Samsung and Apple have been sparring recently: two commercial giants waging war around the globe, each accusing each other of violating patency laws.
The saga began last year when Apple sued Samsung, saying the Korean company had copied certain design features of its iPhone and iPad – most notably the rounded corners. After three days of deliberation in a US Federal Court, the jury found in Apple’s favour and ordered Samsung to pay just over $1 billion in damages. Samsung countersued, saying Apple had infringed their patency rights on wireless communications and camera phones.
The whole thing is reminiscent of those infantile arguments where one school child reproaches another for copying his ideas. But there is nothing paltry about this copycat dispute. The protracted battle has been played out in court rooms across ten different countries, Samsung temporarily had some of its products banned and being ordered to pay a £1 billion compensation pay-out is (for most) nothing short of financially crippling.
The battle continues and neither can afford to give up: it has come this far and now there is simply too much at stake. And while Apple and Samsung vie for supremacy to be top of the mobile market, the rest of the world looks on, by now slightly bemused at all the suing and countersuing. But there is one important lesson to be learnt here, and that is the value of protection. Nobody wants to be faced with a similar legal wrangle, where another company steals your brilliant ideas, or even worse, accuses you of copying theirs.
It is therefore essential you safeguard your position using all the means available to you. If you are working on an original product, protect it under the Copyright, Designs and Patency Act 1988. If you are concerned information could be leaked, ask staff and anyone else privy to undisclosed details to sign a confidentiality agreement. If you have a new design, register it with the Intellectual Property Office. These are just some of the steps you can take, all of which will reduce the prospects of you facing a plagiarism dispute.
A commercial solicitor will be able to advise you about the ways in which you can protect your business. Different approaches will suit different enterprises, and it is vital to devise a watertight strategy that will work for you. As the fight between Apple and Samsung shows, such a dispute is draining, both emotionally and financially. It is best to take action now, before it becomes a problem.
For more information about this article or any aspect of our commercial legal services, please call us on 01772 424999, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form below.