Earlier today, the U.S. Apple vs Samsung trial was officially kicked off by Apple’s opening statement, in which the counsel of the iPhone maker started showing the nine jurors – one member of the jury was dismissed just before Apple’s opening statement – how Samsung copied the look and feel of its iPhone and iPad mobile products.
After one hour and a half, it was time for Samsung’s legal team to step up to the plate with its opening statement. From the get-go, Samsung clearly specified that it didn’t copy the iPhone or the iPad. Instead, the company is simply competing against Apple in a market where touchscreen-based devices are currently in demand. Hence, that’s what Samsung is producing. The Verge reports:
Samsung counsel Charles Verhoeven stressed numerous times to the jury that Apple had not told the entire story, and that Samsung was a company that prided itself on providing consumers the products that they want — and if consumers want touchscreen devices, that's what the company would provide. “Samsung is a major technology company that develops its own innovations,” he told the 9 jurors, stressing that Samsung is a company that competes — and not copies — in the marketplace.
CNET offers a few more quotes from Samsung’s opening statement:
“We're not standing here telling you ladies and gentleman of the jury that the iPhone wasn't commercially successful. It was an inspiring product to everyone, including the competition,” Samsung's lawyer Charlie Verhoeven said. “But being inspired by a product and seeking to make better products is competition.”
“It's not copying,” he said.
“Evidence is going to show that Apple didn't invent the rectangular shaped form factor. Apple didn't invent having a touch screen,” Verhoeven said.
Samsung went on further to show how its mobile products are different from Apple’s from design, home screens and the way these devices act when turned on. Samsung’s case is that Apple does not have a “’monopoly’ over the rectangular design with rounded corners, as it was invented before the iPhone,” Reuters reports.
“Samsung is not some copyist, some Johnny come lately doing knockoffs,” Samsung attorney Charles Verhoeven told the jurors.
Among the evidence shown to jurors, we find an early iPad design that looks nothing like the iPad that eventually hit stores and that sports a design protected by an Apple patent – according to Samsung's attorneys. That patented Apple design is allegedly infringed by the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
At the same time, Verhoeven took apart Apple’s patents that are in play in this lawsuit one by one showing previous patents and/or prior art that covered the same technological principles. Among the patents disputed by Samsung we find various features that are found on the iPhone and other Android devices, including smartphones and tablets made by Samsung. Such features include touch scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, tap-to-zoom, or the “bounce-back” scrolling feature.
But Samsung did not only defend against Apple attacks. Instead it made sure the jury understands its stance on the FRAND standard essential patents used to attack the iPhone maker.
Verhoeven also put out initial defense against Apple's claims that such patents were in violation of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)'s guidelines, one of which requires its members to disclose intellectual property related to potential wireless standards.
“What you were not told is that the duty to disclose does not apply to ETSI for confidential information.” Verhoeven said. “The applications, the patent applications Apple is pointing to were confidential. They were confidential Korean patent applications.”
Verhoeven described the patents Apple uses against Samsung as “neat little things you can do on a touchscreen,” arguing that the 3G patents Samsung claims that are infringed by iPhone and iPad are more important since they deal with more important phone features.
Samsung’s counsel also reminded jurors that it’s Samsung that makes various components found inside the iPhone, and therefore “apparently Apple thinks Samsung invented something, because it’s buying products for its own devices.
We’ll be back with more details from this complex legal fight between giants, as the U.S. Apple vs Samsung trial is going to be a source of hot iOS vs Android debate for at least four weeks or so.