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Apple and Its Patent Wars: 2012 Was a Year of Legal Disputes

February 21, 2013 by admin No Comments »

Technology giant Apple is on a quest to become the leading manufacturer of smartphones. But in its bid for worldwide domination, it found itself in hot legal water with a number of different businesses last year.

The global brand was embroiled in bitter court battles with several other smartphone providers in 2012, and all of them involved patent disputes. Apple claimed that a host of manufacturers of Android devices directly copied the iPhone design.

Here we take a look at how Apple locked-horns:

  • Apple vs. Motorola Mobility

Apple filed a lawsuit against Motorola in 2011, claiming that it had abused patenting laws with its license fees. Apple claimed that Motorola, which was recently acquired by Google, breached its agreements with international standard-setting bodies, to offer license technology at reasonable rates.

Apple meanwhile said that their charges of 2.25% of the price of a device, infringed this agreement.

However, the case was thrown out by a US judge, just hours before the trial began in November 2012. The damage? The company had spent $32 million on the patent- infringement dispute.

  • Apple vs. HTC

Apple may have lost against Motorola but it called a truce in its patent battle with Taiwanese smartphone marker, HTC.

In November 2012, the pair announced a cross-licensing agreement, after Apple accused the Android manufacturer of infringing the iPhone patent. The ‘fight’ began back in March 2010, but the two firms have reached a ceasefire, and have now signed a 10-year license agreement, dismissing all current lawsuits.

The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed but it is rumoured that HTC is paying Apple up to $8 per Android phone. Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, said he was pleased the dispute had been resolved “so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation.”

  • Apple vs. Samsung

This has been Apple’s most notorious patent battle, with long-standing rival Samsung.

At first, the war broke out when Apple accused Samsung of copying its ‘double tapping’ functionality, as well as emulating the iPhone’s physical appearance. A judge in America ruled that Samsung had infringed six of Apple’s patents. The damage? Samsung was slapped with a $1.05 billion compensation bill.

However, that is not the end of the story. The war continued when Samsung lost its bid to keep their sales data private, with Apple seeking additional damages.

Apple may have raked in $1 billion from Samsung’s patent wars, but the cost for these suits topped $100 million.

A win-win? Well not entirely. Apple was ordered to pay Samsung’s legal fees when UK courts controversially ruled no breach against the iPad design patent suit. And the business was ordered to revise its apology statement, after the courts ruled that the previous apology was false.


As you can see, such large scale court cases can have astronomical financial implications on businesses. Even the simplest, most risk-free case can take a long time to resolve, and the verdict is always indefinite. This is why litigation funding is increasing in popularity in the UK, to help businesses financially when taking a case to court.

This article was written by Lauren Grice on behalf of Vannin Capital, the go-to-experts for litigation funding. Visit the site today or speak to the experts, to see how a funding scheme will work for you.