Jury Deliberation to Start in Apple vs. Samsung Patent Case
The issue of whether Samsung copied the patented design of Apple's iPhone and iPad to make its own competing products is now in the hands of a jury as attorneys for both sides wrapped up closing arguments in a federal courtroom Aug. 21.
Attorneys for Apple and Samsung gave dramatic presentations summing up their arguments in the three-week trial in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. Apple is suing Samsung for at least $2.5 billion in damages for, according to the suit, copying the design of the iPhone smartphone, introduced in 2007, and the iPad tablet computer, introduced in 2010.
Before the iPhone came out, Samsung smartphones came in a variety of shapes and sizes, but after the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy i9000 was introduced looking like "an iPhone knockoff," said Harold McElhinny, one of the attorneys for Apple.
"We have demonstrated that Samsung has violated each and every one of our intellectual property rights," McElhinny said.
In presenting Samsung's closing arguments, attorney Charles Verhoeven accused Apple of filing suit against Samsung to stifle competition.
"Your decision, if it goes Apple's way, could change the way competition works in this country," Verhoeven told jurors.
Jury deliberations are scheduled to begin in earnest when the court reconvenes Aug. 22 at 9 a.m.
In the course of the trial, each side has accused the other of infringing on their patents, prompting U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who's presiding over the trial, to urge the CEOs of both companies to consider settling the case.
Bloomberg News reported that Apple's CEO Tim Cook and Samsung's former CEO Choi Gee Sung spoke Aug. 20, but that no settlement was reached.
As he continued his closing argument, Apple's McElhinny reminded jurors that representatives of Google "demanded" that Samsung change the design of its coming new smartphone because they felt it looked too much like the iPhone, but that Samsung refused. Google is the provider of the Android operating system that powers Samsung smartphones and tablets. Google is in its own legal battle with Apple over patents.
"Those [Samsung] executives were bound and determined to cash in on the iPhone's success," he said.
McElhinny also invoked the memory of the late Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple and the driving creative force behind the iPhone and iPod, who died of cancer in 2011. Jobs began work on the iPhone back in 2003, four years before it was introduced. By comparison, the Samsung design process for its smartphone consisted of "three months of copying."
In response, Samsung's Verhoeven reiterated the defense's evidence that iPhone features that Apple claims are patented are based on "prior art" and thus, those patents are invalid.
He also noted that while Apple witnesses said Samsung's supposed copying caused confusion in the marketplace, in which buyers could not distinguish between an Apple and a Samsung product, Apple never presented witnesses who actually said they bought a Samsung by mistake.
"The fact is, consumers make choices, not mistakes," he said.
But Apple got in the last word and attorney William Lee summed the case up this way: "Apple took five years to bring this [iPhone] revolution to us. Samsung took three months to copy it."
"All we're saying is make your own," Lee said.
Material for this report was obtained from a live blog of the trial proceedings on the Web site of the San Jose Mercury News.