Silicon Valley sides with Samsung in Apple patent case

21 Jul 2015

It appears some of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley, including Facebook and Google, have gotten in the corner of Samsung in the ongoing patent battle between the South Korean manufacturer and Apple.

Along with Facebook and Google, Dell, HP and eBay issued a joint ‘friend of the court’ briefing asking the US Federal Appeals Court to look again at the ruling that Samsung should have to pay out profits as part of the recent Apple patent case.

According to Inside Sources, the rather influential coalition’s argument states that it believes that such a ruling has the potential to seriously limit innovation within the industry while also limiting choice for the consumer in the future.

Specifically, the group says that the nature of consumer technology containing thousands of components means that a one-size-fits-all patent, whereby one infringed component leads to receiving the profits of the entire unit, is simply not fair.

Challenge to innovation

In its brief issued to the appeals court, the group said of its backing of Samsung: “If allowed to stand, that decision will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies, including [the briefing draftees], who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components.”

To date, Samsung has been forced by US courts to pay approximately US$2bn in various patent infringement cases, not all successful, but were required to pay out significant portions of Samsung’s profits to Apple as a result.

Apple, meanwhile, is not too pleased with being ganged up on by its Silicon Valley neighbours and has specifically challenged Google’s involvement in its support of Samsung.

Apple has argued in a statement that Google’s involvement with Samsung in providing the Android operating system to the phone manufacturer means it is not impartial in its support.

“Google has a strong interest in this particular case, is not an impartial ‘friend of the court,’ and should not be permitted to expand Samsung’s word limit under the guise of an amicus brief,” Apple said.

Map of San Francisco image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic