Criticism within South Korea of the California Federal Court’s decision in favour of Apple’s patent infringement allegations against Samsung Electronics took an unusual turn over the weekend as editorials and netizens attacked the American legal system, Samsung, and each other.
The verdict inspired even stronger reaction, coming just one day after a verdict by a Seoul court on a similar patent infringement case involving the two companies, a decision which was seen by the public as a victory for Samsung.
Surprisingly little of the criticism in Korean editorials or comments online was aimed at Apple itself. Instead, the prime target was the jury that awarded the American company $1.05 billion in compensation. Nearly every article covering the verdict asserted or implied that ordinary citizens should not have been trusted with judging a case where the details were highly technical. In addition, multiple media outlets stated that there is a current atmosphere of trade protectionism in the United States that unfairly affected the jury’s decision, summed up in the Chosun Ilbo headline ‘Samsung Lost to American Patriotism’.
Online commentary seemed split along political lines, with the top comments on conservative media websites closing ranks around “our company” and lamenting the effect on the country, while comments with a progressive tone celebrated the public failure of Samsung, a company which attracts strong criticism in South Korea in proportion to its dominance in the local market.
From Joongang Ilbo:
Editorial: A Necessary Change from Fast Follower to Pioneer
On August 24th, a jury from a California federal court handed down a verdict that Samsung Electronics is guilty of infringing on smartphone and tablet patents for America’s Apple. In addition, the jury required Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion in compensation for the infringement. On the other hand, the jury did not recognize any of Samsung’s claims that Apple had infringed on communications standard patents. The judgment in the home of the smartphone and tablet pc indicates that Apple has emerged as the clear victor in the first round of the patent war with Samsung.
Of course, it is impossible to rule out the chance that an appeals court could overturn the jury’s decision and Samsung stated that it will file an appeal, meaning that it is early to conclude that Apple’s victory is assured. Nevertheless, it is clear that in the ongoing patent war between Apple and Samsung in the United States, the court’s decision will be problematic for Samsung.
In the case of the jury’s decision, experts point out that it lacked fairness and objectivity because it was based on the rushed decision of jurors with no specific knowledge of information technology or patents. After hurrying through the decision process, the jury handed everything to Apple. While we have no intention to disrespect the independence or distinctive nature of the American legal system, we cannot rule out the possibility that the judgment was the biased result of laymen caught up in a social atmosphere of trade protectionism.
If it is true that the jury’s decision is the result of people climbing on the protectionism bandwagon and one-sidedly defending the American company, then it will have a negative effect on the development of the global IT market and the bilateral economic relationship between South Korea and the United States. It will be important to check and make sure that the judge’s decision on the appeal is not manipulated by public opinion.
It is impossible to reverse a decision that has already been handed down; the problem now is uncertainty about whether there will be similar patent disputes in the future. Apple and Samsung have already started thirty separate patent infringement lawsuits in nine difference countries, including the United States and South Korea. Such suits can be considered evidence that Samsung Electronics has become one of the world’s top companies, capable of threatening Apple in the smartphone and tablet pc markets. As Samsung works to raise its profile in the world market, it is inevitable that competing companies will increase their efforts to challenge the Korean firm.
In the future it will not be enough for Samsung to copy other products or be a “fast follower” in the path of other companies. Regardless of the outcome of the Apple case, there is a need for Samsung to accept its role as a leading world company and shift into the role of a creator of new technologies and pioneer in new markets, a so-called “first mover”. Such a move would mean that Samsung would be able to create groundbreaking technologies that don’t attract charges of copyright infringement.
While first movers can earn large profits, there are also substantial risks. There must be sufficient will and creative ability to maintain constant innovation. I look forward to this case triggering a push by our nation’s companies to become world leaders.
