The ABCs of Apple v. Samsung

:::::::If you're just checking into Apple v.'ve missed some good stuff.
Often, patent disputes are mired in arcane
legal arguments and mind-numbing
technical detail.
This case, however, is as good a courtroom
drama as Silicon Valley has to offer. We've
seen lawyers snapping at the judge. One
of Samsung's lawyers literally begged the
court to reverse a ruling. A steady stream
of juicy trade secrets has flowed out of
both companies in the form of courtroom
exhibits. And somewhere just offstage
waits a third powerful player.
CNET broke the news last week that
Google, the company that isn't a party to
the suit but has plenty at stake, is lending
aid to Samsung as well as other Android
partners that Apple has named in similar
patent suits.
Trust us, as we go into a full week of new
courtroom testimony, there's still plenty of
action left. Here are some key facts to
help you stay on top of it all.
How did this start? You can trace the
clash back to January 9, 2007, when the
iPhone debuted. Apple said in a lawsuit it
filed against Samsung in April 2011 that
within a couple of years of Apple's
releasing the iPhone, Samsung had created
iPhone clones that ripped off Apple's
technology and designs. Apple also claims
Samsung did the same thing after the iPad
came out. Samsung responded by
countersuing Apple for patent
What's at stake? Apple wants $2.5
billion if it wins. Samsung is also seeking
monetary damages. What this case is
really about, though, is stopping Google
and its Android operating system. Steve
Jobs, the late Apple co-founder and CEO,
said before dying last October that he
wanted to destroy Android because he
considered it a "wholesale" ripoff of the
If Apple wins, the company's lawyers will
first be able to force Samsung to stop
shipping some of its handsets and
computer tablets in the United States but
more importantly, Apple will have a nice
precedent with which to attack HTC and
other companies that use Android. If Apple
loses, then the decision will obviously
work against Apple's larger anti-Android
punches? Apple seems to have the edge
when it comes to which side the court
favors. In June, the presiding judge in the
case granted preliminary injunctions
against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.
In addition, Samsung has received four
sanctions mostly related to failure to turn
over evidence.
Some of the more compelling evidence
that Apple has shown to the jury includes
side-by-side comparisons of the two
company's icons and graphics. Apple has
also presented internal e-mails and
documents that show Samsung closely
studied the iPhone and knew that its own
handsets were inferior to Apple's. Apple
argues that these documents prove
Samsung was trying to mimic the iPhone.
Has Samsung bloodied Apple's nose?
In many people's eyes, Apple is choosing
to litigate instead of compete and that has
many people cheering for Samsung.
Samsung polled Best Buy managers and
reported back that customers most often
returned the company's tablet because of
a glitch, not because they had mistakenly
believed they were buying an iPad, as
Apple had asserted. Up to now, Apple has
been presenting its case but this week
Samsung takes its turn.
Who are the lawyers? As you might
expect, there are oodles of them. Apple's
lead attorney is Harold McElhinny of the
first of Morrison & Foerster. At 65,
McElhinny has a lot of big victories under
his belt. The top man for Samsung is
Charles Verhoeven from the firm of Quinn
Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Verhoeven is
younger but just as much of a winner. A
legal journal not long ago implied that
Google doesn't need patents. It has
Who is the judge? Lucy Koh, a U.S.
District Judge for the Northern District of
California. She has been a federal judge
since June 2010. When granting the
preliminary injunction against Samsung's
Galaxy Tab 10.1, Koh said: "Although
Samsung has a right to compete, it does
not have a right to compete unfairly by
flooding the market with infringing
How long will it last? The trial began on
July 30 and is scheduled to conclude by
August 24. This week (the week of August
13) is the only one in which proceedings
will occur Monday through Friday. The
schedule otherwise is Monday, Tuesday,
and Friday. Court starts at 9 a.m. PT and
ends at 4:30 p.m. PT.
Where is the trial taking place? It's at
the Robert Peckham U.S. Courthouse and
Federal Building in San Jose, Calif.


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