Apple Argues that Copying Was Built into Samsung's Development Process

Apple v. SamsungApple told a jury on Tuesday that Samsung didn't just copy Apple's intellectual property, but that deliberately copying the iPhone was part of Samsung's "development process." The accusation came during Apple's opening statements in the second big patent infringement trial between the two companies.

According to Re/code, Apple told the jury that Samsung would try to paint a picture where companies routinely copied each other in a process called "competitive intelligence." Apple attorney Harold McElhinny told jurors that this wasn't the real story when it came to Samsung's attempts to get its flagging smartphone business off the ground in the wake of the iPhone's release in 2007.

“Samsung did not stop with competitive intelligence,” he told jurors. “Copying the iPhone was literally built into the Samsung development process.”

Contrary to many pundit predictions, Apple also sought to distance this suit from Google. In comments intended to rebut any effort by Samsung to simply claim that it got its software from Google, Mr. McElhinny said, "This case is not about Google. It is Samsung that has made the decision to copy these features."

According to The Verge, Mr. McElhinny also said, "It’s Samsung, not Google selling these phones. It’s Samsung making these things, and infringing."

Getting to the heart of Apple's long-standing complaint about both Samsung and Android, the attorney told jurors to ignore any attempt by Samsung to trivialize Apple's inventions. He said that Apple would show the jury that the patented inventions Apple is suing over cover fundamental features.

"Samsung copied many many features, but there are limits in what we can accomplish in a trial. We can't try 50 patents," Mr. McElhinny said.

Apple's argument from the beginning of its patent war with Samsung and other Android OEMs is that Apple risked everything on the iPhone, and that these companies copied the results of that risk without having to take that risk. Apple won almost US$1 billion in damages from Samsung in the first lawsuit to go to trial, but Apple has said that what it really wants is for Samsung to stop copying its inventions.

It remains to be seen if even a victory in this trial will help achieve that goal, but just in case, Apple is asking for another $2 billion in damages, or $40 per phone. Apple also has other patents involved in a third trial currently in front of Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal.