Dear Judge Koh: Competition Is No Reason To Ban A Phone

from the that's-ridiculous dept

We already had mentioned that Apple had succeeded in getting a rare pre-trial injunction against Samsung's tablets, but now it's also succeeded in blocking the Galaxy Nexus phone as well, though the judge's reasoning is a bit bizarre:
"Apple has made a clear showing that, in the absence of a preliminary injunction, it is likely to lose substantial market share in the smartphone market and to lose substantial downstream sales of future smartphone purchases and tag-along products," Judge Koh said in Friday's ruling.
First of all, this seems to be yet another admission by Apple that it just can't compete in the marketplace against Samsung. Such a ruling seems to scream out to potential buyers: hey, check out the devices that even Apple admits you'd want over its own. But, more importantly, "losing substantial market share" is what competition is all about. If someone comes out with a better product, then the other company should lose substantial market share. That doesn't deserve an injunction. That harms the market, who clearly -- even by Apple's own admission, apparently -- wants the other product more.

The fact that two phones will compete is no reason to ban a phone. Let them compete. Let the market decide.

Even more bizarre is why an injunction should be issued at all. Following the MercExchange decision, courts are only supposed to issue injunctions in exceptional cases. If it's an issue that can be dealt with by requiring a royalty, then there's no reason to issue an injunction.

Samsung, of course, is appealing this and asking that the injunction be put on hold until that appeal is heard. In the meantime, some are pointing out that, for all of Apple's insistence that Samsung copied the designs of its phone and tablet from Apple, you could easily make the argument that Apple got some inspiration from Samsung as well:
And really, that's the point. Innovation and advancement involve all sorts of copying, but also improvements. It goes back and forth. Attacking one party for copying another misses the point, limits competition and harms consumers. It's too bad the US patent system and the courts now want to aid that process.

Filed Under: android, competition, injunction, iphone, lucy koh, patents
Companies: apple, samsung

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    BrandMan, 2 Jul 2012 @ 3:12pm

    H8ers Need to Eat Some Apple Pi

    The F700 angle has been shown false. Some have said, given the debunking, that all this shows is that companies can sometimes come up with similar designs at the same time, purely by coincidence.

    Has everyone forgotten that Samsung manufactures the screens for iPhones? Apple had to deliver to Samsung their specs and technical diagrams so that the screens could be made.

    Samsung then took that information and immediately began constructing a look-alike, in true Asian-Corporate fashion. They may not have had the iOS, but they sure-as-shit could make a look-alike and knock off the superior Apple design. Those who couldn't afford an iPhone could still have a device that LOOKED like one.

    Then Android came along, partly designed by an ex-Apple employee, and Samsung then had their look-alike OS as well.

    Anyone who thinks this is just "competition" is fooling themselves: This is brand/design piracy. Unlike what is bandied about as "piracy" these days when we mean "infringement", what Samsuck is doing is profiting from the rip off of Apple's designs, for which Apple has paid a great deal, in large part to distinguish their products from others in the same space.

    The problem is that Apple's competitors DON'T WANT their products to be easily distinguishable. They want to draft Apple for the little uptick in momentum that they can get, while letting Apple do all the heavy lifting and face the wind head-on.

    From a design perspective, Samsung resembles a leech.

    Think about it: If I start a car company, and make a "Hot, New Retro Muscle Car" and make it look *almost exactly* like the new redesigned Dodge Challenger, would you say that Dodge was just being "fearful" that they couldn't compete if they sought an injunction?

    Hell no, you'd say I should get sued.

    And you'd be right.

    What people have to realize is that knock-offs do more than just cannibalize sales: they create confusion in the market and allow inferior products to masquerade as industry front-runners.

    Perhaps this is the cross the front-runner must bear, but that doesn't mean you have to take it sitting down.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.