Comments from the Chosun Ilbo:
It’s one thing for the normally ignorant Americans to do this, but there are also many Korean leftists who are insulting Samsung on English websites. The writers are themselves Korean, yet they talk about how Koreans only know how to copy things from other people, how Samsung is an unethical company, how Samsung’s chairman is a criminal, and so on… They even say that there is a red light district near Samsung’s headquarters. Unbelievable
It’s only natural for corruption to rear its head in a corrupt place. So if you criticize a company that purposefully doctors photographs so that it looks as if it did construction it never completed and then steals tax money you must be a leftist and that’s the end of the story? You’re trying to protect people who have committed a crime.. some people can’t even use their brains these days
This is the weakness of the American legal system. It takes a housewife, a guy with no job, an engineer, an average office worker and the like from within the jurisdiction of the accuser (in this case it was nearby Apple headquarters) and makes them into a jury. Is it right for them decide a patent case? In any case, in the future I’ll boycott all Apple products. This will not have much effect on an unjust judgment but it is the only way I can protest.
Don’t hitch your patriotism to Samsung… Are you a vice president there or something?
Comments from Chosunbiz:
I will introduce you to a comment made on the Washington Post’s article about this judgment. I will just translate it. “This judgment is not a victory for Apple it is a defeat for the American legal system”. As further support, I saw that over half of the comments on the articles about the case on the New York Times website, CNN, and the Washington Post (around 40 different comments) were criticisms of the jurors and of Apple.
Despite the fact that I used an iPhone 3s and 4s, the comments about smartphone design in this judgment don’t make any sense. Infringement on a patent for a square with rounded corners? The huge sum of $1.05 billion dollars would take away a full 1% of our country’s economic growth. More than twice the cash amount that Kim Dae-Jung gave to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il? It’s too much from the vital funds for our country.
So when Apple steals things from Sony it’s creativity but when Samsung references Apple it’s stealing?? That’s like saying when I sleep with a married person it is for love but when someone else does it it’s just adultery.,, They’ve lost all sense of what’s balanced…hoel
Haha, but the average person can see with their own eyes that Samsung definitely ripped off Apple
The stock price will probably plummet on Monday, but this is just stupendous and refreshing…Samsung, you’re a copycat.. haha
Samsung used to steal technology from smaller companies without a thought, but Apple won’t stand for that kind of thing. Just look at this, Samsung tried to do what it wanted quickly but now it gets slammed with this! Samsung doesn’t even have a hair’s weight of creativity to go around! tsk tsk tsk
Comments from Yonhap:
Regardless of country of origin, it honestly looks like copying. Without the iPhone or the iPad do you think they would have made the Galaxy series? Come on Samsung, let’s recognize what must be recognized. And in the future, do things more creatively. That’s the only way to survive in the long term.
We need to clearly recognize what should be recognized. Even this article tries to shield Samsung, showing how far our press still has to go. You say the jury didn’t look at anything closely and just responded based on emotion? Then who is it whose son retakes the bar exam for ten years, only to pass and jump ship to Samsung Electronics, passing through the revolving door into a manager position? Would that be justice?
You lost because of the state of Korean reporters. It is always the reporters who ruin South Korea.
I celebrate Apple’s victory.
Then you shouldn’t have stolen the ideas… Anyone can see that the Galaxy imitated the iPhone design. Who could have come up with that design if not through infringing on patents? It’s obvious that the theft has come out. That was the technology that small companies and venture companies created through sweat and blood. Careful about the patents, Samsung was clever enough to change its products just a little bit and disguise the origin. Then you buy a good patent lawyer and even the judge on your case is a former Samsung scholarship student. [Note: in reference to the case tried in South Korea] Small companies and venture companies sue you for patent infringement but they always lose. You lost to Apple this time, don’t talk bs about the patent process being an obstacle to the development of industry.
Are people in South Korea really this attached to the big companies?? Oh lord chairman! Please let the illegal inheritance, accounting fraud, immoral market entry, rigged family control schemes, tax evasion, and abuse of market share to control smaller companies end and think about bringing on someone respectable like Ahn Cheol-soo.
Samsung. Take a look at yourself in the mirror. You make me ashamed to be Korean. ㅠㅠㅠㅠ
Ah, it feels good to see that.
It looks like the verdict for the case in South Korea, which came out just one day before the American court announced its decision, was an attempt to protect the stock price.
Don’t do things in such a dirty way, just pay royalties