The age-old IP copyright struggle has always existed between rival companies in the tech industry, but it's safe to say 2012 has seen the patent turf war escalate to new heights, culminating in Apple's massive $1bn victory over Samsung in the US courts recently.
But that's it, right? The two biggest names in the smartphone world have had it out, and we can now turn the page? If only it were that simple.
First of all, it seems Samsung isn't taking its billion-dollar shot to the pills lying down. The Korea Times reports “an industry source” as saying Sammy intends suing Apple the moment the iPhone 5 is announced for infringing on its LTE patents – assuming the iPhone 5 is actually 4G-capable, of course.
It's believed Samsung is preparing its arguments as we speak, and will be taking legal action in both Europe and the US against Tim Cook's band of merry men.
One curious aspect of the patent wars in recent times is that despite Steve Jobs' legendary “thermonuclear war” comments about how much he detested Android, most of Apple's legal ire has been directed against Android OEMs, not Google itself, and vice versa.
But that too appears to be only the start of the story.
So far Google has tried to maintain the moral high ground on IP copyright, arguing that endless wrangling over patents was stifling innovation, and that Google didn't do business like that.
But the landmark Apple v Samsung case seems to have been a bit of a $1bn wake-up call. Speaking to Bloomberg TV, Google VP David Lawee says the ruling had made the company realise it needed to toughen its stance on patents, and be prepared to get its hands dirty.
“We actually didn’t invest in the patent ecosystem,” Lawee conceded. “We weren’t patenting things as aggressively as we should have been. We didn’t really believe rounded corners were patentable. We just didn’t buy into that notion of protecting your IP, and it was a wake-up call.”
In other words, Google is getting lawyered up and will be patenting pretty much anything it can think of, not to mention going through all 17,000 patents it inherited from Motorola, all with the express aim of hitting back at Apple.