Who pays the price in the smartphone market fight

NEW YORK | It is a battle that started about two years ago. Samsung and Apple’s endless dispute over intellectual property arrives to court this Monday in California. Together the two companies account for more than 50 percent of all the world’s smartphone sales. A jury will have to determine if any of them has infringed copyright laws against the other.

phoneOn one side of the ring, Apple, that filed a lawsuit against Samsung last year, says that its South Korean competitor is copying iPhone and iPad products for its Galaxy devices. Tim Cook’s company is demanding $2.5bn in damages- it would be the largest patent-related verdict to date.

Samsung, which sells many components to Apple, counter reclaims that they are the ones being stolen and that Apple copied its iconic iPhone from Sony.

Millions of dollars are on stake. Both giants have put their legal departments to work in order to get the biggest chunk of the US smartphone and computer tablet markets. The jury will hear evidence from both sides for at least four weeks and their separate testimonies by the end of August.

So we’ll have legal soap opera for the summer. Yet this is probably not the first time you hear about this issue since it’s one of some 50 lawsuits among smartphone companies: HTC and Motorola Mobility, which Google bought last year, are also fighting for the pole position.

What about consumers? Are these patent wars good for competition and innovation? Some experts doubt it and think that they punish firms for borrowing and expanding on ideas. Apple’s Mac OS and Microsoft’s Windows operating system have “common” content indeed, since both firms have “borrowed” technology from one another. As a result, their operating systems came up stronger.

About the Author

Ana Fuentes
Columnist for El País and a contributor to SER (Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión), was the first editor-in-chief of The Corner. Currently based in Madrid, she has been a correspondent in New York, Beijing and Paris for several international media outlets such as Prisa Radio, Radio Netherlands or CNN en español. Ana holds a degree in Journalism from the Complutense University in Madrid and the Sorbonne University in Paris, and a Master's in Journalism from Spanish newspaper El País.

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