Samsung is back with a vengeance; more specifically, a legal vengeance. According to sources familiar with the situation, Samsung is planning to disrupt the sale of the iPhone 5 or at the very least, put a dent on the glitz and the glamour that usually surrounds the Apple’s most important event of the year. The tech titans have already been fighting each other in courtrooms around the world, with Apple accusing Samsung of infringing many of its patents. Samsung has struck back with accusations of its own. While the battle may seem personal, it is more like a battle within a war between Apple and Android.
So far, Apple has won some important battles in Europe and other places. Most recently, a German court upheld a ban that prevented Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab. This does not just mean that Samsung is losing access to some of the most lucrative markets in the world, but its brand is suffering irreparable damage in the face of Apple’s PR onslaught. This also does more damage to the Android brand in general (even though the main focus here is the hardware). Embolden by its attack on Samsung, Apple even started attacking other major Android producers like HTC. However, the dynamics of the legal battlefield seem to be changing.
The most important change in the past few months has been the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google, which in turn has allowed many of its partners, including HTC to purchase various patents to help defend themselves against Apple’s legal attacks. Most recently, HTC managed to sue Apple with some of the patents that it acquired via Google. This seems to have had a strong effect on Apple, considering the fact that it almost seems ready to accept a truce. However, the recent plans by Samsung to prevent the launch of the iPhone 5 could have some serious consequences of its own.
No one is serious enough to believe that Samsung has enough clout to do any real damage in the US any time soon. However, it does have tremendous influence back at home in South Korea and it could do a lot of damage to Apple’s brand in Asia and Europe. Other Android makers will also be keen to take aim at Apple and spoil its moment, since so much of the iPhone depends on the culture as much as it does on the performance.