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Apple and Samsung back in court fighting over patent issues

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Tech giants Apple and Samsung are back in court fighting over patent issues. The outcome of the case could change the face of the highly lucrative smartphone market.

Apple is accusing Samsung's phones of violating several of their patents related to software features on the phones. They include slide to unlock, the autocorrect feature and other things like auto dialing a highlighted phone number.

Apple wants $2 billion for the patent infringement, which comes out to about $40 a phone. But it's not the money that Apple is necessarily interested in, says Mark Lemley, Professor of Law at Stanford.

"I think what Apple really wants is to shut down Samsung's phones or at least make them go back and redesign them in fundamental ways to get rid of some of these features," said Lemley on Take Two.

Apple could shake up the smartphone marketplace, but the likelihood of that happening is in question, according to Lemley.

"I do think that Apple has a somewhat tougher story here than they did in the first trial. Because the first trial was about their design," said Lemley. "They could hold up the Apple phones and Samsung phones and say look how similar they are. This is just a little bit more technical and it's a bit of a harder story to tell to the jury."

Samsung is challenging the patents, arguing that its features don't infringe as Apple claims. The debate goes on about whether something like swipe to open is too universal of a feature at this point. Samsung will likely be arguing that these kinds of software patents should be limited to the particular code used to create certain features. 

Apple did however win the first trial, where they were awarded $930 million, which is currently being disputed in appeals court by Samsung.

"I keep waiting for the parties to sit down and settle this," says Lemley. "...but it looks like we're going to go court as long as we've got new phones coming out. And I think that's because Apple really wants to hold on to its market share and it sees Samsung as stealing its momentum. So far Apple's been successful in court, but that hasn't translated to success in the marketplace."


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