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Thu, 9 Feb 2012 09:56:11 EST Apple is no stranger to lawsuits. Defending its position in both the tablet and smartphone markets mean that the industry giant has had to get its own hands dirty with litigation and lawsuits all over the world. In the run up to Christmas, Apple battled it out with Samsung, claiming that Samsung had 'slavishly' copied elements of their iPhone and iPad devices.
This later amounted to 20 cases in 10 different countries, where the original Samsung Galaxy 10.1 was banned in Germany and was temporarily banned in Australia.
This has resulted in a sizeable consumer backlash. For many Android users, the Samsung Galaxy series of devices represents some of the best performing smartphones and tablets in the market at present and the resulting ban did little to convince Android users to warm to the Apple brand. Yet, it runs much deeper than a legal game of one-upmanship.
This has of course had a knock on effect for the manufacturers of Apple and Samsung cases. The Snugg, an international retailer of iPad 2 Cases, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Kindle Fire Cases, has noted the effects of these legal disputes on the market as a whole.
The Snugg's Managing Director, Mr Richard Mercer states that:
'According to Mashable, Apple rely heavily on Samsung behind the scenes, Apple spent $8 billion on parts through a deal with Samsung last year. So for anyone that's ever tried to buy a brand new iPhone or iPad soon after the release date, they'll know how hard it is for Apple to keep up with demand. To lose Samsung would have hugely negative ramifications for Apple's ability to meet demand, as they would be forced to source these parts from other suppliers and then spend time reorganising and managing the resulting supply chain'.
Things are set to grow worse for Apple, as Samsung aims to ban sales of the iPhone 4S device in Australia, not long after Samsung's own temporary ban was lifted.
'The timing of this legal backlash for Apple is considerably poor, after the loss of Steve Jobs, the release of the Kindle Fire and signs that Apple's growth may well be slowing according to analysts at Forbes, some would argue that Apple is about to receive its comeuppance. GSM Arena reports that Motorola has just won a patent victory over Apple's use of their GPRS data transmission standard without having paid the licensing fees, forcing Apple to axe all of its 3G products from their online German store. This has potential to be enforced across the EU if Apple fails to negotiate a deal with Motorola in the near future' says Mr Mercer.
So what does this mean for the industry as a whole? Well it shows us that Apple is far from infallible. The legal clout it wielded with such gusto last year looks to be aimed against it by its competitors; which could result in an increasing wave of litigation against not just Apple, but many of the other larger competitors in the smartphone and tablet industries. However, such a bleak scenario may instead force these companies to reconsider filing a lawsuit against another competitor over the design of their device's 'rounded corners'.
'The use of another company's technology and unpaid licensing fees in one thing, but cosmetic design features and user interface design is highly subjective; Samsung isn't the first company to be inspired by market leading innovations and nor will it be the last. Does the industry then thrive on suing their competitors over the grey areas? I don't believe they should, this damages relations and makes for a nasty kind of competitiveness that can often affect the loyalties of their own consumers. Many of Apple's own loyalists argue that Apple should instead be focussing their energy and resources on developing the 'next big thing' be it the iPad 3 or iPhone 5, as they don't believe the competition can come close anyway. As an accessory provider, we want to be developing cases for the latest and greatest devices, as we did with our Kindle Fire Case and our best-selling iPad 2 Case, not having to redesign our lines to accommodate an older revised model, because the company was sued over the width of their screen bezel' adds Mr Mercer.
A state of equilibrium in the smartphone and tablet markets seems a while away and so for the time being, manufacturers will continue to try and gain an edge wherever they can, either through innovative design or more nefarious means.
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The Snugg has been offering its customers the opportunity to safeguard their technological assets with stylish, quality cases since their formation in 2010. Based in Bolton, the company operates internationally across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China and the US, becoming a best-seller in five territories.
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Apple is no stranger to lawsuits. Defending its position in both the tablet and smartphone markets mean that the industry giant has had to get its own hands dirty with litigation and lawsuits all over the world. In the run up to Christmas, Apple battled it out with Samsung, claiming that Samsung had 'slavishly' copied elements of their iPhone and iPad devices.