The Most Expensive Spanking in Recent History

In the only interesting piece of news carefully floated in Korean papers today, the entire country learned (rather shockingly, I’m sure) that Korean gadget producer Samsung was just dealt a massive legal, moral and financial spanking in US Federal Court to the tune of over 1$ billion USD. Who would have thought such a thing could ever happen? Obviously, such a thing would never happen in Korea. Though I must admit, some of Samsung’s blatant sloppy copying is downright embarrassing from a common sense point of view.

How stupid does Samsung think the general public is? Did they really think we’d look at their ads/designs and think “Wow, that’s a unique, creative, proprietary invention”? What’s worse is that Samsung’s blatant copying continued unchecked for years after the first iPhone was released, and they even copied Apple’s advertising. How pathetic can you get? How hard is it to come up with some type of unique advertisement (or USB charger, or box set, or icons)? How can Samsung apologists look at the below and feel anything but stupid?

Is there a statute of limitations when it comes to ripping off someone’s advertising?

“Our design isn’t a sloppy clone of the Mac Mini, it’s a 100% original Samsung design!”

“Look, we put the black one on the LEFT SIDE, so you see, our advertising isn’t really a copy of Apple’s, it’s a 100% unique Samsung creation.”

“Large metal microphone icon in the background, two buttons on opposite sides towards the bottom and a gauge gadget in the bottom middle? We weren’t inspired by Apple, this is a 100% unique Samsung application created with no influence from Apple whatsoever!”

“Hey man, Apple doesn’t own the rights to square white boxes. We came up with this 100% unique Samsung designed box without ever even seeing an Apple iPad box!”

“As for this phone box, it’s quite obvious that it is a unique Samsung design, and in no way related to the box that Apple released earlier.”

“Yeah, we used Apple’s Safari and App Store icons in our display booth, but this isn’t actually copyright infringement, because we didn’t use ALL of their icons, just a few of them.”

“The remote for Samsung’s Smart TVs is not an iPhone 4 ripoff, it’s a 100% unique Samsung design, created from scratch in Samsung’s laboratories by Korean workers with Phds in Engineering.”

“Again, Apple doesn’t own the sole rights to produce square objects with rounded edges, as seen in this 100% Samsung designed phone charger.”

In all seriousness, this ruling is a massive blow to Samsung’s ego more than anything. Copying is quite common in Korea, but publicly humiliating a company for copying your design, especially a large company like Samsung is unheard of. The Apple/Samsung dispute in the Korean court system was so predictable that the rest of the world didn’t even bother watching. Giving Samsung a 100% victory on Korean soil would most certainly make the entire country look bad internationally, so instead Korea’s Confucian ajeossi kangaroo court system decided to find both parties guilty on different levels, impose similar tiny damages, and then ban both parties from selling phones that they have essentially already stopped selling. I’ve written before about Korea’s culture of zero personal responsibility, and it very much exists in Korea’s court system, where neither party ever seems to be 100% guilty.

And I’m guessing that is why Samsung decided to file a “revengee” counter-suit in the USA. They must have assumed that if both parties filed lawsuits, then as per the Korean legal system, either both parties would be found equally guilty, or guilty to different degrees, or in some cases innocent on all counts. Samsung’s defense strategy started to border on ridiculous when they brought out the “Yeah, but you guys (Apple) copied some of your stuff from Sony!” You know that your legal ship is sinking when your only defense is “Yeah, but you guys copied too!”

And you know your executives complete brainless fuckwits when they issue statements in public like those below:

“This is too rude!” A Samsung executive (who refused to be named, of course) actually issued the above statement in response to the lawsuit. Samsung’s executives are laughable in their stupidity. Who allows their executives to make such statements in public? These people are nothing more than adult children parading around in business suits and pretending to run global businesses. They are a joke. And now, their company looks like a joke internationally. According to someone who knows about these things, Samsung’s stock will probably dip on Monday and Tuesday (remember they lost $1billion USD over the weekend), so anyone looking to buy Samsung shares should probably be waiting around on Wednesday with a bag full of cash because once it bottoms out, the only way for it to go is back up, assuming they actually can create unique products in the future, and not blatant, embarrassing ripoffs.

I’m sure that when Samsung was allowed to enter the US market, there were probably some unspoken (or possibly spoken) conditions attached. One of those unspoken conditions probably went something along the lines of “We don’t care if you copy other people’s products and sell them in other countries, but don’t copy American products and then try to sell them in America”. Of course this was either not made 100% clear to the Koreans, or was simply lost in translation. Even though I recognize Samsung’s blatant copying, it would be a little naive to state that Apple didn’t have somewhat of an advantage above and beyond the fact that they were the obvious victims in this case.

