Apple vs Samsung Lawsuit

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Case Number:
11-01846 Apple vs. Samsung

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Lucy Koh

Judge Lucy Koh interviewed 74 candidates to find the final 10 jurors that will have to decide on all the patent claims between Apple and Samsung. They awere asked a wide range of questions including what type of smartphone, tablet, and computer each of the them used. Most of them owned an Apple or Samsung device, and most of them used Google as their primary search engine. Each party was allowed to dismiss 4 jurors without question. The final jury are made up of 7 men and 3 women of varying backgrounds, levels of expertise and personal technological inclinations.

When did the Patent War start?
On the 15th of April 2011 Apple filed the initial lawsuit against Samsung for numerous patent and design infringements. Samsung then filed a counter suit and the two cases were combined into one.

What is the Patent War about?
The case involves a total of 9 utility patents and 4 design patents.

  • Apple claims that Samsung copied the patented designs of the iPhone, iPad, and their packaging, for the Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Apple is also seeking damages from Samsung for trade dress infringement and trade dress dilution.
  • Samsung claims that Apple used a number of its utility patents covering technology in a cellphone.

What is a Patent?
There are 2 types of patents in the United States: Utility Patents and Design Patents.

  • A Utility patent protects the way an article works and the method or process of making or doing something.
  • A Design patent protects the way an article looks and protects the ornamental design, or the shape of the design, or the surface decoration of the invention.

What is Trade Dress?
Trade dress is the non-functional physical detail and design of a product, which identifies the product’s source and distinguishes it from the products of others. Trade dress is the product’s total image and overall appearance, and may include features such as size, shape, color, color combinations, texture, or graphics. Trade dress is the form in which a person presents a product or service to the market.

What do they want to achieve?

  • Apple is asking the jury to award it US$2.525 billion in damages, and also hopes that the court will triple that figure. (The U.S. legal statute allows judges to multiply damages to punish willful misconduct), as well as a ban on sales of any Samsung products found to be infringing on Apple patents. Apple is seeking damages for infringement of the ‘381, ‘915, ‘163, D’889, D’087, D’677, and D’305 patents.
  • Samsung is asking for a royalty payment of 2.4 percent of the sale price of each product found to be misusing their patents. Samsung is seeking damages from Apple for infringement of the ‘941, ‘516, ‘711, ‘460, and ‘893 patents.

Interesting Facts

  • The major factor of this case is whether consumers are confused when purchasing a Samsung phone or tablet, believing it to be an Apple iPhone or i pad.
  • Both sides are scheduled to get 25 hours to present their case to the jury.
  • Jurors have been instructed not to read about the case in the press.
  • The first iPhone has more than 200 patented inventions in the phone.
  • The Samsung smart phones run Google’s Android software.
  • The Galaxy S III was Samsung’s largest mobile launch ever.

Interesting Moments

  • It was found that Apple had inconsistencies in some of their patent drawings. to which the Judge referred to as “sloppy”. They argued over the meaning of the dotted and dashed lines on design patents and Samsung pointed out out that some of the pictures have a broken line, and some don’t.”
  • The Judge announced that Steve Jobs’ comments about wanting to wage “thermonuclear war” against Android should be kept out of the trial.
  • Samsung evidence was rejected by Judge Lucy Koh for being submitted too late in the legal process. The evidence includes slide decks with images of Samsung phone designs from 2006 and might have shown that the iPhone design was inspired by “Sony style” and that Samsung had independently created the design for the F700 phone. Samsung then leaked rejected evidence to the press to try to influence the jury through the media.
  • Apple designer Christopher Stringer who invented many of Apple’s patents said “We’ve been ripped off, it’s plain to see”.
  • Apple revealed a report by Samsung which states that the largest number of customer returns for the Samsung Galaxy Tab was because it’s was mistaken for an Apple iPad.

Recent Patent Wars

  • Oracle vs. Google
    This case resulted in a major win for Google, which defended its Android operating system against claims of infringing Java-related patents and copyrights brought by Oracle after it bought Sun Microsystems.
  • Apple vs. Motorola
    This case was canceled by Judge Richard Posner, who went on to criticize the whole US patent system as out of whack.