A little “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours” seems to be going down between handset makers Samsung and Apple during their ongoing patent battle, only Apple has become that kid that never ends up showing theirs.
In mid-April, Apple filed a lawsuit claiming that Samsung infringed on patents with regards to the design of its products. Last week, Federal Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Apple can have a sneak peak of soon-to-be-released Samsung devices to ensure that the products don’t infringe on Apple’s patents. Samsung has been forced to provide five of its devices to Apple: the Galaxy S II, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, the Infuse 4G, and the Infuse 4G LTE. The court hasn’t yet formed an official conclusion, but Judge Koh did make a point of mentioning that thus far, evidence points toward the notion that Samsung may have imitated Apple’s designs.
“Apple has produced images of Samsung products and other evidence that provide a reasonable basis for Apple’s belief that Samsung’s new products are designed to mimic Apple’s products,” said Koh. This shouldn’t be too big of a blow to Samsung, though, as only Apple’s legal team was granted access to the forthcoming Samsung products. Since the Samsung Galaxy S II and Infuse 4G are already available in the U.K. and U.S., the engineers back in Cupertino will really only be excluded from checking out three of the five devices in question.
It all started on April 18, when Apple accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying its iPad and iPod designs. South Korea-based Samsung responded by accusing Apple of copying its own designs. After a month or two of back-and-forth, things seem to be swinging in the latter’s favor after Koh’s ruling last week.
What’s interesting is that Samsung and Apple actually engage in a pretty symbiotic relationship. Samsung provides LCD panels and semiconductors needed to create iPads and iPhones, whereas Apple takes the cake as Samsung’s number one customer. Nonetheless, the gruesome duel underway between both companies’ legal teams may cause disintegration within the relationship.