The Android Wars: A Case Study of Apple v. Samsung

The Android Wars: A Case Study of Apple v. Samsung
September 1, 2013 Gary

In my first post, I wrote about SVAMC offering innovative ways of thinking about tech dispute resolution. In this post, I share with you some thoughts – and some deeper legal thinking – on current issues confronting the tech industry and the use of arbitration to resolve these disputes.

Patent portfolios and multi-million dollar patent litigation battles have characterized the technology sector, especially the smartphone and tablet industry, in recent years. On a daily basis, there are new legal disputes between the world’s most prolific technology companies including Apple, Google, HTC, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung. The accumulating lawsuits span a multitude of courts and several continents.

In a soon to be published article, we consider the ongoing Apple-Samsung litigation, the “patent trial of the century,”and provide an alternative universe scenario: What would this litigation battle look like in international arbitration? Would international arbitration yield a substantively different outcome? Would resolution of the dispute be more procedurally efficient in arbitration? Would the costs differ? Where would an international arbitration leave the parties in their competitive market positioning against each other? On a more macro level, would the outcome of the dispute in an international arbitration setting impact the industry and consumers differently than in litigation?

As detailed in the article, international arbitration of complex patent disputes offers parties several benefits over litigation including, but not limited to expert decision-making, party autonomy, cost and time efficiencies, multi-national coordination, and foreign recognition of awards. In the alternate universe of international arbitration, patent disputes, such as the Apple-Samsung litigation, would be resolved effectively and more efficiently. The substantive outcome would be better reasoned, globally comprehensive and delivered expeditiously and with more certainty as to finality and enforcement. In the alternate universe, the time and cost savings would be invested into new technology research and development which would better serve the parties, industry and consumers.

For Apple, Samsung and the combatants in future Android wars, litigation may be a legal and business strategy. For some companies, perhaps the goal is not innovation and the efficient adjudication of patent rights but to overcome the opponent by exhausting its resources. Most companies and certainly most consumers and investors want better. International arbitration is a smarter strategy which provides a reasoned, globally comprehensive decision with time and cost savings.  In so doing, it gets technology companies out of the litigation war zone and back to the business of technology innovation.

Click here for the article. [A short version article has been published in the September 2014 ACC Docket – see Aug 25, 2014 post]