An Apple Inc marketing executive revealed the company’s reliance on free press coverage and product-placement as it unveiled its case to jurors in the first week of a multibillion-dollar patent-infringement trial against Samsung Electronics Co.
Apple accuses Samsung of copying features from its mobile devices. Each company is trying to convince jurors that its rival infringed patents covering designs and technology.
Apple executives, testifying in federal court in San Jose, California, discussed early planning for the iPhone and deliberations over whether to introduce a smaller version of the iPad. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, described how Apple benefits from widespread media attention.
The remarks offered rare glimpses of decisionmaking at a company that goes to great lengths to shroud its inner workings in secrecy. By lifting the curtain on its internal operations, the company is attempting to convince the jury that Samsung copied its ideas.
The trial is the first before a US jury in a battle being waged on four continents for dominance in a smartphone market valued at US$219.1 billion.
Apple seeks US$2.5 billion for its claims that Samsung infringed patents. Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, counter-sued and will present claims that Apple is infringing two patents covering mobile-technology standards and three utility patents. California-based Apple also wants to make permanent a preliminary ban it won on US sales of a Samsung tablet computer and extend the ban to Samsung smartphones.
Samsung lawyers have said Apple cannot claim a “monopoly on a rectangle.” Apple’s lawyers have said the similarities between its iPhone and iPad and Samsung’s smartphones and tablets go beyond acceptable imitation.
One patent in dispute involves how the screen bounces back when a user scrolls to the end of a Web page or picture. Samsung adopted a similar feature for its smartphones, Apple claims. Another patent at issue covers the use of two fingers to zoom in on a picture or document, a feature that Apple alleges Samsung also copied.
Before testimony yesterday, the third day of trial, US District Judge Lucy Koh rejected Apple’s request to punish a Samsung lawyer’s public disclosure of evidence excluded from trial.
Apple, in an Aug. 1 filing with Koh, said the July 31 statement authorized by Samsung’s lawyer aimed to convey to jurors, through the media, arguments contesting Apple’s central allegations that Samsung copied the iPhone and iPad.
Koh said yesterday that Samsung and its lawyers at Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP chose to “highlight evidence that they both knew was excluded,” and she reserved the right to investigate the release further.
The judge interviewed each juror, asking if they had read or heard anything about the case since testimony ended July 31, concluding she was “satisfied” the jury could remain “fair and impartial” and that they could remain in place.
Apple executives also debated whether to unveil a smaller iPad, according to yesterday’s testimony. An attorney for Samsung showed an e-mail from Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president for Internet services, advocating for a 7-inch tablet, compared to the 9.7-inch model now on the market. In the January 2011 e-mail, Cue discussed trying to persuade Apple co-Founder Steve Jobs to build a smaller iPad. Jobs died in October last year.