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Apple's opening statement: Samsung said iPhone was 'easy to copy'

Apple's opening statement: Samsung said iPhone was 'easy to copy'


Apple presented its opening statement to the jury today and the Apple vs. Samsung infringement trial kicked into high gear.

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Robert Peckham Federal Building and Courthouse
Robert Peckham Federal Building and Courthouse

Apple presented its opening statement in the company's trial against Samsung this morning, painting Samsung as an aesthetic thief that took inspiration from Apple rather than innovate on its own — but not before the second day of the trial got off to a rocky start. The 10 jurors for the case were selected just yesterday, but the morning began with one juror already asking to be removed. Stating that her employer wouldn't be paying her while she served, she said she's already suffered panic attacks due to the related stress; she was dismissed moments later.

Things appeared to be going off the rails when the remaining jurors were brought in thereafter — only for the court to discover that it was short yet another juror. Fortunately, the individual did show up.

Apple: iPhone was industry pivot into slate-style phones

Apple began its presentation with Apple counsel Harold McElhinny showing the jury one slide of several Samsung phones from 2006 — including several laden with hardware buttons, like the i730, and the QWERTY keyboard-enabled Blackjack — and another of some 2010 devices: all sleek, slate-style phones. The case, he said, came down to simply asking how Samsung moved from the first group of devices to the second. The pivot point, Apple claims, was the introduction of the original iPhone on January 9th, 2007, a device that McElhinny said had been in development since 2003. If the iPhone had failed, he said, it could have taken down Apple altogether.

McElhinny then detailed the iPhone's success, pointing to its intuitive UI — exemplified by the bounce-back feature when scrolling though lists — and the edge-to-edge black glass that "draws people into" the phone. Admitting that Samsung could have innovated and perhaps bested Apple in the marketplace on its own, he said instead that the company copied the iPhone's design and user interface. He showed the jury several slides of internal Samsung documents — including an internal review of the iPhone's impact from September of 2007 — which stated that competing with the iPhone "one way or the other is inevitable," and that the iPhone hardware was "easy to copy."

Apple's comparisons showed some extreme similarities

Then, one by one, McElhinny walked the jurors through the four design patents and three utility patents Apple is claiming Samsung infringed. Back-to-back video comparisons of the latter three were shown, including the bounce-back and double-tap-to-zoom features, showing what appeared to be extreme similarities between the Apple and Samsung implementations. Moving into the trade dress charges, Apple contented similar copying happened after the 2010 introduction of the iPad.

Apple attorney William Lee then addressed the jury about the infringement claims Samsung is bringing against Apple, framing Samsung's charges as a purely reactionary measure enacted after Apple brought claims against the company. As expected, Lee asserted that Samsung didn't follow proper procedure when it came to its standards-essential patents — and that Apple buys the baseband chips that perform the allegedly-infringing behavior from Intel, which pays its own licensing fee. (Lee said Samsung wants roughly $12 per iPhone or iPad sold for the infringement; Apple buys the chips from Intel for $10 each.)

According to Apple, Samsung has sold 22.7 million devices in the US that take advantage of Apple's intellectual property, generating $8.16 billion in revenue and more than $2 billion in profits. Cupertino is seeking up to $2.525 billion in damages, but there's no doubt Samsung will be painting a very different picture in its own statement later this afternoon.