Apple and Samsung drop claims against each other but disagree more than ever on key issues

Late on Monday by local time, Apple made a filing in its first California litigation with Samsung that offers a truly impressive narrowing of its infringement claims in that action, roughly cutting them in half, and five hours later, Samsung offered to drop five of its 12 asserted patents but argued that Apple’s case is still far too big to go to trial this summer. Apple’s filing accused Samsung of being uncooperative in the build-up to these filings, but Samsung puts all the blame on Apple and says the case still isn’t ready for a summer trial.

There’s also the usual bickering over whether Samsung makes “copycat products” infringing Apple’s rights or, as the Korean company argues, “innovative, independently developed technologies”. Samsung is innovative in some areas but it adopted Google’s Android, which has been found by judges on three different continents (and, just yesterday, by a San Francisco jury) to infringe third-party intellectual property rights, and added its own infringements on top. Steve Jobs once said that “good artists copy, great artists steal”. But between these two companies here, there can be no doubt about who’s copied from whom, just like there can be no doubt about who singlehandedly revolutionized an entire industry. The only question left to be answered is about scope: which of the asserted rights are both valid and infringed? (That said, as a consumer I like to have choice, and I own a Samsung Galaxy Note, which constitutes a truly innovative form factor, as well as an iPad 2).

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