30 Case Studies in Business Ethics and Corporate Governance
by Samsung against Apple relates to ﬁ ve patent infringements in regard to the optimization of data
transmission and synchronization of the phone with the PC.
According to Apple Insider, Android fans accuse the people at Apple that they copied Samsung
products. In support of this statement, a viral document was released containing an info graphics with a
comparison between Samsung F700 terminal and a ﬁ rst-generation iPhone.
IMPACT ON SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIP
The relation between Samsung and Apple is very strange; this is because of the fact that unlike HTC,
Samsung is not just a smartphone manufacturer, but it is a company that manufactures important
components of smartphones such as SSD and CCD. In 2010, Apple purchased US$57 billion worth of
components, becoming the second largest customer of Samsung after Sony.
If the supply relationship between Samsung and Apple becomes strained as a result of this lawsuit, it
could eventually make it harder for Apple to source parts, and it could also signiﬁ cantly affect Samsung’s
bottom line. Also, Apple has already been lining up some alternate supply relationships that could help
it sidestep Samsung altogether should the need arise.
Apple knows that Samsung is currently crucial to its ability to get product in stores, but because of
the way patent law works, Apple basically had to sue Samsung to protect its intellectual property since
Galaxy devices blatantly copy Apple’s designs. The way patent law is set up, Apple had to sue ﬁ rst and
then negotiate later in order to work out potential licensing deals with Samsung. Continuing to let things
slide would have weakened its claims regarding held patents.
IPR as Strategic Advantage
Apple’s lawsuit action against Samsung has made wide-ranging charges about intellectual property
theft in the areas of methods, designs and general approaches on Samsung. Apple has speciﬁ c rights
over its unique, patented methods for Multi-Touch, but is it right to patent the general approach of
interfacing with a device by “tapping and swiping” ﬁ ngers on a screen.
The lawsuit against Samsung provides the following strategic advantages to Apple:
The company gets publicity. It establishes Apple’s design and methods and other aspects of its 1.
business as off limits.
It motivates the competitors to avoid building products that have similarities to iOS devices, 2.
which has helped Apple differentiate its brand in the marketplace now and will continue to do
so in the future.
STRATEGIES APPLE MAY ADOPT TO PROTECT ITSELF FROM
Apple corporate’s patent strategy may focus on the following two things to protect its patents from
Management strategy:1. Patent rights are very useful in corporate management and acts as an
important weapon in the hands of management. Apple can use patents as a form of “goods”
and earn royalties on patents.
Technology strategy2. : Patent system is essential for the generation of new ideas and new
technologies. In the United States, patents can be ﬁ led on the basis of the ideas alone rather
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