Jury poised to decide Apple and Samsung patent dispute

15-08-2012

A US jury is waiting to decide the fate of Apple and Samsung’s high-profile patent dispute as the tech companies clash in a Californian court.

The trial began on July 30, 2012, to resolve claims that both sides have infringed each other’s IP. A jury of seven men and three women, including two engineers, will rule on the case following closing arguments in court next week.

Apple is claiming $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung (based on profits lost), accusing it of breaching seven design and technical patents. The patents include designs for the iPhone and iPad, as well technologies enabling people to tap and zoom while using the devices. 

In Samsung’s counterclaim, it alleges Apple has breached five of its own patents, including using an app while listening to music in the background. Samsung has not specified how much it should be paid in damages.

On August 13, Apple argued that more than a quarter of Samsung’s $30.4 billion sales of smartphones and tablets in the US have resulted from infringing its patents. But Samsung responded by saying that Apple’s evidence was not strong enough to reap this reward.

On the same day, Apple concluded its arguments before Samsung formally asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit owing to the US firm’s inability to prove its case. Judge Lucy Koh, who issued a rare preliminary injunction in the US against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in July, dismissed the request.

Samsung had earlier argued that some of Apple’s patents should be invalidated because of prior art, which is all publicly available information on a subject before a certain date. 

The battle between the companies is typical of an age-old dispute over “imitation or rip off”, said Azim Khan of international law firm Pillsbury. “This is the dilemma facing all companies launching new products, particularly in a fiercely competitive market.

“The problem in IP law terms is that the law does not, on the whole, protect a general idea but quite specific elements. It is the legally protected expression of an idea, not the idea itself that the law defends. We will watch how this unfolds with interest,” he said. 

Following closing arguments next week, the jury will decide on one of the most high-profile patent disputes to grip the US. 

But Judge Koh told the companies it was "time for peace" and urged them to try to resolve the dispute one last time before the jury begins deliberating on its verdict.

This article was first published on 16 August 2012 in World IP Review

Apple, Samsung, prior art, design, patent infringement

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