Apple vs. Samsung Patent Trial Begins: 10 Things You Should Know

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-07-31

Apple vs. Samsung Patent Trial Begins: 10 Things You Should Know

Apple and Samsung are locked in what might just be the biggest patent infringement litigation campaign of the 21st century in courtrooms around the world. The latest phase of this campaign brought both sides to a trial in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., where they are accusing each other of violating patents they hold for mobile phone technology. 

The ultimate victor could receive billions of dollars in damages and in the process, the entire mobile phone market along with our understanding of patent law could be dramatically altered. 

But trying to weave through the many elements of the trial that convened in San Jose on July 30 isn€™t always easy. Both companies are making very strident accusations and so far, it€™s been impossible to determine which side has the best case. What is clear, however, is that if you are interested in the phones manufactured by Apple and Samsung, or in the future of the mobile phone industry, you should keep an eye on this trial. 

Read on to learn more about Apple Inc. vs. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. 

1. They tried talking it out 

Apple and Samsung tried to work out their differences. As usual in these cases, the court ordered the companies€™ CEOs to hold talks to see if they could figure out a solution. It didn€™t happen. And now, they€™re locked in a trial to see which side will win. 

2. Apple says Samsung is copying its iPhone and iPad 

Apple argues that Samsung is violating several of its patents related to the iPhone and iPad. In fact, Apple has used product designs to make its case. In one court filing, Apple shows off Samsung€™s products before and after it launched the iPhone and iPad. Those photos alone, the company argues, prove its point. 

3. Samsung, of course, says it€™s innocent 

Samsung claims it was developing concepts for its devices long before Apple started its own development and the Korea-based company says it can prove it. The onus will be on Samsung to prove that point as the trial goes on. 

4. Apple wants $2.5 billion in damages 

If Apple wins, the company is looking for a major payday. Apple has calculated that Samsung€™s alleged infringement should cost $2.5 billion, based on the length of time the products were on store shelves and several other factors. Whether Apple will actually get that figure, however, remains to be seen. 

Both Sides Are Demanding Huge Damage Awards

5. Samsung has its own patent claims against Apple 

Samsung isn€™t just on the defense here. In fact, the company has hit Apple with its own onslaught of patent-infringement claims, saying that the iPhone maker€™s mobile products are violating its intellectual property. Apple will therefore need to defend itself against those charges. 

6. Samsung wants a serious payout, too 

Although Samsung hasn€™t mentioned a specific figure that it wants in damages from Apple, the company has said that it deserves royalties on all products the Cupertino, Calif.-based company sells. Samsung says that Apple is violating its standard, essential patents and should be compensated for all infringing devices on a rate of 2.4 percent of the sale. Apple believes that number is too high. 

7. This is one of many 

Think this is all over after the trial? Think again. Apple and Samsung are arguing this case in the United States, but are also litigating similar cases in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and other parts of Europe. A victory for either side here won€™t have much effect elsewhere around the world. 

8. Samsung products could be banned from sale 

If Apple gets its way, the company will ask the court to ban the sale of Samsung mobile products in the United States. Apple has said that any and all infringing devices should not be sold or imported into the United States. If the case comes to that, Samsung will either have to comply with that verdict or modify its existing devices to ensure they don€™t infringe. 

9. It impacts all future litigation 

In the legal world, precedent is a major determining factor for court cases. Once the court reaches a verdict in the Apple and Samsung trial the final ruling, allowing for the inevitable appeals, could dramatically impact other litigation going on around the mobile market. Don€™t forget: Apple is waging legal battles with other mobile device manufacturers besides Samsung. A victory in this case could help other cases around the world. 

10. Expect some revealing executive testimony 

Although Apple CEO Tim Cook and the company€™s senior vice president for industrial design Jonathan Ive won€™t be testifying during the trial, Apple will be sending a host of prominent executives, including Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall. In other words, expect to read about some juicy executive testimony after they take the stand. 

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