Houston residents are aware of the litigation currently pending between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics. This blog covered the matter a couple of weeks ago. The business litigation surrounds Apple's accusations that Samsung has copied designs of Apple's iPad and iPhone, while at the same time Samsung is countering that Apple drew inspiration for its product from Sony Corp. Last week, the trial officially began with its initial rounds of testimony.
It is possible that this case will bring forward many design and trade secrets that had been intentionally kept under wraps. This is due to necessity in determining whether a design was copied, but can be an understandably frustrating thing to go through for a company like Apple that values its development secrecy to go through. Thus far in the trial, Apple has brought out many early designs of its disputed products as well as other research they had done in the development process.
The most heated issue surrounds Apple's touch screen feature. Samsung has a tablet that sports a 7 inch screen, and Apple is said to be in the process of producing a product with a 7 inch screen in response to beliefs this product will become a market desire. Competition in the product market doesn't mean that a business is stealing designs rather than they wish to continue to hold a place in the market. In Apple's case, they would continue to use their own touch screen technology that Apple argues they built personally from employees within the company.
Disputes that involve patents can be tricky, especially with the possibility of highly similar products in the market that could appear to be copied. However, as consumers know, competition is the nature of our market and companies that wish to stay relevant must either move ahead of or move with their competitors. For Apple as well as Samsung, revealing early processes and designs of their products can do a lot to show whether items were copied or developed originally.
Source: WSJ.com, "Apple's Secrets Revealed at Trial," Ian Sherr, Aug. 5, 2012