SAN JOSE, United States – Jurors have been selected for a high-stakes patent battle between smartphone rivals Apple and Samsung, setting the stage for attorneys to open fire regarding who copied innovations.
The case concerns smartphone and tablet patents and is just the latest in a long-running feud between the two tech giants battling for supremacy in a multibillion-dollar market.
Apple and Samsung lawyers will begin opening remarks on Tuesday before of the freshly-chosen panel of 10 jurors and US District Court Judge Lucy Koh in the California city of San Jose.
The jury of six women and four men promised Koh they would keep open minds and only consider evidence presented in her courtroom.
Koh presided over a trial last year that ended with a jury declaring Samsung owed Apple more than a billion dollars in damages for infringing patents with some older model Android-powered devices.
The damages award was later trimmed to US$929 million and is being appealed.
If this new trial goes in Apple's favor, it could result in an even bigger award since it involves better-selling Samsung devices built with Google-backed Android software.
Unlike last year's trial, this one takes aim at devices still on the market, such as the Galaxy S3 from Samsung's flagship line and iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S. During a day-long interview process for weeding out potentially biased jurors, candidates were asked what devices they or their relatives owned.
Jurors iPhone users
Jury candidates rattled off arrays of iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macintosh computers, with scant mention of Samsung devices other than television sets or DVD players.
"You are going to hear that Samsung sold a lot of smartphones," Samsung attorney Bill Price said while questioning the panel.
"Looking at you folks it may be hard to believe. I am getting Apple, Apple, Apple."
Price pressed prospective jurors about whether they would favor local company Apple with its headquarters a short distance away in Cupertino over South Korea-based Samsung.
One prospective juror from Apple's home city of Cupertino conceded she had an "affinity" for Apple and had read the biography of legendary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
At the behest of Samsung, she was excused by the judge.
Potential jurors were also asked to share their thoughts about Google, the Internet titan behind Android software powering Samsung smartphones at issue in the patent trial.
Google engineers are among those on the witness list for the proceedings. While Apple has yet to attack Google directly in court, the accusations in the trial here involve features built into Android.
Apple lawyers told Koh that they planned to call the company's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller as their first witness.
Apple will get to present its case first.
Koh is allowing each side 25 hours to present evidence to make its case to jurors
Apple filed the suit against the South Korean consumer electronics behemoth in February 2012 as "one action in a worldwide constellation of litigation between the two companies," the judge said in a ruling prior to jury selection.
Patents at issue in the case involve unlocking touchscreens with gestures, automatically correcting words being typed, retrieving data sought by users and performing actions on found data such as making a call after coming up with a phone number.
Apple argued in filings that a Google Quick Search Box in the Android-powered Galaxy Nexus steals from patented technology used by virtual assistant Siri to answer queries in the iPhone.
Samsung devices targeted by Apple include more than half a dozen smartphones from the Galaxy line, along with the Galaxy 2 tablet.
Samsung is countering with claims that Apple infringes on its patented technology for data transmission, imaging, audio and video in iPhone, iPad, iPod and Macintosh computer models.
Apple has maintained publicly that its patent battles are about "innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love," and not about money.
At a hearing early this year, Apple demanded that Samsung pay $40 per smartphone incorporating its patented technology, according to court records.
Any triumph at the trial would likely result in a demand that infringing products be banned from sale in the US.
And a ruling that patents were infringed upon would also provide legal ammunition to fire shots at newer smartphone models or even those yet to be released, if they contain the same technology. AFP