It has started. Arguably the biggest patent dispute in the consumer technology world began yesterday (31/07/12) between Apple and Samsung, Apple suing Samsung over several patent’s that they own and believe Samsung to be in violation of, and are looking for the princely sum of $2.52 Billion.
To kick off proceedings, Jurors had to sit through an 18 minute video describing patent law and its effects before then sitting through Apple’s 1.5 hour opening statement.
Apple’s lead lawyer Mr Harold McElhinny requested and was granted permission to reference Apple’s late CEO Steve Job’s in the opening statement despite Samsung trying to have reference’s to the iconic CEO banned from the hearing.
In one such reference, Mr McElhinny noted that Steve Job’s warned competitor’s of the existence of a portfolio exceeding that of 200 phone related patents that we’re owned or secured by Apple.
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Difficulties arose before the case had even started, trying to pick a jury that would be impartial and doesn’t use an iPhone or Samsung phone proved to be particularly difficult, and as the trial is being held in California, close to silicon valley, the number of iPhones and Samsung devices was destined to be high.
Whilst interviewing perspective jurors employee’s from both Apple and Google were found to be in the group and were dismissed. Other jurors had read the Steve Jobs Autobiography by Walter Isaac’s and therefore also could have skewed potential juror’s perspective’s.
The interviews even went so far as the Hon. Judge Koh having to ask about jurors phone’s, browser use and tablet habits.
Eventually the jury was whittled down from 74 potential jurors to 10, seven men and three women to have no obvious or perceived bias to either company. (One juror left voluntarily as their employer did not agree to pay them whilst not at work)
Samsung requested after opening statements that Judge Koh allow both parties to use more than 125 items in evidence, which was again denied. Judge Koh has no doubt limited this as both companies have been in business a very long time, and the number of entries could likely be upward of 300-500.
Apple’s lawyer Mr McElhinny has reason to believe that Samsung will attempted to convince the jury that Apple hold patents over certain technologies that are vital for any smart phone to work, and that it would be impossible to manufacture any without access to certain technologies and patents, and that punishing Samsung is not fair or feasible.
More updates on the proceedings as they become available.