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Apple opening statement says Samsung decided to go the easy way, copy the iPhone

July 31, 2012
Image Credit: CNET

The U.S. Apple vs Samsung trial started yesterday with jury selection and was supposed to continue today with the opening statements for both giants. But before Apple opened up the proceedings with its initial arguments, a female juror asked to be dismissed, as her employer would not pay her salary over the period that she would be serving.

The juror in question was dismissed, and now the jury is made up from nine members, seven men and two women.

After the jury debacle, Apple’s counsel – led by Harold McElhinny, a partner at Morrison Foerster – explained the jurors why Apple brought suit against Samsung.

Using a series of slides containing images and videos to demonstrate how allegedly infringing post-iPhone and iPad Samsung Android-based products look like, Apple’s lawyers basically said that Samsung smartphones and tablets have copied the look and feel of their client’s iOS devices. Samsung chose to copy the design of Apple’s iconic mobile products and elements of iOS.

Apple basically argues that the iPhone was a “bet the farm” move for the company, an underdog in the smartphone universe at the time it came out with the iPhone, and Samsung simply chose to copy the device.

Image Credit: TodayILearned

The slides included quotes from Samsung execs that seem to show that copying the iPhone was the best move for the company at the time. The Verge notes:

He showed the jury several slides of internal Samsung documents — including an internal review of the iPhone’s impact from September of 2007 — which stated that competing with the iPhone “one way or the other is inevitable,” and that the iPhone hardware was “easy to copy.”

Here are some interesting quotes from McElhinny, as pointed out by CNET:

“Apple had absolutely no name in the field, no credibility. (The iPhone) was an entry that had it gone bad, could have ended the company’s future,” McElhinny said. “On January 9, 2007 when Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller went through that presentation, they were literally betting their company.”
Apple’s argument involved showing photos of Samsung’s phones before and after 2007’s iPhone, as well as the company’s tablets ahead of 2010’s iPad release.
“How did Samsung get to here in 2006 to here in 2011?” McElhinny asked, while showing Samsung products released during those years.

Reuters has the answer to that question:

“As we all know it is easier to copy than to innovate,” he told the court. “Apple had already taken the risks.”
Another document prepared by a Samsung executive said the company was in a “crisis of design” due to the iPhone.

McElhinny then walked the jurors through the Apple patents in play in this trial, four design patents and three utility patents, and the videos used by the lawyer to make his case showed “what appeared to be extreme similarities between the Apple and Samsung implementations.”

Then William Lee, another Apple attorney, explained to jurors why Samsung’s own patent claims are flawed, and just a reaction to Apple’s suit against the South Korean Android maker. Apple says that Samsung “never said a word” about the 3G patents that its iOS devices are allegedly infringing until Apple filed suit against its supply partner – Apple is Samsung’s biggest client, even though the two companies are fierce rivals in the smartphone and tablet business.

Apple said Samsung wants $12 per infringing iPhone or iPad, while the company pays $10 for the iOS device components that allegedly infringe Samsung’s patents. Moreover, these components are purchased from Intel, which is already paying a licensing fee to Samsung.

Apple wants up to $2.525 billion in damages and royalties from Samsung, something we already know from the company’s trial brief that was available to the media since last week. According to the iPhone maker, Samsung has sold 22.7 million devices in the U.S. to date, generating $8.16 billion in revenue and over $2 billion in profits.

Samsung is yet to deliver its opening statement, but we’ll be back later with the Android maker’s first remarks in this American Apple vs Samsung trial.