Jurors on Tuesday began deliberations in a big-money smartphone patent trial pitting Apple against Samsung, and by extension Google, in the heart of Silicon Valley
In a new trial following up on a landmark 2012 case in the same courtroom, Apple attorneys argued that Samsung flagrantly infringed on iPhone patents in a desperate bid to compete with the California company’s culture-changing smartphone.
“Apple cannot simply walk away from its inventions,” attorney Harold McElhinny told jurors in his argument for the US tech giant.
“Here we are 37 million acts of infringement later and we are counting on you for justice.”
McElhinny maintained that Samsung sold more than 37 million infringing smartphones and tablets in the United States.
Apple’s legal team wants jurors to order the South Korean electronics giant to pay more than $2 billion in damages for flagrantly copying iPhone features.
Meanwhile, Samsung lawyers maintained that the legal onslaught is the result of a “holy war” Apple declared on Google-made Android software used to power smartphones.
“We are not pointing the finger at Google,” Samsung attorney Bill Price said during closing arguments in the courtroom of US District Court Judge Lucy Koh.
“We are saying they independently developed these features and they don’t infringe. Samsung didn’t copy.”
– Two-horse race –
The launch of the first iPhone in 2007 shook the smartphone market and prompted Samsung to bemoan a “difference between Heaven and Earth” when it came to its handset line and Apple’s coveted devices, McElhinny said while recapping evidence for jurors.
The US smartphone market quickly became a “two-horse race” between Apple and Samsung, according to McElhinny.
Samsung copied iPhone technology to win smartphone sales that would have gone to Apple, the lawyer argued.
Samsung attorneys countered that patented technology at issue in trial has not been used in iPhones and that smartphone buyers weigh a host of features and factors while chosing devices.
“We don’t think we owe Apple a nickel,” Samsung attorney John Quinn told jurors.
“What Apple needs to understand is that the answer to the innovator’s dilemma is not here in the courtroom suing people.”
Quinn called the lawsuit a “long shot” aimed at the leading Android smartphone maker to avoid a direct courtroom battle with Silicon Valley neighbor Google.
– Deliberations begin –
Jurors began deliberating after attorneys completed closing statements in the trial that began at the start of April.
Google engineers were among witnesses called to testify as Samsung lawyers portrayed the case as an attack on Android, which has become a formidable rival for the software powering Apple smartphones and tablets.
Samsung is the world’s leading maker of smartphones and tablets built using Google’s free Android mobile operating system.
Android smartphones dominate the global market, particularly in devices offered for lower prices than iPhones.
In August 2012, a separate jury in the same court decided that Samsung should pay Apple $1.049 billion in damages for illegally copying iPhone and iPad features, in one of the biggest patent cases in decades.
The damage award was later trimmed to $929 million and is being appealed.
If this new trial goes in Apple’s favor, it could result in an even bigger award since it involves better-selling Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy S3 smartphone.
Apple lawyers accused Samsung of going far beyond competitive intelligence to the “dark side” of intentional copying.
Patents at issue in the case involve unlocking touchscreens with slide gestures, automatically correcting words being typed, retrieving data sought by users and performing actions on found data such as making a call after coming up with a phone number.
Samsung devices targeted by Apple include more than half a dozen smartphones from the Galaxy line, along with the Galaxy 2 tablet.
Jurors will also consider Samsung’s claims that Apple infringed on patents related to transmitting digital video and storing digital images.