Samsung Electronics Co. representatives (L) wait to enter the Robert F. Peckham Federal Courthouse on July 30, 2012 in San Jose, California. The trial in the Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. patent battle begins today at a San Jose federal courthouse to determine if Samsung illegally copied technolgy used in Apple's popular iPhone and iPads. Apple is seeking $2.5 billion in damages.
Apple lawyers on Tuesday morning promised jury members in their $2.5 billion dollar patent case that they would have "loads of phones" to examine in the jury room when it came time to render a verdict.
Apple's lead litigator Bruce Sewell pointed out to the 10 men and two women that both the Apple iPhone and Samsung's Vibrant and Fascinate had "flat black transparent front faces" -- a tongue twister he had to repeat several times with a chuckle before he got it right.
In a strange aside, Sewell pointed out his young granddaughter could use an iPad instinctively -- one could argue the glib comment was a mistake. It could be construed as showing the way one interacts with an iPad is functional and not ornamental.
"Samsung has taken our property," said Sewell as he wrapped up his opening argument. "People should not use what you invented."
At question is more than just front faces. The question before the jury is whether Samsung's phones and tablets are not just similar to iPhone but are wholesale ripoffs.
Apple presented several examples of Samsung using Apple's ideas over and over, from a double-tap to zoom to the unmoving icons at the bottom of the screen.
Patent trials often come down to what's functional and what's ornamental. A steering wheel in a car is round, for instance, for functional reasons and Mercedes will not take Chevrolet to court over that issue.
Ornamental innovations are improvements that make one product better than another. Apple says the way a person interacts with an iPhone are ornamental and thus qualify for protection.