “We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling, and we plan to appeal.” Samsung might be making strides in their worldwide litigation against Apple, but this is a small decision in their favor that promises to drag out like the rest.

US DOJ vs Apple

Now what?

Though Apple sees the technology as “standards essential”, meaning it’s technology that is widely used and should be considered under FRAND guidelines for licensing, they have since moved away from the technology which violated this patent. Their cat-and-mouse game may be catching up with them.

Apple also has other issues. They’re about to lock horns with the US Department of Justice over a very damning case of eBook price fixing. That case, which is ripe with Apple work product showing collusion to manipulate the eBook market, is not going to be pretty. Samsung may present a headache, but the US government is another issue altogether.

Samsung really has no reason to gloat. This is a case which has no bearing on current products, and is an ancillary concern for both parties. The Apple appeal is de rigueur for them, so the victory is hollow for Samsung. Samsung’s legal team is crafty, so they’ll let the US DOJ set the precedent for Apple business practises, not this case.

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