Private vs. Public – Which Court Holds More Sway in the Battle Between Apple and Samsung?

Aug 8, 2012


For months, if not years, Apple has been engaged in a legal battle with Samsung. Apple is of course the tech giant that has brought you everything from the ultra lightweight MacBook to the iPads and iPhones that many of you consider your best friends. Samsung is the South Korean electronics and information company that attempts to do that which Apple has already done. (DISCLAIMER: We are biased towards Apple as an alarmingly large percentage of the team is currently in Facebook official relationships with our respective iPhones).

Apple accuses Samsung of infringing on its patented iPhone technology. In the most recent round of trials, Samsung attempted to submit evidence to prove that they were indeed developing the technology they are being accused of copying before Apple even released the first version of its iPhone. However, presiding judge Lucy Koh refused to accept the evidence stating that it was too late in the process to be accepted. Samsung was clearly upset and rightly so. In response to the ruling, Samsung released the evidence to the media. Some say that Samsung is trying to sway the jury in their favor (although the jury is not supposed to read media relating to the case but many do) and others argue that they are simply trying to win the favor of the public by presenting Apple and judge Koh as oppressors. In a letter sent to Judge Koh, Apple states that “Samsung sought to sway the jury on the design patent issues, and the proper remedy is to enter judgment against Samsung on those same patents.”

Although the direct issue in this case deals with the infringement of Apple’s technology patents, it is not this issue with which we are most concerned. Instead, we are more interested in the impact of what we call the private versus public war. Is it more important for a brand to win the private war to secure technology or the public war to secure users? The Girard Brewer team thinks that although wining the legal battle over Apple would be favorable for Samsung, having the public on their side is ultimately the winning move. So what should Apple fight for – control of its technology or control of the public? We think that although it is important for Apple to maintain control of their technology, they must be cautious in their dealings with Samsung in order to maintain a positive public image.