The long-awaited battle between Apple and Samsung is underway amid high drama on the first official day of proceedings in federal court.
Before opening statements from both parties the South Korean company set the tone for the day, asking U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh to allow exhibits showings their smartphone designs, arguing they began before the introduction of the iPhone in 2007.
After ruling against the request three times previously, Judge Koh denied the appeal to present the evidence to the jury with Samsung lawyers desperately arguing for reconsideration.
“What’s the point in having a trial?" said John Quinn, Samsung’s lawyer. “They want to create a completely false impression that we came up with this design after January 2007.”
Quinn’s pressure was met with strong resistance as Judge Koh threatened to sanction him and ordered proceedings to begin in a feisty opening half hour in court.
Yet further drama followed with a women juror, selected from 74 potential candidates on Monday, asked to be excused from the trial after her company refused to pay her leave – both sides agreed to the request leaving a jury of nine.
The jury finally took their seats watching an overview video on the U.S. Patent System along with additional information from Judge Koh as Apple prepared their opening statement.
Apple opening statement:
With the trial finally underway Apple made its case for US$2.5 billion damages, as the California-based company’s chief lawyer Harold McElhinny focussed on Samsung’s radical shift in phone design.
McElhinny showed the court slides featuring old Samsung phones from 2006, asking the key question of how their rivals arrived at their new smartphone designs.
"As we all know it is easier to copy than to innovate," McElhinny told the court. "Apple had already taken the risks.
“Think about the risk. They were a successful computer company. They were a successful music company. And they were about to enter a field that was dominated by giants - Apple had absolutely no name in the field. No credibility. It was an entry had it gone bad."
“Samsung could accept the challenge of the iPhone. It could create its own products, come up with its own design, beat Apple fairly in the marketplace. Or it could copy.
“As the market turned against Samsung’s phone designs, Samsung decided to simply copy every element of the iPhone.”
Samsung opening statement:
Samsung’s right of reply came after three hours of Apple presentation, with head lawyer Quinn urging jurors to: “Please keep an open mind - there’s more to the story than you just heard.”
The Samsung defence argues the revolutionary design Apple claim belongs to their iPhone is non-existent given the company has no right to claim ‘a rectangular design with rounded corners.’
Quinn showed the court slides of Samsung’s phones before 2007, arguing his client explored many different designs and Apple was ‘distorting’ the perception of what phones Sasmung designed prior to the iPhone release.
“There’s a difference between commercial success and inventing something,” said Quinn, adding Samsung is not disputing the greatness of the iPhone as a product.
“There’s nothing wrong by being inspired by someone else’s design and there’s nothing wrong with looking at what your competitors do and being inspired by them.”
To follow live updates of the trial click here