Are you sitting down? This might come as a complete surprise. Samsung has responded to Apple's patent infringement claims by...wait for it--countersuing with claims of its own that Apple is infringing on Samsung patents. I know, right? Total shocker.
In response to Apple filing patent infringement claims in the US District Court of Northern California, Samsung has accused Apple of infringing on a total of ten patents in three different countries (Japan, Germany, and South Korea).
Florian Mueller, a technology patent and intellectual property expert, explains the Samsung countersuit in exhausting detail on his blog. The battlemap images provide an intricate visual representation of the claims Apple and Samsung have lodged against one another.
I don't want to deny a company or individual the right to capitalize on unique strokes of genius, or the research and development effort that goes into innovative techniques and technologies, but honestly the patent system needs work. Serious work.
Companies get patents for ridiculous "concepts". I would not even be surprised--by Apple or by the patent process--to learn that Apple has patented taking the first step with your right foot when walking with a smartphone in your pocket (don't get any ideas Apple--that's my innovative "technique"!).
At least Samsung's countersuit involves actual techniques and technologies that seem to fall within the realm of patentable. Apple is accusing Samsung of violating the "look and feel" of the iPhone and iPad.
Look and feel? Seriously? Isn't that like IBM suing Dell because its laptop also has a keyboard hinged to a flat-panel display? Or, maybe like LG suing Panasonic because its 40-inch LCD TV is also a flat, black rectangle? Or, like General Mills suing Kellogg's because Fruit Loops copied the "look and feel" of Cheerios? I mean, there are only so many "looks" and "feels" that can be accomplished in a smartphone.
It is almost a full-time job to keep track of the back and forth patent silliness. Thankfully, Technologizer's Harry McCracken came up with a chart that maps the different lawsuits visually. The mobile patent cheat sheet comes in handy for office betting pools, or it could be used to turn the ongoing patent legal skirmishes into a drinking game of some sort.
What's the over/under on Samsung prevailing in Germany?