It’s probably not the trial of the century, but most of the tech world is currently watching Apple and Samsung duke it out in court. It’s not pretty, but it’s pretty entertaining.
The first week of the trial’s four long weeks has just wrapped up. That means the 10 jurors and Judge Lucy Koh, presiding over the case, have three more weeks to decide whether or not Apple is infringing on Samsung’s patents or if Samsung is infringing on Apple’s patents. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
One of my favorite moments from early in the deliberations was when leaked images of early iPad and iPhone prototypes surfaced. We had, for the very first time, the chance to see what Apple’s iPhone looked like in 2006, before its launch in 2007. My reaction? It’s amazingly how chubby those first iPad designs were, and how much they apparently evolved by the time the iPad was officially released just a year later.
Also, things took a sour turn at the start of the week when Samsung declared that the court was blocking it from presenting evidence that it found necessary to the trial. The company decided to leak that evidence to the press, which ultimately worried the judge that there was a “real and possible danger” that Samsung had tried to illegally sway the jury.
Apple was predictably furious and asked for a summary judgment as well as injunctions against Samsung’s products. So what was the big deal?
Well, the barred evidence suggested that Apple’s lead designer, Jonathan Ive, had asked another designer to create a model of what an iPhone might look like if it were made by Sony. That suggests, for example, that Apple itself was looking to copy other products. Samsung said it leaked the documents because they were already in the public domain. Still, Apple contended that Samsung acted inappropriately.
That didn’t seem to matter, however, since Apple’s own evidence was equally damning. It published documents in which Samsung admitted the iPhone would be “easy to copy” – certainly not good news for a firm being accused of creating “copycat” products ¬– and additional documents that showed the similarities between Apple’s iOS mobile operating system and Samsung’s own TouchWiz. Samsung’s documents even pointed out the pros and cons of iOS and how the icons were particularly attractive.
So that’s essentially where we sit now. The first week seems to, for the most part, have landed in Apple’s favor. Obviously, I’m not a psychic, so I can’t predict who will win this case. But Apple’s asking for injunctions and a fine of more than $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung. That’s not pocket change, and the results of this trial could radically transform the entire U.S. smartphone landscape.
There remain three weeks of deliberations, of course, so we have plenty of time to see how the trial and the various arguments unfold. Hopefully we’ll be treated to a few more Easter eggs in the meantime. Early iPhone 5 prototypes, anyone?