The recent settlement between Immersion and Samsung may be the latest in a string of good news for tech innovators. Immersion’s patent infringement case against Samsung was a classic example of an underdog standing tall against a much larger opponent. Samsung is the world’s second largest tech company, valued at more than $300 billion. Immersion is a leader in the growing haptics field and was roughly one-thousandth Samsung’s size when its suit brought Samsung to the bargaining table.
Shortly before this settlement, we saw Qualcomm strike a deal with Apple. Now, after Immersion has announced a similar concession from Samsung, innovators should feel more confident about the value of their patents, as well as their ability to defend their intellectual property.
When you cannot afford patent infringement
Immersion Corporation develops haptics, the technologies that allow devices to simulate a sense of touch or motion, but its products don’t sell directly to end users. They serve as components for other products such as smartphones and game controllers—much like Qualcomm’s chips helped power Apple’s phones. Both Immersion and Qualcomm invested heavily in their research, patented their technologies and sold to larger companies that had incentives to find cheaper alternatives to the developers’ technologies.
By forcing Samsung and Apple to recognize their patents, Immersion and Qualcomm upheld the value of their components, plus the value of all the other patented components created by other companies.
Settlements don’t just happen
The theory of intellectual property defense is relatively simple. The practice is much more complicated. Immersion’s case against Samsung involved suits filed in the Eastern District of Texas and the Fuzhou Intermediate Court. It cited multiple U.S. and Chinese patents. And it ran up against a company with plenty of power to argue its case in court.
We will likely never know why both parties finally settled, but we can be sure that Immersion’s legal team demonstrated a winning argument. That could have been:
- Showing clear evidence of patent infringement
- Presenting a detailed summary of the damages
- Heading to the table with a vision of how a settlement could help both parties
If the Qualcomm case served as an example, Immersion may have bolstered its argument by showing how it could work with Samsung to seize a bigger share of the haptics market.
See the whole picture
Southern California companies that want to defend their intellectual property can strengthen their legal defense by working with a law firm experienced enough to see the whole picture.