Apple vs Samsung – the story so far (updated)

Here's what happens when two tech giants lock horns in the legal jungle...

Both Apple and Samsung's products are at the top end of the tech spectrum and although the former is one of the latter’s biggest customers, this hasn’t stopped lawyers in both camps working overtime in order to outsue each other. We’ve whittled out the legal mumbo jumbo to give you a no-nonsense timeline of events over the past year in a bid to shed some light on all of the bickering. Flame on.

Mirror image – April 2011

Apple hit the Korean electronic moguls with 16 claims back in April which included charges of unjust enrichment, trademark infringement and 10 patent disputes in a crusade against the “slavish” copying of the iPhone and iPad. The perpetrators? The Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab.

Two can play that game – April 2011

Samsung decided to counter Apple with a few lawsuits of its own in Japanese, German and South Korean courts, stating that the iPhone and iPad infringed on 10 of its own technology patents including 3G and wireless data communication technology.

Knocking on Sammy’s door – June 2011

Apple brought the fight to Samsung’s home country of South Korea in which another patent dispute was filed in what was to be Apple’s first retort to the company outside of the US.

Critical hit – August 2011

Within a week of hitting the shelves, all sales and marketing of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe were pulled thanks to a successful injunction by Apple in the Regional Court of Dusseldorf. At this stage, the only country in Europe selling the tablet was the Netherlands – bleak times for Android tablet-lusting gadgeteers.

The resurrection – August 2011

The 10.1 Tab received the green light a mere week after the initial ban was executed and was happily being snapped up off the shelves in all countries bar Germany, where the pesky injunction ruling still held firm.

IFA blues – September 2011

Last month’s IFA event in Berlin saw the Galaxy Tab 7.7's mysterious dissapearance, with all demo units and promotional material swiftly disappearing – we’ll give you three guesses why. As before, the ban is a German-only affair, for the time being at least.

iPhone 5 caught  in the crosshairs – September 2011

It may not have been announced quite yet, but Samsung is already planning to appeal for the iPhone 5’s ban in both South Korea and Europe as soon as it’s released. Sammy’s ammunition comes in the form of wireless technology-related patents and it’s gone on to state that it will be impossible for Apple to sell its i-branded products unless they drop mobile communications functions altogether.

Trouble down under – October 2011

An Aussie court ruled that the 10.1in Galaxy Tab infringed on three of Apple's patents, causing sales to grind to a hault.

Hand over the goods – November 2011

Samsung flexed its legal muscles by requesting pieces of source code from Apple to find some patent infringements of their very own. The decision was granted by Australian courts and Sammy had their code.

Banhammer blow delayed – November 2011

Sammy's attempt to ban iPhone 4S sales in Australia suffered a set back as judges delayed hearings till March 2012.

Face lift – November 2011

Samsung introduces the Galaxy Tab 10.1N model for Germany. Edge-to-edge glass is replaced by a frame, breaking up the reportedly Applesque look of the Tab. Unsurprisingly, Apple immediately contest the new design – we're waiting for the outcome.

Tentative victory – November 2011

The sales ban of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is lifted (for the time being) in Australia, though the ban won't be lifted for a few days, giving Apple time to appeal.

Good news for Sammy – November 2011

Apple have predictably appealed against the ban, delaying sales of the Tab further still, but the appeal is overruled and Tabs go on sale down under, just in time for Christmas. A new ad campaign by Sammy is run, describing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 as "the tablet Apple tried to ban".

And back to bad news – January 2012

A German court overrulesSamsung's appeal against the banning of the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany. Samsung must instead make do with selling the redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1N  in Germany for the foreseeable future, which in all fairness shouldn't hit Samsung or it's potential customers too hard.

Time will tell what the next chapter in this lawsuit-peppered saga will hold, but for now we’ll just let those lawyers warp up for the next round.

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