August 06, 2012, 1:01 PM — The big news in the mobile world is the courtroom showdown where Apple is calling Samsung a copycat. You can pretend there are other stories out there -- about Windows 8, about Best Buy buy-backs, or even about Mars. But really, nobody can resist the drama of the electronics world’s biggest power trying to keep an ascendant competitor from gaining ground. Also, Apple and Samsung are taking the occasional cheap shot at each other, and it's super fun to watch the giant robots fight.
Ahem. But if you have any kind of engaging employment that doesn't involve covering the trial at the courthouse, you're likely getting your Apple v. Samsung fix in occasional blips and quick reads. So take a moment now to see what’s going on in a quickly digestible snack.
What it's all about
Before last summer, Samsung was a component supplier to Apple, creating some of the pieces of the Cupertino company's phenomenally successful iPhones and iPads. But South-Korea-based Samsung became an increasingly successful Android maker, seeing huge sales with its Galaxy line of phones and mini-tablets. In fact, by July 2012, Samsung and Apple had made more than half of the smartphones sold in the world. And Apple believed that a significant part of Samsung's success came from its swiping of Apple's looks, designs, and features. Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and its huge pile of patents, is speculated to be, in part, a move to protect Android partners from such litigation in the future (by providing counter-sue weaponry).
Apple and Samsung have more than 50 lawsuits filed against each other around the world, with untold billions in damages claimed from patent infringement and anticompetitive actions. The main suit playing out in the courts (and blogs) at the moment involves a 38-page, $2.5 billion complaint Apple filed on April 15, claiming that Samsung’s Nexus S, Epic 4G, Galaxy S 4G, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, among others, infringed on Apple’s intellectual property. SBNation has the entire (PDF) complaint for those who enjoy such reading.
Now to the fun part: the trial that launched on July 30, and is expected to run through early September.
The most entertaining and enlightening stuff so far
We've learned a lot about Apple's product creation process: Mike Isaac at AllThingsD has a great summary of the Apple design process that came out on the stand. Among them are details that make Apple seem very human (15 designers around a kitchen table, passing around sketchpads to fine-tune the iPhone) and very, very big ($1.1 billion spent in marketing the iPhone and iPad since 2007).
Samsung gave the press evidence that didn't make it to court: After Judge Lucy Koh barred Samsung from presenting evidence that, Samsung claimed, showed Samsung working on supposedly iPhone-like phones before the iPhone's debut, and Apple perhaps looking to other phones for inspiration for its iPhone, Samsung released its intended evidence to the press, in PowerPoint format. That did not make Judge Koh very happy.
Seating a jury near San Francisco for a tech trial is tricky: As
Ars Technica sums up the final 10 jurors chosen from 70 candidates:
They include an electrical engineer who worked in hard drives for over 35 years, a homemaker, a construction worker, a young unemployed man, an insurance agent, an ex-Navy avionics technician, a systems engineer, and a bike shop manager. They do not include one Apple employee and one Google employee who were in the initial pool from which jurors were selected. The Apple employee ruled himself out and the Google employee was rejected by Apple attorneys.
**Everything, including (allegedly) evidence, gets Photoshoped these days: As detailed at AppleInsider, Apple is fighting back against Samsung’s earlier claims of misleading evidence, and now both sides look like they can't remember where their original drawings of anything are located.