It may feel as if the Apple-Samsung patent lawsuits jumped the shark some time ago, but that doesn’t mean the companies don’t want to play again. The latest episode kicked off this week, featuring the same court, the same judge and the same media hoopla.
If you’re keeping score, Samsung has gotten the worst of it so far, owing close to $1 billion as a result of a 2012 jury verdict and a follow-up damages trial. That earlier case turned on Apple’s design patents, and on functions like “double-tapping” and resizing screen shapes; Apple nearly ran the table, while the jury rejected Samsung’s own patent claims.
This time around, the case turns on a new batch of patents related to features like “slide-to-unlock” and video transmission.Opening statements will take place today in San Jose, California, after the court selected ten jurors yesterday who will settle in for a month-long trial about (what else) iPhones, iPads and Samsung Galaxy devices.
This latest trial will again take place a few miles from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, which has led Samsung to worry whether a hometown jury will favor Apple. (Reports yesterday say the new jury is less techy than the previous one).
As for the patents themselves — five for Apple and two for Samsung — it can be hard to assess their value at a time when the U.S. is awash in millions of suspect software patents, and every smartphone is covered by as many as 250,000 of them.
“It’s really, really hard to make that argument that these patents are so much more valuable than the average patent in a phone,” law professor Brian Love told the Wall Street Journal (sub req’d) in a preview of the case
That won’t stop Apple from trying. The company is seeking $40 per phone in damages and an injunction to knock some of Samsung’s newer products off the market. In an interesting tactical twist, Samsung is seeking just $7 million in an apparent effort to show jurors that patents are not worth as much as companies claim.
The other interesting element to the case is the specter of Google. As the Journal notes, Google engineers like Andy Rubin could take the stand in an effort to help Samsung and ward off the possibility of a court order forcing changes to its Android operating system.
If you can’t get enough of this stuff, Re/Code’s Ina Fried has more of the nitty-gritty here.