Patent infringement lawsuit between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd


A contract or agreement does not have to be between two companies. Another example of a dispute can be that of companies producing similar products and determining who has the rights to it. In determining a resolution, political risks must be considered. Conducting an assessment of the risk in order to determine the impact (macro- or micro-political) is important. With this in mind, create a 1-2 page response to the following:
1. Research an international dispute
2. Describe the dispute and political risk
3. Analyze the situation
4. Conclude a possible way to avoid the dispute or risk OR a possible resolution



As we move further towards globalization competition has become extremely intense with a complex business environment. In this extremely competitive business environment companies are struggling to uphold their supremacy both in terms of market share and profitability. Throughout the last decade we have seen several international disputes which have changed the course of business as well as other socio-economic factors. One of the most intense legal battle that had continued over the last decade was the patent infringement lawsuit between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. This is perhaps one of the classic examples of two companies in the same line of business producing similar products who locked horns to decide who has the right to use such products. This article elaborates on the various aspects of the dispute with special regard to the political risks involved in it.

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Apple had filed for patents during its launch of iPhone in January 2007 which ranged over a variety of aspects from its design to graphical user interface. It had initiated 193 screen shots to get the patents from colour design to other user interfaces. From these several registered trademarks and utility patents Apple launched a scathing legal battle against Samsung’s Android phones and tablets in the United States District Court, California on April 15, 2011. Its patent lawsuit encompassed the Samsung models like Nexus S, Galaxy 4S and Samsung Galaxy Tab. Its complaint included a wide gamut of allegations ranging from patent infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition, trademark infringement, etc. Samsung retaliated by filing a counter lawsuit against Apple in April 22, 2011 in the federal courts of Seoul, Tokyo alleging Apple of infringement in its mobile communication technologies. Samsung also had initiated lawsuits in Germany, United Kingdom and United States against Apple with the patent infringement allegation. Ultimately over the next three months both the companies had entered into a legal battle of 19 lawsuits in nine countries all over the world. By the end of next year the dispute has led to 50 lawsuits all over the world between Apple and Samsung. Both the parties were demanding billions of dollars in compensation .


As the two companies were fighting law suits all over the world in South Korean, German, Japanese, and Dutch and last but not the least US courts, there were severe repercussions of the incident in the patent regime. It raised questions about the intellectual property rights prevalent in different parts of the world. It is justified to mention here that while few countries have strong intellectual property protection rights some of them lack in their proper implementation. The rulings of the law suits had gone in favour of the companies differently in different countries. This opened up the question of mutual trust among the governments of the different countries. While US believes in protecting property rights to propel innovation and growth, in the South Korean environment the result was counterproductive for Apple. This led to severe political dispute among the administrators of the two countries .

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It can be concluded at the end of this discussion that patent infringement laws should be unilaterally formulated among the co-operating countries so that it should not lead to disputes among them. If there is a uniform patent regime throughout the world it also benefit the businesses to chalk out their strategy in terms of product innovation and development.

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