It's time for justice, says Apple in $2 billion case against Samsung

samsung court sketch
Image: Vicki Behringer

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Samsung deliberately copied several key iPhone features in an attempt to catch up in the phone market, Apple charged as it wrapped up a jury trial against Samsung in San Jose on Tuesday.

“We are here because of a series of decisions made by Samsung Electronics,” said Harold McElhinny, a lawyer for Apple, as he presented closing arguments in the closely watched case. “Samsung changed phone after phone that was under development to copy feature after feature after feature of the iPhone.”

McElhinny’s presentation, which methodically went through Apple’s evidence in the hopes of driving it home one last time, wrapped up four weeks of testimony in which Apple sought to justify its demand that Samsung be forced to pay US$2.2 billion for infringing five Apple patents in 10 Samsung smartphones and tablets.

His style was soon contrasted with that of Samsung attorney John Quinn, who provided an impassioned and fast-paced response. Quinn took on each of Apple’s arguments, speaking most forcefully about the testimony provided by John Hauser, an Apple expert whose marketing survey formed the base of the damages calculation.

“This was a sham survey,” he told the jury. “Apple paid him and he came in and presented you with a sham.”

“Trust your common sense, trust your instincts. This survey is worthless,” he said.

The argument left Quinn red-faced and moved his daughter, sitting in the courtroom, to tweet, “Very worried my dad is going to have a stroke at the podium. Haven’t seen him lecture like this since I broke curfew in [high school].”

But Bill Price, an Apple attorney, got in the last word, delivering the company’s rebuttal and characterizing Quinn’s arguments as “attack, attack, attack” because Samsung has neither the law nor facts on its side.

During the testimony, the eight-person jury was given a brief history of the development of the iPhone and Android OS and heard about the excitement among executives when Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone. They also delved deep into marketing studies about what iPhone features consumers valued and were told more than they probably ever wanted to know about software subroutines and class libraries.

Now they have to make sense of it all and it’s much more complex than simply answering the question: “Did Samsung infringe and how much should they pay?”

Complex jury instructions

apple closing argument

Apple sums up its case.

In front of them in the jury room is a 12-page verdict form that requires more than 200 decisions to be made. For each patent and each phone, the jury must decide if there was infringement. In many cases, they must also differentiate between Samsung’s global headquarters in Korea and its U.S. marketing and telecoms subsidiaries.

And if there is infringement, they must decide on a specific dollar amount for damages by phone and by patent. To come up with those figures, they must calculate both lost profits and money that should have been paid in patent licensing charges.

“Now it’s time for you to do justice,” said McElhinny.

To help them in this task, the jury members have their memory, notes taken during the trial, all of the smartphones involved in the case and thousands of pages of documents entered into evidence. Around 100 large ring binders full of the documents will be wheeled into the jury room later on Tuesday.

Google has been a constant background force throughout the trial. Samsung has sought to deflect some of Apple’s accusations by saying that the functions in question were developed solely by Google and has also put Google engineers on the stand to defend that position. And in one of the few true revelations of the trial, it emerged that Google had taken over some of Samsung’s defense as part of the terms of an earlier software development agreement.

Google’s shadow

samsung closing argument

Samsung makes its final argument.

If anything, the argument is easier for Samsung to make this time around because of the focus on Android software functions. In contrast, a previous trial between the two companies here was focused on the look and feel of Samsung’s phones—something that was the result of Samsung’s design department rather than Google.

Apple tried several times to persuade the jury that Google’s shadow presence in the case is just to cause confusion.

“Despite all the times Samsung mentioned it, you will not find a single question about Google in your verdict form,” said McElhinny.

The trial provided further insight into the hatred that Steve Jobs harbored for Android, including a preparatory document for a 2011 internal managerial meeting that called for a “Holy War” against Google, but also the growing threat Android was posing to Apple’s dominant position in smartphones. In internal emails and presentations, Apple staffers highlighted areas where Android was moving ahead of iOS and the growing preference of consumers for phones with larger screens.

The jury began its work on Tuesday afternoon and is scheduled to deliberate daily until it reaches a verdict.

Article updated at 3:49 p.m. PT with information from Tuesday’s closing arguments.

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