Skip to main content

Apple lays out its new case against Samsung, says 50 patents could have been at stake

Apple lays out its new case against Samsung, says 50 patents could have been at stake

Share this story

Apple provided an overarching vision of its legal attack against Samsung today, a case it's filed to win $2 billion in damages, and get Samsung's products removed from store shelves. Once again that plan centers around a handful of patents for smartphone and tablet features Apple says Samsung knowingly took and implemented in its own products.

At the heart of Apple's argument is that the company changed the very face of consumer electronics with the iPhone in 2007, and risked nearly everything in the process. Moreover, Apple says Samsung took the fast track to success, copying many of its features and making billions in the process. That's identical to the argument Apple successfully pulled off in its first US trial against Samsung, however this new trial involves a different group of products and five other patents, which Apple claims is just the tip of the iceberg of Samsung's copying.

"We can't try 50 patents."

"Samsung copied many many features, but there are limits in what we can accomplish in a trial," said Harold McElhinny, a partner at Morrison Foerster, the law firm representing Apple. "We can't try 50 patents," he added. Instead the company is using five of its patents, which it says were infringed on more than 37 million phones and tablets that were sold by Samsung since August 2011. Apple wants $2 billion in damages for those five patents, based on what its expert has estimated would have been negotiated between the two companies as part of a licensing deal.

Apple vs. Samsung, part two: 90 Seconds on The Verge

The trial — which begins in earnest today — involves 90 minutes for each company to give opening statements, which are high-level versions of their cases. That's followed by witness testimony and cross-examination, which will make up the bulk of the remaining 25 hours each side gets, with Apple starting first.

Beyond trashing Samsung, Apple used its opening statement to distance the case from Google, which isn't a codefendant, but made Android, which all these devices were running. "It’s Samsung, not Google selling these phones," McElhinny told jurors. "It’s Samsung making these things, and infringing."

"It's Samsung, not Google selling these phones."

The two companies picked a jury yesterday, choosing six women and four men for a group that will decide the case after a month's worth of testimony and cross-examination. As was the case in the 2012 trial, the jury selection process was fraught with contentions as lawyers tried to pick people who didn't work for one of the two companies, or was financially invested in them. One potential juror had some 1,000 shares of Apple, worth more than half a million dollars (he was dismissed). Others worked for companies that were either rivals or business partners with one of the two companies.

The jury includes a former IBM executive

The jury that was picked includes a mix of people born from all around the US, as well as Spain. One of those is a former business unit executive for IBM's software group, a company with one of the largest patent portfolios and a known history of enforcing them. The group also includes a police officer, retired teacher, and an executive assistant at Seagate. Two jurors were dismissed earlier today, with one citing health problems, and the other citing financial hardships and difficulty with English as a second language.

This trial is slated to run through the entire month, and includes three days in court each week. Both sides get 25 hours to make their case, putting the end either on April 29th or 30th, followed by jury deliberations.