Companies suing each other is a fairly common occurrence, especially when it comes to copyright.
Over the years some of the biggest brands have also taken each other to court.
The outcomes of some of these lawsuits have shaped entire industries. Had Apple’s lawsuit against Microsoft in 1998 gone the other way, computers might look entirely different today.
Scroll below for a list of some of the biggest brand lawsuits in history, compiled by Lottoland.
10. Dyson vs. Hoover (2000)
- Bruno Vincent/Getty Images
Duration: One year
Damages: $4.9 million
Dispute: In its lawsuit, Dyson claimed Hoover had infringed on a patent it owned for its bagless vacuum cleaner, which uses forces similar to a centrifuge to separate dust from the air.
In its Vortex range, Hoover used the same technology, which the court found infringed on James Dyson’s invention. Hoover appealed twice but lost both times and Dyson then accepted the settlement offer to avoid further litigation. Hoover was also told to stop selling its Vortex model.
9. Oracle vs. SAP (2007)
Duration: Seven years
Damages: $357 million
Dispute: The lawsuit focused on SAP’s TomorrowNow unit, which Oracle alleged had illegally downloaded copyrighted documents and programs from Oracle.
SAP admitted it had infringed on copyright and initially tried to settle out of court, before a jury awarded Oracle $1.3 billion in damages. The amount was later brought down to $357 million, which both companies accepted.
8. 20th Century Fox vs. Universal Studios (1978)
- Lucasfilm Ltd.
Duration: Two years
Winner: Universal Studios
Dispute: After 20th Century Fox’s successful release of the first “Star Wars” film in 1977, Universal Studios decided it needed a space fiction story of its own and launched “Battlestar Galactica”.
The lawsuit accused Universal of copyright infringement, highlighting 34 specific things allegedly copied, including: “There is a scene in a cantina (Star Wars) or casino (Battlestar), in which musical entertainment is offered by bizarre, non-human creatures.”
7. Gucci vs. Guess (2009)
Duration: Four years
Winner: Gucci … and Guess
Damages: $4.6 million
Dispute: Gucci embarked on a four-year long legal battle in 2009, alleging Guess had copied Gucci’s logo on a line of shoes.
In its lawsuit, Gucci also accused Guess of counterfeiting, unfair competition, and trademark infringement, demanding $221 million in damages.
Gucci filed two lawsuits, one in New York and one in Milan. The New York case was closed in favor of Gucci and awarding it it $4.7 million in damages. The Milan court ruled in favor Guess, saying the use of the “G” was common in the fashion industry.
6. Apple vs. Microsoft (1998)
Duration: Six years
Dispute: After releasing its Macintosh computer, Apple licensed parts of the user interface to Microsoft for use in its Windows 1.0 software. When Microsoft released Windows 2.0, it added other features, including overlapping windows, which could also be found in the Macintosh’s software.
Apple filed a suit alleging copyright infringement and listed 189 different parts of the interface that had been copied. After six years, the court dismissed nearly all (179) of Apple’s claims and said the 10 remaining parts up for dispute could not be copyrighted.
5. A&M Records vs. Napster (2011)
Duration: Five years
Winner: A&M Records
Damages: $26 million
Dispute: Napster originally launched as a pirated music marketplace, allowing anybody to download music for free.
Music labels didn’t wait long to sue. While the plaintiff is referred to as A&M Records, it actually included all members of the Recording Industry Association of America.
After the case was concluded, Napster was forced to shut down. The brand was later acquired by the software company Roxio, which relaunched it as a legal music store, before it died for good.
4. Microsoft vs. Motorola (2010)
- Flickr / oskay
Duration: Five years
Damages: $14.5 million
Dispute: Microsoft accused Motorola of charging excessively to license its patented technologies.
Motorola was charging a 2.25% royalty amounting to $4 billion. The court decided it wasn’t fair and reasonable and fined Motorola and ordered the company to pay Microsoft $14.5 million for breach of contract.
3. BP vs. Transocean Offshore and Halliburton (2010)
- Reuters/Handout .
Duration: Five years
Dispute: After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that killed 11 workers and polluted the Gulf of Mexico with millions of barrels of oil, BP was levied with fines and clean-up costs running up into $40 billion.
But BP believed Transocean Offshore and Halliburton, both partners at the time of the spill, should share the costs of the fines and demanded $15 billion. The companies settled in 2015 in a series of legal deals, as The Wall Street Journal reported.
2. Apple vs. Samsung (2011)
- Flickr/Kārlis Dambrāns
Duration: Ongoing since 2012
Dispute: The lawsuit is one of the biggest in the technology industry. It goes back to the first iPhone, which Apple accused Samsung of copying for its Galaxy S series. A jury in 2012 decided that Samsung had infringed on patents. It originally faced $1 billion in damages, which was reduced to $548 million, before dropping down to $399 million.
The current state of the case is a discussion about what will be the basis for Samsung to pay the damages. In December, the US Supreme Court reversed the decision of the $399 million in damages and returned the lawsuit to the federal court. A number of similar lawsuits between the pair are ongoing in countries around the world.
1. Apple vs. Ericsson (2015)
- Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images
Duration: One year
Damages: Not disclosed
Dispute: Apple filed a lawsuit against Ericsson, claiming the patents it owns on wireless LTE connections are essential to the industry and that the company was demanding excessive royalties. Ericsson countersued and accused Apple of infringing on over 40 patents.
The two companies settled out of court, with Apple having to pay an undisclosed amount. Considering Apple was originally paying royalties as a percentage of total device cost, it is likely a significant amount. Apple wasn’t the first smartphone maker to get legal on the Swedish telecoms company – Samsung and Ericsson reached a confidential out of court settlement in 2014.