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Silicon Valley giants side with Samsung in a dispute with Apple

Google, Facebook, eBay, and others have submitted a "friend of the court" brief, supporting Samsung against Apple in an ongoing patent legal battle.

Published onJuly 21, 2015

Patent lawsuit shutterstock

Apple and Samsung have been arguing in court over various patent infringements for years now and the proceedings are still apparently ongoing. In the latest development, a number of Silicon Valley’s top firms, including Google, Facebook, HP, Dell and eBay, submitted a “friend of the court” brief on July 1st in support of Samsung, according to a newly sourced document.

For a little background, Samsung was initially order to turn over all of the profits from its Galaxy devices that the court decided were infringing on various Apple intellectual property. Patents ranged from tap-to-zoom, finger scrolling and edge-to-edge glass design, just to name a few.

The original case would have cost Samsung close to $1 billion, but the amount was reduced to $548 million following an appeal. Samsung wants the decision completely reversed.

The document signed by numerous tech giants shows support for Samsung because other companies are worried that the ruling sets a precedent and could have an impact on their own incentives to invest in future research and development. Particularly, that the current ruling could “lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components.”.

“Under the panel’s reasoning, the manufacturer of a smart television containing a component that infringed any single design patent could be required to pay in damages its total profit on the entire television, no matter how insignificant the design of the infringing feature was to the manufacturer’s profit or to consumer demand.“

Essentially, the concern is that expensive and inclusive nature of these type of patent disputes could stifle innovation. Even one small and seemingly insignificant component can apparently lead to all of the profits generated from a bigger product being surrendered.

Apple has reportedly asked for a dismissal of Google’s involvement in the briefing, as its Android operating system powers Samsung’s handsets. We will have to wait and see if the intervention of Silicon Valley’s finest can tip the balance in Samsung’s favour.

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