Apple vs. Samsung: Hot Coffee All Over Again?
In a previous post wrote I had written about the Apple vs. Samsung case, I asked the question as to whether this lawsuit was a front for a proxy war between Apple and Google. While we may be no clearer to answering that question at this stage, we have seen the judgment for the trial where Samsung was ordered to pay out just over a billion dollars in damages to Apple. There is still a lot of legal wrangling that is to come in this case but the post trial reactions have somewhat of a surprise.
While Apple may have been the victor, there have not been as many commentators slapping Apple on the back for a job well done. Without passing judgment on this case in particular, we have seen lawsuits wherein the use of lobbyists to fight a case has ultimately influenced the outcome of a court case. The tobacco industry is probably one of the most notorious for the use of lobbyists. In this case could the Apple victory be seen as a lobbyist victory of sorts? There is a lot more to a lawsuit that is immediately apparent and it’s better to hold judgment until all the facts are clear.
Many lawsuits at times seem frivolous but there are facts that may not always appear to be as apparent. The best example that comes to mind is the McDonald’s lawsuit when they got sued by Stella Liebeck after she spilled hot coffee on her lap. The lawsuit was seen as a joke by many at the time and even till today, most people still don’t’ realize the essence of the case. McDonald’s had been serving coffee at a temperature knowing that could it cause third degree burns within three to seven seconds. The cost of treating these burns in a country like the United States where healthcare is notoriously expensive was one issue but there was a principle issue that the case by Stella Liebeck also fought for was that McDonald’s probably burned many more people like herself, who would’ve suffered the same if not worse injuries because McDonald’s knowingly served coffee at a much higher temperature than was required.
This is not to say the Stella Liebeck also was without fault. The final case also did rule that she was negligent and part of the amount that was finally awarded to her was reduced as a result of her negligence. However, the lawsuit doesn’t seem as frivolous when all the facts are considered (more facts on this case be seen at this link).
In the case of Apple vs. Samsung, we’re probably going to see much greater ramifications going forward of what this judgment means. However, before passing judgments based on a headline (which is what many commentators have been guilty of), it’s worth analyzing the details, presenting it and then deciding whether the case was just or not.