Apple-Samsung trial: the end is nigh

With both sides now out of time, the end to the trial between two of the biggest companies in tech draws ever nearer to a close.

(Credit: CBSi)

Last Friday, Apple and Samsung both ran through the last few hours — or in Samsung's case, just minutes — of their allotted 25 hours for rebuttals and clarifications.

Still ahead are closing arguments, in which the two companies will get their last chance to convince a jury of nine that the other company is infringing on its technology. A decision in either direction could result in millions — even billions — of dollars in damages, as well as potential sales bans on infringing products.

In Apple's case, the company wants US$2.5 billion in damages from Samsung for allegedly copying the look and feel of the iPhone and the iPad, as well as infringing on its software features and potentially confusing customers. Samsung wants around US$519 million from Apple for infringements of five of its patents on Apple's portable devices, like the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Apple was largely in control of the final day of evidence, and managed to run through 11 of its own witnesses (including video depositions), to rebut the arguments made by Samsung during its half of the trial. Samsung, meanwhile, brought back a trio of its own witnesses.

At times, the pace was so fast that witnesses were sworn in and even began testimony before the last witness had made it through the wooden gates leading onto the court floor.

Where Apple spent considerable time during its offensive focusing on design, its team largely focused on discrediting Samsung's wireless patents. That included bringing out an economics professor and former antitrust expert with the US Department of Justice to make the case that Samsung was monopolising its technology with the two patents.

Samsung was in no position to fight back. It began the day with just 46 minutes to use, compared to Apple's nearly four hours. US District Judge Lucy Koh told Samsung it couldn't get any extensions, since it had made a "strategic decision" to burn up its time in cross-examining Apple's witnesses.

Despite the rapid pace, the general mood of the court contained less of the general animosity and tension of the past three weeks. There was frequent laughter, as sides rushed through testimony.

Earlier in the week, Koh had asked the two companies to speak once more about settling their case, suggesting that the jury might penalise both companies.

Apple and Samsung told Koh that they were unable to reduce the number of claims against each other in their ongoing patent infringement lawsuit, increasing the likelihood that the jury will decide their high-stakes dispute.

Despite being "pathologically optimistic" that the two companies would settle the case before it reached the jury's hands, Koh earlier this week had once again asked them to pare down the claims against one another. In May, Koh ordered Apple's Tim Cook and Samsung's Choi Gee-sung, as well as their general counsels, to meet in San Francisco, California, to try to work out their patent dispute.

"The parties have met and conferred about case narrowing, but have not been able to narrow their cases further," according to a joint statement that was issued by the companies, which was published by Bloomberg. CNET has contacted Apple and Samsung for comment and we will update this report when we learn more.

Standing in the way of next week's closing arguments are some 100 pages of jury instructions, which both sides have yet to agree on. Earlier in the day, Koh noted that there were still 70 disputed points in the document, which she estimated will take her an hour and a half to read.


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ozoneocean posted a comment   

Samsung will get reamed. Apple makes a speciality out of appealing to the technologically illiterate and novices, which most of the jury and the judge probably are so they'll side with the face value stuff.

- I do not say that Apple users are all tech illiterates or novices, just that Apple make a concerted effort to appeal to those types and does it well.


trebor83 posted a reply   

I think Apple are going to win their "trade dress" case and probaby their rubberband scrolling patent case, but I don't know about the rest.

If technical illiteratacy on the part of the jury is all it takes to derail their case Samsung need to get better layers.

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