Business | Technology

Apple victory won't affect Samsung sales in UAE

Ruling will send manufacturers back to the drawing board as they design smartphones, tablets to avoid violating patents

  • By Naushad K. Cherrayil, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 17:26 August 26, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: EPA
  • A store of Samsung Electronics Co. in Seoul’s Gangnam Ward, South Korea. Samsung will file an appeal against a US court ruling that awarded Apple Inc more than $1.05 billion in a patent infringement case, a spokesman said. The South Korean company said that if its plan to overturn the jury’s decision is unsuccessful, it will turn to the appeals court.

Dubai: Apple may have won a resounding victory in a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics, but its effect won’t likely be felt in the UAE anytime soon, an industry expert said.

“As of now, none of the Samsung smartphone or tablet sales are going to be impacted in the region. It will be business as usual,” Niranjan Gidwani, Deputy CEO, Eros Group, main distributor for Samsung products, told Gulf News.

He said it will take only months for Samsung to redesign their smartphones if Apple wins the case; however. other Android vendors could suffer more.

Many of the infringements are endemic to the Android operating system. For that matter, the fondle-slab design for phone and tablets is a fundamental part of the Google mobile platform. Samsung lost the game, but the jury’s decision will have an even greater effect in the ongoing game between Apple and Google.

Samsung is fuelling the growing popularity of the Google system, according to research firm IDC. The manufacturer shipped 44 per cent of all Android smartphones worldwide in the second quarter. Already, smartphones powered by Android made up about 68 per cent of worldwide shipments in the second quarter, according to IDC, compared with Apple’s 17 per cent.

“Samsung will definitely file for an appeal,” Gidwani said.

Appeal to take time

Still, a lot hinges on what happens next in court, with the case likely to be tied up in appeal for some time. A September 20 hearing will consider whether to overturn or modify the jury verdict, whether to impose “punitive” damages which would triple the fine, and whether to issue injunctions against Samsung.

A critical factor is whether Apple will be able to obtain a permanent injunction on sales of infringing Samsung devices, and whether this would be enforced during the appeal.

Analysts say that aside from Samsung, Google could be the big loser, especially if Apple pursues its litigation against other manufacturers.

According to Paul Allen, head of intellectual property and technology, DLA Piper Middle East, the jury wanted to send a message to the industry at large that patent infringement is not the right thing to do. “Smartphone patent wars are taking place in many courts in this country, and all over the world,” he said.

“This is the first time that the court has found that one of these manufacturers has infringed patents of a company like Apple. So, it really is pivotal because Samsung is the leading manufacturer of smartphones in the US today.”

Market jurisdiction

He said Samsung can still sell their products in the UAE as the patents are not protected here. Apple needs to bring jurisdiction to each market.

Some experts predict the ruling will send manufacturers back to the drawing board as they attempt to design smartphones and tablets to avoid violating Apple’s patents.

Apple has been battling Samsung and other manufacturers which use the free Android system as they eat away its market share in the lucrative market for smartphones and tablet computers.

“I think this will force a reset on Android products as they are reengineered to get around Apple’s patents,” Rob Enderle, a technology analyst and consultant with the Enderle Group, said. But Enderle said other companies may benefit from the decision, including Microsoft, which has been lagging in the mobile sector, and Blackberry maker Research in Motion, which has been hit hardest by the rise of Android devices.

The court ruling, Enderle said, “should provide a stronger opportunity for both of Microsoft’s new platforms — Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 — because they come with indemnification against Apple, suddenly making them far safer and possibly a faster way to get the product to the market.”

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