Samsung counterattacks on patent infringement

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Samsung counterattacks on patent infringement

Samsung Electronics began its attack on patents asserted by Apple in a $2 billion case by trying to convince jurors that the iPhone maker exaggerated claims about inventions allegedly copied by the Galaxy maker.

Samsung, trying to avoid a repeat of two years ago, when jurors found infringement and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, is calling on witnesses with smartphone technology expertise, including engineers from Google, to argue that some of Apple’s technology is so obvious it shouldn’t have been patented.

Apple faces a bigger challenge this time because, unlike the 2012 trial that focused mostly on claims about the look and feel of its devices, the current case “requires the jury to dig into the nitty-gritty details of software that Samsung received” from Google as the developer of the Android operating system, said Brian Love, a professor at Santa Clara University law school.

“Google’s involvement in the case seriously undermines Apple’s narrative that Samsung is a blatant copyist,” Love said. “The Google brand is very strong and, more importantly, is associated with forward-looking innovation, not piracy.”

The second U.S. trial between the world’s top two smartphone makers in federal court in San Jose, California, follows legal battles on four continents to dominate a market that was valued at $338.2 billion.

Samsung had 31 percent of industry revenue, compared with 15 percent for Apple, whose share of the market has shrunk as the touch-screen interface has become commonplace and Samsung, LG Electronics and Lenovo Group have introduced lower-cost alternatives.

Today’s testimony builds on earlier efforts by Samsung to differentiate its products from Apple’s and is intended to undercut the iPhone maker’s bid to claim the high ground on designing novel functions that make phones easier to use.

Kevin Jeffay, a professor of computer science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, challenged Apple’s assertion that one of its patents exclusively protects a smartphone function allowing users to make a call by clicking on a phone number within a webpage or email instead of having to dial it separately.

Apple, which finished presenting its evidence last week, argues that Samsung, not Google, made the decision to use the infringing features to sell more than 37 million smartphones and tablets that violate its patents.


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