Epic patent trial over iPhone technology wraps up

August 21, 2012 8:52:09 PM PDT
It's been called the biggest patent lawsuit of all time -- billions of dollars at stake as Apple and Samsung battle over rights to smartphone and tablet computer technology. The two electronic giants gave their closing arguments Tuesday and handed the case to the jury.

Hundreds lined up to get into the federal courthouse for closing arguments in the patent battle between Apple and Samsung. It's a case one lawyer said could change the way competition works in America.

"It does kind of set this precedent for how we look at competition, and whether you're really just competing with someone or you're stealing from them," VentureBeat reporter Meghan Kelly said.

Kelly says she's been struck by the two tech giants total unwillingness to compromise Despite Judge Lucy Koh repeatedly begging them to settle out of court.

"She asked one of the Apple lawyers whether or not he was smoking crack," Kelly said.

But Apple insists you don't need to smoke anything to see how Samsung is ripping off its products. Apple attorney Harold McElhinny told the jury Samsung's designs are so similar to the Apple designs that they're likely to cause Apple's designs to be viewed as less unique in the marketplace. He says Samsung copied features like double tap to zoom and the bounce-back that happens at the edge of a page.

Wired Magazine's Christina Bonnington says that simple argument could win favor with jurors.

"The Apple lawyers are good at telling a story, they're good at explaining things in terms that everyday person could understand," she said. "Samsung's argument is a lot more technically complicated and it's just a lot harder to grasp."

Samsung's closing argument listed dozens of ways its products are different from Apple's and claimed Apple just wants a monopoly.

Attorney Charles Verhoeven said Apple is trying to prevent its largest competitor from giving consumers what they want: smartphones with big screens.

The question for jurors: would consumers want that if it weren't for the iPhone?

"This smartphone shape that we have now, with this large screen on the front, is that just where the industry was headed, or did Apple actually innovate something unique," Bonnington said.

Now, the jurors have their work cut out for them. They have to answer a litany of questions on a verdict form that is 22 pages long. Observers say it's likely to require at least a full day of deliberations.

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