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Apple v. Samsung: Jury Begins Deliberations
Apple v. Samsung: Jury Begins Deliberations

By Howard Mintz
April 30, 2014 9:36AM

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Lawyers for feuding tech titans Apple and Samsung have rested their case, leaving the question of patent rights in the hands of a jury. Apple cast Samsung as a desperate copier of iPhone technology, while Samsung portrayed Apple as a waning force trying to sway a hometown jury to hand out a big payday to squelch competition.

After more than four weeks of trial hostility between Apple and Samsung, the multibillion-dollar question of patent rights in the smartphone wars is officially in the hands of an eight-member Silicon Valley jury.

Lawyers for the feuding tech titans spent four hours Tuesday giving that federal court jury competing visions of what unfolded during the trial -- Apple keeping to its script of casting Samsung as a desperate copier of iPhone technology, and Samsung portraying Apple as a waning force trying to sway a hometown jury to hand out a big payday to squelch competition.

The jury will return to federal court Wednesday to resume deliberations, the latest jury handed the task of deciding a legal showdown between Apple and Samsung.

Harold McElhinny, Apple's lead attorney, urged the jury to side with Apple and order Samsung to pay as much as $2.2 billion in damages for violating the patents on five iPhone and iPad software features, such as slide-to-unlock and auto-word correct. Samsung, Apple estimates, has sold 37 million of the nine smartphone models and one tablet alleged to have copied those patents.

"Apple cannot simply walk away from its inventions," McElhinny told the jury. "And so, here we are, 37 million acts of infringement later, and we're counting on you for justice. The size of this illegal (conduct) is beyond comprehension."

Samsung lawyers, however, again stressed that Apple's allegations center on Google's Android technology, which ran the Samsung devices, and that Apple is carrying out late CEO Steve Jobs' 2010 internal pledge to conduct a "holy war" on the Mountain View search giant.

John Quinn, Samsung's lead lawyer, told jurors Apple would rather target a foreign competitor such as South Korea-based Samsung than pick a fight with another local valley power, Google.

"This suit was a long shot," an animated Quinn said. "It's in their backyard. They certainly weren't going to take on the local company, Google in Mountain View, and they didn't."

Samsung has argued that even if the jury sides with Apple, the iPhone maker inflated its damages request and it should not receive more than $38 million. "They'll be dancing in the streets of Cupertino if you give them $100 million," Quinn remarked.

But Apple's lawyers, citing a trove of evidence that Samsung copied iPhone technology to keep pace in the smartphone and tablet market, struck back hard, arguing the trial had nothing to do with Google or Android. Apple stressed throughout the case that Samsung, not Google, decided what technology to include and sell in its products.

"You will not find a single question about Google in your jury form," McElhinny told the jury. "Google is not a defendant in this case."

Dismissing Samsung's $38 million damages estimate, McElhinny told the jury that Samsung would succeed in copying Apple's innovations if the punishment were so light. "That is Samsung's strategy," he said.

The jury deciding the outcome is largely without any tech expertise, other than one juror who once worked for IBM. There are no current valley techies on the panel, unlike the jury in the 2012 first trial between the rivals, which resulted in a nearly $1 billion award against Samsung for an older line of smartphones and tablets.

That first jury's foreman had an engineering background and held patents of his own. That jury took about three days to reach a verdict.

© 2014 San Jose Mercury News (CA) under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.

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