What to Expect When You’re Expecting Yet Another Apple-Samsung Trial
Here we go again.
Apple and Samsung are back in court Monday, for yet another trial in San Jose, Calif.
It’s largely the same cast of characters as the 2012 “trial of the century,” this time squabbling over different patents and a newer generation of devices.
This time around, no hardware design patents are at issue. Instead, Apple is accusing Samsung of ripping off various features in a slew of Samsung phones and tablets for which Apple was granted utility patents.
Google, already a shadow figure in Apple vs. Samsung, will be playing an even greater role this time around, with many of the features in question developed by the search giant as part of Android, rather than by Samsung. Unlike the last time, expect some Google employees to be witnesses in the case, potentially even former Android chief Andy Rubin.
Samsung, as it did last time, has countersued Apple for infringement, though this time around Samsung is suing over just two patents and asking for comparatively little in damages. The strategy here is to use its countersuit more to make the case that everyone has patents and tech companies really should be licensing from one another.
Expect about a month of hearings with appearances from both companies’ executives along with dueling experts who will testify to how much the patents are worth.
To make your life easier, here’s the CliffsNotes version. There’s also a lot of good info in our guide to the first trial.
Apple is suing over five patents.
- U.S. Patent 5,946,647 — System and method for performing action on a structure in computer generated data, the so-called “quick links” patent.
- U.S. Patent 6,847,959 — Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system, a patent that Apple claims is central to universal search.
- U.S. Patent 7,761,414 — Synchronous data synchronization among devices, or what Apple calls its “background sync” patent.
- U.S. Patent 8,046,721 — Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image, the so-called “slide-to-unlock patent.”
- U.S. Patent 8,074,172 — Method, system and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations, or the “word suggestions” patent.
Samsung, meanwhile, is countersuing over two patents.
- U.S. Patent 6,226,449 — Camera & folder organization functionality, acquired from Hitachi.
- U.S. Patent 5,579,239 — Video transmission functionality, acquired from Voice Over Cellular.
Apple is suing over alleged infringement by 10 Samsung devices: The Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy SII, Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and Stratosphere.
Samsung, meanwhile, is alleging infringement by nine of Apple’s devices: The iPhone 4, 4S and 5; the iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4; the iPad mini; and the fourth- and fifth-generation iPod Touch.
Once again, Judge Lucy Koh will preside over the case, which will be decided by 10 yet-to-be-selected jurors. Apple’s lead lawyer will again be Harold McElhinny of Morrison & Foerster, while a second firm, WilmerHale, will manage Apple’s defense against Samsung’s countersuit. Arguing for Samsung will be a team from Quinn Emanuel, the same firm that has represented it in the past.
What Apple will argue
Apple is going to argue again that Samsung’s products represent not just patent infringement, but an attempt to copy the iPhone and make an end run around product development. Apple will focus on various documents from Samsung that show a need to catch up to the iPhone and iPad. Apple will argue it is owed billions.
As for Samsung’s countersuit, Apple will argue it is a cynical effort to portray itself as an innovator, noting that Samsung purchased the patents from Hitachi after Apple had begun suing Samsung.
What Samsung will argue
While Apple is talking about wholesale copying, Samsung will argue the case is about just the specific patents at issue, patents it said are not nearly as broad or wide-reaching as Apple says they are. Samsung will argue that the documents Apple presents are the types of competitive analysis that all companies do, including Apple. It will also argue that Google independently invented many of the things it is accused of infringing before Apple ever used them in the iPhone.
Samsung will also spend time arguing that even if it is guilty of infringement, Apple’s demands of as much as $40 per phone are excessive.
Court is scheduled to run Monday, Tuesday and Friday, meaning the trial itself should last about a month, with each side limited as to how many hours of testimony it can present to the jury. Presiding over the case will be Koh, though it will be up to the 10 jurors to reach a unanimous decision.
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