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Apple-Samsung damages trial heads to jury

SAN JOSE — Attorneys representing Apple and Samsung gave closing arguments Tuesday  in a case two years and millions in lawyer’s fees in the making.

In 2011, Apple sued Samsung for infringing patents on Apple’s smartphone and tablet designs. Last year a jury determined that Samsung had infringed Apple’s patents with a total damage reward of about $1 billion.

The jury in this trial is tasked to redetermine the monetary reward Samsung owes for selling 13 smartphones found last year to infringe at least one of five Apple patents.

Apple calculates the infringement award around $380 million, while Samsung is asking to pay a significantly lower $50 million.

Apple attorney Bill Lee started his closing statement with:

“Let’s look at what the parties did, not what they would have done.”

Lee painted the picture of substantial market praise for Apple’s phone designs and how Samsung, based on its internal company documentation, deliberately copied the iPhone to grab an overwhelming smartphone market share.

Samsung attorneys had argued that Apple’s inventions were narrow and insignificant, but Samsung dealt with its crisis of design by making something like the iPhone.

Apple cannot regain the market position its phone had in 2010, and, as even Samsung attorney Bill Price admitted, Samsung had crossed the line.

The $380 million damages are just a small percentage of the billion-dollar profits Samsung made from the infringing phones.

Samsung replied that Apple was overbroad in the original complaints and is not able to show why Apple would have even lost profits based on customers choosing Samsung phones over the iPhone.

Samsung Attorney Bill Price said in court:

“The question is why did someone buy the phone.”

Apple avoided the question and only asked about the value of specific features covered in Apple’s patents.

Price pointed to Apple’s insistence that Samsung cannot write off operating expenses as proof that Apple is not seeking to right the wrong of the infringement but instead to punish the competition in the marketplace.

Though Apple’s designs were lauded in the marketplace, the existence of less-appealing alternatives meant that, even though Apple’s designs were cooler, they did not have patents as valuable as Apple claimed in this case.

Apple’s rebuttal actually became a point of controversy when Apple attorney Harold McElhinny talked about market competition.

After McElhinny reminded the jury to look at the evidence and jury instructions rather than rely on the attorney arguments, he rebuked Samsung’s assertion that Apple is out to punish Samsung for infringement:

“If juries take the profit out of patent infringement, then infringement will stop.”

McElhinny’s statement about the failure of United States television manufacturers to protect their intellectual property that prompted Samsung to move for a mistrial.

Price argued that McElhinny’s comment was racially biased as Asian companies had forced the American television manufacturers out of business.

Judge Koh denied the motion when Samsung made clear that it would not settle for the judge admonishing Apple for the comment in front of the jury.

Koh proceeded to bring the jury back and repeat the first jury instruction to not have a bias when determining the case as to not draw attention to anything Apple or Samsung said that would improperly sway the jury.

The jury will continue deliberations Wednesday morning.

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