An American company’s economic interests were after all put in Jeopardy by a foreign company whose penchant for copying had up until the smartphone rage, been largely limited to the Korean domestic market and limited Asian markets. Anyone remember the Samsung “Blackjack” phone, and how it “wasn’t at all inspired by the Blackberry”? Samsung couldn’t even create a non-similar sounding name for the thing. If I remember correctly, they were on the verge of being sued by both Rim and Motorola at the time, but apparently both companies were too busy trying to bail themselves out to start a legal battle with Samsung. Now this is pure speculation, but with the entry of top foreign law firms into the Korean market, I’m guessing that these types of infringement lawsuits are going to rise. Just down the street from my apartment there is a brothel called the “Benz Club” with a giant neon technicolor Mercedes Benz logo plastered in front of it. Two blocks in the other direction is a retail clothing store that has giant Abercrombie and Fitch posters in the window, which sells nothing but cheap Abercrombie knock off clothes with Abercrombie logos all over them. Come to think of it, aren’t there sidewalk hawkers selling knockoff junk right next to the Itaewon police station? Korea is a country positively RIPE for copyright/trademark/patent litigation.

In South Korea, when the chaebol ajeossis are unable to pay their way out of serious and public legal proceedings, they usually put on the “wheelchair show” something I’m sure they learned from watching cheesy Godfather style Hollywood gangster flicks. I’m beginning to think that even the “wheelchair show” might have been a better defense than what Samsung’s USA based legal team threw together for their 25 hours of allotted court time.

This is how Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee (left) and other Korean chaebol executives arrive to court, in a bid for leniency that apparently works in South Korea. Rollin’ chaebol Style!

More chaebol family cruisers, rollin’ to court to face charges ranging from bribery to tax evasion.

This, apparently generates enough sympathy to allow the chaebol executives to avoid charges and go back to their Western designed / Western built Seoul penthouses where they resume bilking the Korean public.

This entry was posted in Korean News Stories, Please understanduh my unique culture, Technology, The Expat. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to The Most Expensive Spanking in Recent History

  1. PGF says:

    Yawn.

    Having worked several large copyright litigation cases in the past, I can only say that this is normal in business.

    No fines will effect either companies’ stock.

    Your wheelchair pictures lost me.

    Continue.

    • The Expat says:

      Do you honestly think a company can lose a billion USD over the weekend, and nothing will happen to the stock come Monday? Seriously?

    • F5 Lifer says:

      Maybe you need to find a new job considering your observation is completely wrong.

      http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/companies/samsung-shares-plunge-after-patent-verdict/story-fndfr3g3-1226458770979

      “SHARES in Samsung Electronics opened 6.75 per cent lower on Monday after a US court fined the South Korean firm $US1.05 billion for breaching Apple’s patents.

      After 15 minutes of trading the shares had fallen by 6.81 per cent to 1,187,000 won.

      A jury in San Jose, California ruled on Friday that Samsung infringed six Apple patents for smartphones or tablet PCs.

      Analysts say the judge in the case could triple the damages because jurors found Samsung acted “wilfully”. They rejected the Korean firm’s counterclaims against Apple.”

      They could triple the damages??? So 3 billion dollars damages….geez, perhaps Samsung need to take it up the arse and walk away with only 1 billion in damages instead of challenging it.

      • The Expat says:

        Spot on.

        If Samsung hadn’t had it’s ‘pride’ hurt so badly, perhaps they would have reacted in a way that made financial sense, like making a back-door licensing deal with Apple, out of court.

        According to CNBC, Apple asked Samsung to stop copying them several times before suing (chance 1), then after the suit, the judge have them time to perhaps hash out a deal before going to jury deliberation (chance 2), but both parties refused.

        There is no doubt Samsung will continue rolling around on the ground, throwing a temper tantrum, which in my opinion should give other companies like LG a chance to snatch away part of Samsung’s share in the smartphone market.

        I hope that LG really steps it up and takes advantage of Samsung’s massive series of mistakes, and overall childish behavior.

        Having the judge triple the settlement would be icing on the cake though..

    • Slightly logical says:

      What does your humble pie taste like?

      Go on….make sure you chew properly…. go on….swallow up now

    • Ignorant arrogance says:

      “Your wheelchair pictures lost me.”

      The wheelchair is an effort to garner pity…

      It’s pretty sad that multi-millionaires (billionaires?) are willing to do this.

      Even sadder is that it’s accepted in Korean society, and that it works…

  2. jetrash says:

    Yawn? I think not. It’s actually the largest fine in patent history. And will wipe another billion, or nine, off their market capitalization, come Monday.

  3. Keith says:

    My company copies the competition’s product designs and marketing quite often. They like to call it benchmarking.

    • Ignorant arrogance says:

      Do you work for Samsung?

      “They like to call it benchmarking.”

      Civilized societies call it copying, patent infringement, plagiarism, etc.

      The blatant copying of others’ designs and products is actually quite pathetic. To any person outside of Korea, it appears that Korea can’t think of anything on their own.
      To those of us in Korea, it’s a mix of amusement and pity.

