The latest development in the patent war could set a precedent for the industry.
The drawn out patent infringement lawsuit surrounding Samsung’s use of patented Apple features has resulted in yet another round being awarded to Apple as the two giants continue to war however Samsung may walk away stronger in the end.
Apple’s court of appeals victory over Samsung will see the ongoing case referred back to the US District Court after to reconsider the injunction. Apple successfully argued that Samsung’s use of patented Apple features such as the slide-to-unlock feature resulted in a loss of sales.
A win for Apple in the US District Court is being heralded as having wide-ranging effects on the patent landscape. The case will set a precedent and could make it easier for patent holders to enforce sales bans on competitors' products.
Major technology firms have grown increasingly concerned by this possibility, which would give a patent holder an unfair leverage, and as a result they have rallied behind Samsung. In a joint court filing to the Federal Circuit Court in July Facebook, Google, ebay and Hewlett-Packard argued that a ruling in Apple's favour would have "significant detrimental consequences for the continued development of useful modern technologies" and called for the injunction to be thrown out.
However, the impact may not be as reverberating as some fear. The patent tussle between Apple and Samsung has being going on since 2011 and in that time Samsung has been bracing itself for the possibility of an injunction. The Korean firm has designed around the features or abandoned them completely, instead focusing on new innovative ideas of its own and strengthening its brand image as autonomous rather than a copying its larger rival.
Samsung has introduced ideas of its own which Apple has then followed up on such as phablets. The larger smartphones category is three times bigger than it was last year and while Apple’s iPhone 6+ and incoming 6S+ will likely take a share of the market that Samsung’s Galaxy 6S edge+ otherwise would. But Samsung has shown that it can lead the way with new ideas that prove successful and so being forced to shift its focus away from Apple’s features will only lead it once again down its own path of innovation.