Samsung and patent settlements: Why pay for the cow when you can have the milk for free?
In the wake of HTC settling their patent litigation with Apple, likely by agreeing to pay a per-handset licensing fee to Apple, Samsung has come out and said they won't be doing likewise any time soon. That, according to J.K. Shin of Samsung Mobile. The AFP reports:
"We have no such intention," J.K. Shin, the head of Samsung Electronics' mobile unit, told reporters on Wednesday when asked if Samsung would seek a similar settlement.
Samsung lost a $1 billion verdict to Apple in U.S. courts, but international courts haven't held Samsung anywhere near as accountable for their early copying of Apple devices, and Apple has been on the receiving end of some punishment themselves.
Samsung has since gone in their own direction, but benefited hugely from fielding iPhone-like devices on, at the time, non-iPhone carriers like Verizon. "No, we don't have the iPhone, but we have this and it's just like the iPhone!"
Being Apple without being Apple led to Samsung becoming far and away the leading Android phone vendor by market share, and there's likely no amount of wrist-slapping that with level the playing field for vendors like HTC and Motorola which chose to field more unique, more authentic products from the get-go.
HTC doesn't have the massive consumer products bank account of Samsung, or the Google backing of Motorola, so their risk assessment probably swayed them into settling with Apple. Samsung has the money to fight in court, and while they blatantly and embarrassingly copied Apple in the early days, it turns out that might not have been illegal -- it might just have been brilliant. With rivals like HTC now stuck paying licensing fees to Apple, Samsung's lead could grow even larger.
Why pay for the cow when you can have the milk for free?