      • Keith says:

        No, I’m working for a much smaller tech company. I completely agree with you about the blatant copying. I guess I was just trying to say that my company thinks they can justify their intelligent property theft by calling it benchmarking.

  4. . says:

    Do you drink the Apple kool-aid? Apple has a history of patenting obvious inventions and then aggressively suing anyone who has the temerity to make a vaguely similar product.

  5. KFCRG says:

    It not so much the tech, that they’re thieving that’s particularly amusing. The fact that they even closely copy the packaging and marketing is what I find mind boggling. They obviously have been riding on the coat tails of Apple in regards to branding and merchandising.

    Samsung are not unique in this, A Korean coffee chain copied the Starbucks logo, there are many ‘CNN’ singing rooms spread around Seoul, there is a ‘Roald Dahl’ reading academy a couple of hundred metres from my house, many Korean products are blatant copies, but they sometimes change the name just a little bit to get away with it. Most students plagiarise work from the internet or get someone else to write their college papers, song writers blatantly copy American and European artists’ songs. Originality is a fairly rare thing to find around these parts. I don’t like that silly ‘Gangnam Style’ thing, but at least the bloke wrote the tune himself and it is quite original.

    My phone looks a little bit like an iPhone and a little bit like a Samsung, when it comes to real innovation in designing a tablet or smartphone there is only so much innovation you can do aesthetically. Copying some other companies ads and packaging is just rather sad.

    The only creativity there really seems to be in Korea is in the tax returns that the wealthy give to the tax office.

  6. billy says:

    a billion dollar bitch slap? This is just getting started.

  7. Andyroo says:

    I had kept swaying on this one because the individual patents seem pretty weak ….. but Samsung have just ripped off the whole of Apples R&D. it’s not one big offence but rather a stack of small offences that come together to make the decision feel just to me.

    Near my house is “Macdonalds” in red and yellow writing but it is written in hangul rather than English. It’s just a ma and pa Chicken shop but I could see the real Macdonalds suing them….. I remember them suing a ma and pa takeaway shop in Australia that only had the name Mcdonalds (the ma and pa’s surname) and looked in no way, shape or form a “Macdonalds”.

    I hope the guy on the right in the first photo didn’t get let off. He looks very healthy and is even wearing sneakers for a quick getaway should it go pear shaped.

  8. jetrash says:

    Well, currently they are , wait for it, 12 BILLION DOLLARS DOWN on their market cap today……….. that almost makes the initial $1billion fine look , err, kind…..

    ”The giant South Korean technology firm shed about $12 billion in market capitalization as a result of the rout, which came on significant volume (i.e., more than double the three-month average).

    The decline in Samsung’s share price was its largest percentage drop in four years, according to Bloomberg News. And its buffeting might not be over yet.
    d or something.”

  9. unrepentant says:

    Right now the shares are at 1180000 their high point was 1418000 and a year ago they were at about 710000…….all in all I would say from 710 to 1180 in a single year is dandy. They are growing at about 6% a month so these days. Other than the people who bought in the last couple of months or so, everyone else is still doing fine. It would have been sweet to short it.

  10. Ignorant arrogance says:

    I am shocked after looking at the pictures! Samsung copied Apple’s designs?
    Never, thought I, would a company like Samsung do such a Korean thing like that!
    Who would have thought they would stoop so low… ROFL

  11. lisa says:

    Latest news on Samsung:
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/technologylive/post/2012/08/apple-iphone-5-coming-amid-samsung-sell-offs/1#.UD1_VcFlSN1

    Could the problem of intellectual property theft come from their education system where kids are taught to memorize and recite but aren’t encouraged to be creative and innovate, which is so common in Asia, except Japan.

  12. Ignorant Arrogance says:

    It’s deeply embedded in the culture here. The memorize and regurgitate method of learning has its roots in the “four books” that have been studied as part of a noble education. Hence, no creativity. The dishonesty goes back even further, but that is common knowledge… Lol

  13. Mary says:

    Jake, first off just have to say that I love your blog, especially the ladyboy stories. Anyway, I was browsing and came upon this story:

    http://en.paperblog.com/samsung-pays-apple-1-billion-sending-30-trucks-full-of-5-cents-coins-294795/

  14. MKL says:

    Check this video made by a Japanese:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea9bsul719o&sns=em

    Honda and Hyundai logo, Pokemon and Powermon, Pocky and Pepero, and much more… sure, at the end it gets a bit nasty, but just watch the first part before the imperialist crap…

  15. Samsung Man says:

    Nice pics. But not really honest when those pics are well known for being resized to match to look like the iPhone size.

    Samsung stocks regained back most of the losses, before slumping back again after Apple announces they’re also going after the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note, which are flagship phones of Samsung. This is just a temporary blip before things go back to normal again, no big deal.

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  17. Pman says:

    If the scope of the fraud is so excessive, a wheelchair just won’t do. Upgrade it to a gurney and four medical staff by your side in the court room

    http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2970224&cloc=joongangdaily|home|newslist1

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