In San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, attorneys made closing arguments in the Apple vs. Samsung trial. It took Judge Lucy Koh two hours to read aloud the list of instructions on how the jury should decide the trial’s separate issues before the case was sent to the jury.
At the end of the reading, the seven men and two women were newly minted experts in U.S. patent law and/or staggered by the task that lies in front of them. Before their task is done, they will have filled out a 70-page form dealing with the issues in the case. One observer, Ted Smith, a coordinator for the International Campaign for Responsible Technology, shook his head in disbelief at the end. “This is the kind of case that shouldn’t go to a jury,” he said. Rather it should be decided by a panel of judges well-versed in patent law.
But the two parties failed in an arbitration attempt to come to any agreement. At the judge’s direction, the CEOs of the two firms consulted again with the same result. One side or the other wants the case to go to a jury verdict, and many observers believe that it’s Apple, playing for a stunning blow from a jury chosen from a populace steeped in the legend of Steve Jobs.
The stakes have grown with the evolution of the case. Apple attorneys had opened with charges that Samsung copied it and infringed specific industrial design and utility patents. The task of making those charges stick in a closing statement fell to Harold McElhinny of the San Francisco law firm of Morrison Foerster (a.k.a. Big Mac of Mofo, in the gallery’s shorthand). McElhinny stands six feet two and is solidly built.
In closing, he gave a straight-ahead narrative of Samsung suffering from the iPhone’s competition, then gathering its design experts from three different plants in Korea to do a crash project of duplicating the iPhone’s features in its Galaxy line. With multiple iPhone-like models, he said, Samsung began to thrive.
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