Top 6 legal battles that happened in the tech industry in 2017

Here are the most significant legal battles in the tech industry that took place in this year.

By Chandrika
|

As we have almost come to the end of 2017, it is time to look back and point out the highs and lows of tech world. This year, we have seen quite a few companies engaging in legal battles for some issue or the other. The biggest one is arguably the Qualcomm vs Apple saga, which is far from getting over anytime soon.

Top 6 legal battles that happened in the tech industry in 2017

 

And, the recent one to land in hot water is Mozilla, which was slapped with a lawsuit by Yahoo Holdings and Oath. The company was accused of improperly terminating an agreement between Yahoo and Mozilla. Within a couple of days, Mozilla filed a cross-complaint, claiming breach of contract. While it might be newest legal dispute, we have jotted down the most significant tech battles of 2017.

Of course, we might have missed out a few, but this list will give you an idea of the legal disputes that took place (some are still continuing) in this year.

Mozilla vs Oath-owned Yahoo

Mozilla vs Oath-owned Yahoo

Well, let's start with the latest one. In November this year, Mozilla released the Firefox Quantum and added to it a crucial update which would result in the company getting into a legal dispute the next month.

As we know, Mozilla is one of the most widely used browsers around the world. Oath, on the other hand, is the new owner of Yahoo. So here's exactly what went wrong between the two companies.

Mozilla recently opted Google as the default search engine for the internet browser. Earlier versions of Mozilla Firefox featured Yahoo as the default search engine which supposedly repelled away users.

However, Mozilla signed a deal in 2014 with Yahoo to use it as the default search engine, which was for five years.

Naturally, Yahoo couldn't digest being replaced as the default search engine for Mozilla, and its current owner Oath filed a lawsuit against Mozilla on December 1, alleging the company broke the deal.

In an interesting turn of events, Mozilla filed a cross-complaint soon after accusing Yahoo of breaching of contract.

The legal dispute is still continuing, but there is not much information available on the developments of the case.

 

Apple vs Qualcomm
 

Apple vs Qualcomm

Truth to be told, the legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm is the most intense one. Both the parties keep slapping each other lawsuits, with no hope for settlement coming into sight in near future.

First, Apple demanded $1 billion from Qualcomm, accusing the chipset maker of abusing its monopoly situation which it had gained through "exclusionary tactics and excessive royalties".

Well, it marked the beginning of a legal battle that would continue to plod on for months to come, if not years. In July, Qualcomm accused Apple of infringing several patents related to improving the battery life of mobile phones.

In November, the iPhone maker filed a countersuit against Qualcomm, alleging that Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipsets infringe on Apple's patents.

Amidst of all these, Qualcomm filed some paper works in China asking the ban of iPhones in the country. The chipset maker also asked US trade regulators to ban iPhone imports.

All the courtroom battles have made a negative impact on the revenues generated by Qualcomm. Apple, on the other hand, stays unaffected.

 

Samsung vs Apple

Samsung vs Apple

This shouldn't really come as a surprise though. The legal war (yes, it should be called a war) between two of the biggest tech giants has been going on for years now.

The first filed lawsuit dates back to 2011, when Apple accused Samsung of patent infringement. To put it simply, the former claimed the South Korean smartphone manufacturer copied the design of the iPhone, including the device's rectangular front face with rounded edges and grid of colorful icons on a black screen.

As it turned out, one court ordered Samsung to pay a fine of $1 billion for the damages caused. However, to Apple's dismay the legal team of Samsung managed to shave the fine down to $399
million.

Now, six years later, the legal battle again headed back to the court. US District Court Judge Lucy Koh ordered in October that a new trial is needed to determine if Apple's $399 million award for Samsung's design patent infringement should stand or there should be a new damages trial. We are yawning!

 

Google vs Uber

Google vs Uber

You may be wondering, how did they even get into a legal battle. It all started in February, when
Alphabet subsidiary Waymo filed a case against Uber, alleging that Uber benefited from trade secrets preferred by their former engineer Anthony Levandowski.

Levandowski used to work for Waymo, but he left to found a self-driving lorry firm, which was later acquired by Uber.

Waymo claims hat Levandowski stole 14,000 classified documents during his stay, however Uber has denied the whole thing.

Since then it has been quite a circus in the courtroom battle, with dates of trial being put back and forth, documents being submitted late. It went up to such level that the federal judge trying the case accused both the legal parties of telling "half-truths".

Waymo has been told to cut the 120-plus trade secrets cited in its original claim down to just nine. To Uber's joy, Waymo's damages expert has also been ordered from the courtroom.

While we are yet to see the end of this case, no matter the decision goes in whose favor, it will decide the future of the self-driving vehicle industry.

 

Samsung vs Huawei

Samsung vs Huawei

Well, it seems like Samsung should really hire a new legal firm. In April this year, Samsung lost a huge legal battle against Chinese OEM Huawei over patent infringement.

A Chinese court in ordered Samsung to pay Huawei 80 million yuan, or $11.6 million, for the damages caused.

The disputed technology patents are related to a smartphone's graphical displays, such as how certain icons should be arranged. Huawei claimed in the lawsuit that 20 different Samsung devices violated its patents.

As we have mentioned earlier, Samsung ended up losing face and, of course, the case as well.

Picture courtesy: Geek Culture

Facebook vs ZeniMax Media

Facebook vs ZeniMax Media

Facebook is arguably the most popular social media network. Mark Zuckerberg, the company's CEO, however, is not content with that. He has some big plans for his brainchild, and VR is definitely one of them.

As many could see it coming, Facebook bought Oculus VR for more than $2 billion in 2014.

In the same year, a lesser known company called ZeniMax Media had sued the Oculus VR for copyright infringement and violation of non-disclosure agreement. The former claimed that the Oculus Rift VR headset was created using the technology of ZeniMax Media.

Unfortunately for Facebook, the dispute started just after the acquisition. And, in February this year, A US court ordered Facebook's virtual reality subsidiary Oculus and its executives to pay game developer ZeniMax Media $500 million in damages.

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