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Samsung leans on Google to defend against Apple in court battle

Samsung leans on Google to defend against Apple in court battle

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It's not Apple versus Google on the name of this lawsuit, but don't tell Samsung that. As Apple and Samsung duke it out in a California court yet again, Samsung opened up its case against the iPhone-maker by saying it was indirectly going after Google by targeting Samsung, all in search of profits. That's not a new idea in this fight, but it's a stark difference from how Samsung defended itself in the very same court two years ago.

"The company up the road in Mountain View."

Holding up a Galaxy Nexus — one of 10 Samsung devices Apple's accused Samsung of infringing — John Quinn of law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan said "the accused features on this phone were developed independently by some of the most sophisticated minds in the industry — the company up the road in Mountain View."

Quinn was referring to Google, which makes Android. The company's not listed as a defendant on the lawsuit, but all of Samsung's phones in this case run Android, including one that's running a pure version of it without Samsung's TouchWiz software. Samsung's hoping that detail will sway jurors to view it not as a copycat, a tactic Apple successfully used against it in a similar trial in 2012.
To that end, Samsung spent a good portion of its opening statements focusing the jury's attention to hardware features, pointing to what it says was a growing divide in the physical appearance of smartphones made by the two companies beginning in 2011.

"Samsung and Apple went in very different directions."

"Samsung and Apple went in very different directions in 2011 and 2012," Quinn said. "These features I'm showing you on the Nexus and Galaxy Note, including large screen, replaceable batteries, faster speed, and styluses are things that distinguish Samsung products."

Quinn went on to make the case that patents are a very small part of smartphones, calling the targeted features in this case "ordinary," and not the thing people look at when they're trying to buy a new product.

"Consumers don't choose one phone over another because of particular way word corrections are displayed," Quinn argued. "You don't buy a phone because of the way software syncs in the background, or the particular design of the unlock screen."

Apple's suing Samsung for allegedly infringing on five of its software feature patents, and is seeking $2 billion in damages for 37 million Samsung products that were sold after August 2011. Samsung's fired back with two of its own patents, for around $6.9 million in damages across most of Apple's iOS devices sold since 2011. It's a follow-up to the lawsuit between the two companies in 2012, which resulted in a win for Apple that's since been appealed.

Samsung's opening statements followed Apple's, where the company provided a high-level view of its case against the South Korean electronics giant. Apple took aim in particular at internal Samsung documents detailing the need to make its software similar to Apple's, including the slide to unlock feature, as well as how phones sync data behind the scenes.