Apple, Samsung Patent Trial Starts With Implications for Mobile Devices

After a two-year-long and very public trail of allegations, counter-allegations and patent-infringement claims from both sides, the high-stakes patent trial between Apple and Samsung gets under way in a San Jose courtroom on July 30.

The long-awaited patent-infringement trial between Apple and Samsung that opens July 30 in U.S. District Court in California could potentially impact the kinds of mobile devices that are available to consumers and enterprise buyers in the mobile marketplace, so its implications are notable.

Apple alleges that Samsung outwardly infringed on many of its patents in Apple's iPhone line to incorporate the same ideas in Samsung products, while Samsung argues that that its designs are its own, based on ideas that the company had prior to the introduction of the iPhone. Samsung also alleges that Apple is trying to prevent competition in the marketplace by attacking competitors with unfair patent claims.

The opening of the jury trial is even being called the "patent trial of the century" by Fortune magazine as the two powerful rivals prepare to again battle their patent infringement arguments out in court.

The two sides will again meet in the San Jose, Calif., courtroom of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, where the selection of 10 jurors is expected to be the first task in the trial. The case will begin late Monday with opening arguments if the jury selection is completed swiftly.

The trial schedule calls for the case to be heard on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays for the first two weeks, and if it goes longer, proceedings will be held each weekday, according to a report from The Washington Post.

In the latest court fight that is unfolding today, Apple is seeking more than $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung for alleged infringement of its smartphone patents, while Samsung is seeking damages amounting to 2.4 percent of Apple's sales for alleged infringement of Samsung patents, according to new case details outlined in the Fortune story.

Already the legal proceedings between Apple and Samsung have been affecting consumers since sales of Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 Tab tablet computers were banned in the United States on June 26 by a California court, pending the results of the trial that starts July 30. In the earlier case, the judge ordered an injunction to stop the sales of the Galaxy 10.1 devices in response to a motion from Apple, which alleged that the devices copied technologies held by Apple patents. That injunction followed similar legal battles between Apple and Samsung involving courts in Germany, South Korea, Japan, Great Britain and Australia.

Samsung appealed the U.S. injunction earlier this month, but lost on July 19 when a three-judge panel for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied Samsung's motion and allowed the sales ban to remain until the trial decided the issues.

In June, Apple upgraded its patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung to include the Galaxy 10.1 tablet. Apple alleges that the product violates its intellectual-property rights.

In addition to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the expanded complaint targets a multitude of other Samsung devices such as the Galaxy S II. Included are two hardware patents focusing on touch-sensitive panels and a software patent for graphical user interfaces.

The Apple-Samsung legal fight is not your typical intellectual-property battle because, while the companies are fighting in court in public, they actually do a fair amount of business together behind the scenes. Apple remains a major purchaser of components from Samsung, which is only too happy to cash the checks.

Meanwhile, while the U.S. case unfolds in San Jose, a German court last week ruled that Samsung's earlier Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet computers can no longer be sold anywhere in the European Union because they infringe on Apple patents. At the same time, Samsung also won a round in the German court when it rejected Apple's appeal regarding Samsung's newer Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablets. Apple had appealed an earlier court decision that found that the latest, redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablets are different enough and don't infringe on Apple's designs.