August 1, 2012 11:22 AM | By Tom Phillips
Apple vs. Samsung: the mobile patent wars explained, sort of

Patent fight comes to US court

Patent fight comes to US court (© MICHAELA REHLE | YOU SUNG-HO/Reuters)
  • Patent fight comes to US court (© MICHAELA REHLE | YOU SUNG-HO/Reuters)
  • Copycats? (© JO YONG-HAK/Reuters)
  • What'€™s at stake? (© JO YONG-HAK/Reuters)
  • All around the world (© Sylvain Sonnet/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images)
  • Wins for Apple (© Tom Phillips)
  • Wins for Samsung (© Tom Phillips)
  • Apple'€™s patent battles (© Tom Phillips)
  • Kodak joins in the fun (© Tom Phillips)
MICHAELA REHLE | YOU SUNG-HO/ReutersShow Thumbnails
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On Monday, tech giants Apple and Samsung finally appeared in a California courtroom for the latest - and the most important - phase of their long-running worldwide patent fight. Between them, these two companies make over 50% of the world's smartphones. The result of the case could cost the losers hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars, while the winners could gain a major advantage in the smartphone and tablet wars.

But while the case could be one of the most important patent disputes for decades, it's also rather complex - and it's far from the only patent battle the smartphone world has seen in recent years. What are they actually fighting over? Just who is suing who? And frankly, isn't it all a bit of a mess? We try to explain...

* Video: Apple vs. Samsung smartphone drop test

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