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?
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.