Apple vs. Samsung vs. Google Android: Vicious $2bn court battle now in focus

Samsung and Apple are at loggerheads once more as they head back to court this week to battle it out over yet another legal dispute over patents.

The two smartphone titans have a colourful history of clashes. The latest centres, once again, around accusations of design and feature theft. This time round Apple is seeking compensation for damages of $2 billion (£1.2 billion) by claiming that Samsung infringed five patents on devices sold in the US between 2010 and 2012. These devices include the popular Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets.

However, Samsung has countered Apple's accusations with some finger pointing of its own. The Korean company claims that two of its patents were infringed by the iPhone and iPad.

If it helps, imagine two ten-year olds sitting next to each other in art class; both have drawn very similar pictures and each spend the next year of art lessons waving their hands in the air, crayons clutched in sticky palms, jostling for attention as they try to explain to the teacher how the other has copied their work.

Now imagine that they each have billions of pounds worth of pocket money stashed away, and the situation becomes a lot more complicated. If Apple is successful in court, it could launch similar lawsuits against other Android rivals because the patents in dispute technically belong to Google's operating system rather than Samsung's TouchWiz user interface.

So why not sue Google directly? Fortunately for the web giant, Apple can't because technicalities mean that it is only when the Android code is implemented in hardware that patent infringement arises. Consequently, it seems like Apple is venting its frustrations on Samsung in a battle that is much less about a heavyweight battle between two giant companies, and more a spotlight upon much larger concerns of the patenting system.

The trial will be run in the heart of Silicon Valley in California, presided over by Judge Lucy Koh. Coincidentally, Koh oversaw the previous trial in 2012 that ruled in favour of Apple that Samsung was infringing on the Californian company's patents.