While the impact of Apple's iPhone is obvious to anyone who follows the tech industry, attorneys Wednesday took a California jury back to the phone's 2007 unveiling to remind them just how important the device was, as Apple and Samsung began arguing over patent infringement damages that could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.
"Where were you on Jan. 9, 2007?" asked Harold McElhinny, a lawyer at Morrison & Foerster representing Apple, before cueing a video of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs introducing the phone at the Macworld Expo.
"An iPod, a phone and an Internet communicator," Jobs said that day as the crowd cheered in response.
For Apple, it's important to remind the eight-member jury and assert just how influential the iPhone was to the industry, because Apple is seeking redress for Samsung's infringement of five of its patents on 13 different Samsung smartphones.
The infringement was determined by a jury in the same California courtroom last year as part of a larger case in which Apple was awarded US$1.05 billion in damages, but shortly after that the judge ruled $450 million of the award invalid because of faulty jury math. The same eight jurors are now charged with calculating how much Samsung should pay. The prior finding of infringement isn't up for re-evaluation.
At the center of the fight over money is how much the infringement hurt Apple sales and helped Samsung sales.
Apple is asserting that Samsung's infringement cost it sales of 360,000 products and, perhaps more importantly, $114 million in lost profits. Apple also wants $231 million of Samsung's profits from the infringing phones and an additional $35 million in royalty payments.
In total, McElhinny said Samsung should pay Apple just under $380 million in damages.
Samsung, not surprisingly, sees things differently and suggested $53 million would be a much fairer award.
Customers chose Samsung phones for greater battery life, larger screens, lower prices and the Android operating system, argued Bill Price, a lawyer with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, representing Samsung.
"You will see no evidence that people who chose Samsung and Android and all of its unique features would have chosen Apple if Samsung phones lacked the three patented features," he said.
Each side has eight hours to make its case to the jury. The damages hearing is expected to run into next week.
The case is 11-01846, Apple vs. Samsung Electronics, at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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