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

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  1. icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), 2 Jul 2012 @ 3:28pm

    Re: H8ers Need to Eat Some Apple Pi

    Anyone who thinks this is just "competition" is fooling themselves: This is brand/design piracy.
    No, you're wrong, it's competition.

    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?
    Yes, if Dodge went all law-suity, I would say they were afraid of the competition.

    Hell no, you'd say I should get sued.
    Nope, I wouldn't.

    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.
    Don't agree on cannabalizing sales: in point of fact, there is often an increase in sales as people who can afford the knockoff buy it who would never have been able to afford the "real thing" in the first place. Also, those knock-offs force prices downward, which is good for consumers, especially on ultra-high margin items. Furthermore, I truly doubt anyone has been confused into thinking an Android phone is an iPhone.

    p.s. In future posts, you might want to provide some actual facts to back up your positions. Here you just come off sounding like an Apple fanboi.

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