As Apple-Samsung Battle Opens, Google Takes Center Stage

Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. may have resumed their global patent feud in federal court on Tuesday, but the first day of their trial centered on a Silicon Valley giant nowhere to be seen ? Google Inc.

In opening remarks to a federal jury, Apple stuck to its familiar story, portraying a Samsung strategy of copying iPhone and iPad technology as an underhanded market grab that has continued since late Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the smartphone at MacWorld in 2007.

But Samsung, in its most aggressive counterattack on Apple to date, crafted a very different story line. To Samsung, Apple?s legal assault on the South Korean tech giant is all about panic over losing its iGrip on the smartphone and tablet market ? and a ?holy war? against its true rival, Google and its Android operating system.

Those were the competing versions presented to an eight-member federal jury hearing the latest round in the Apple v. Samsung patent showdown, their second trial in less than two years over the rights to smartphone and tablet technology. This time, Apple argues that Samsung should pay more than $2 billion in damages for violating patented features in iPhone and iPads in newer Samsung phones such as the Galaxy S3.

?They crossed into the dark side of intentional copying,? Apple attorney Harold McElhinny told the jury.

Punching back at Apple?s copying claims, Samsung showed the jury emails from top executives, including Jobs, fretting about the Google threat. Jobs, one document showed, promised a ?holy war? against Google in 2011.

?This is really about Apple vs. Google?s Android,? Samsung lawyer John Quinn told the jury. ?Google is an Apple obsession. That?s what this lawsuit is about.?

Having already won a 2012 jury verdict against Samsung (and nearly $1 billion in damages), Apple?s lawyers appeared to stick to the same script in this second trial, which alleges Samsung has copied newer Apple products such as the iPhone 5 in its more recent smartphones and tablets. As with the first trial, Apple started with a video of Jobs introducing the iPhone, and rolled out internal Samsung emails showing executives considered their smartphones well behind Apple?s products.

Even before Samsung brought up Google, McElhinny tried to downplay Samsung?s argument that the patent fight is about Android, which has been at the core of most Samsung devices. He noted that Samsung sells the smartphones and tablets with the five Apple patents at issue in the trial, such the slide-to-lock and auto-correct features.

?This case is not about Google,? he told the jury. ?It is Samsung that has made the decision to copy these features.?

But Quinn got up and waved a Galaxy Nexus phone at the jury, and told them Samsung did not invent the patented software features Apple is suing over. He assured the jury they would hear from Google engineers who developed Android, and called Apple?s damages demand ?absurd.?

Showing the jury internal Apple memos suggesting concern about losing ground to Android, Quinn added: ?They are trying to gain from you in this courtroom what (they) have lost in the marketplace.?

Apple started its case Tuesday with Philip Schiller, the company?s top marketing executive who also testified at the first trial. Schiller recounted the secretive, risky origins of launching the iPhone, seeking to back Apple?s claims that the smartphone revolutionized the industry and Samsung copied to keep up.

The trial will resume Friday with more Apple witnesses, including Greg Christie, a senior engineer involved in developing the iPhone.

Meanwhile, the original 10-member jury lost two jurors on Tuesday; one woman had to bow out because of illness, and another juror was let go because of financial issues.

Source: MCT Information Services