One of the biggest court battles in the technology world is wrapping up: Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) v. Samsung. The BFFs -- Best Frenemies Forever -- pulled out all the stops in an all-out legal war, with Samsung battling a device that it supplies many of the crucial ingredients to, while Apple did its best to lay out a narrative of blatant copying from its South Korean rival and supplier.
Both companies have rested their respective cases, made one final (and unsuccessful) attempt at a settlement resolution, and it will soon be up to the jury to decide. Make no mistake: This is a landmark case that could dramatically shape mobile competition going forward, with monumental implications for the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android army as one of its most successful champions is put to the test.
Here are the best, worst, and just plain hilarious highlights from Apple v. Samsung.
Apple and Samsung Gone Wild!
Through the process of discovery, both companies were privy to a slew of internal documents and data, including never-before-seen early Apple prototypes and sales figures, which bared all for the world to see. One early Samsung document that Apple presented acknowledged that going head-to-head with the iPhone was "inevitable" but, fortunately, its hardware was "easy to copy."
Apple is using four design patents in its case, covering the physical design of the iPhone, as well as user interface elements. Numerous Apple execs, designers, and employees frequently used the phrase "ripped off" throughout testimony, as if it was a preordained theme to hammer home the point.
Source: All Things D.
Samsung’s defense was that Apple’s patents are invalid, and that much of modern smartphone design is based upon the inevitable evolution of the devices, much like how all cars have steering wheels, and even that some of Apple’s designs were preceded by prior art. Samsung is also countersuing with some of its own patents, some of which are standards-essential.
Like bickering children
At one point, Samsung was desperate to use its F700 smartphone as evidence, which it claimed was in development prior to the original iPhone’s January 2007 introduction. The F700 was a bulky touchscreen phone with a slider QWERTY keyboard, which was announced February 2007.
Samsung F700 (left) vs. Apple iPhone (right). Source: The Verge.
Sammy also wanted to use internal Apple emails that discuss using designs based on Sony’s (NYSE: SNE ) designs, which Apple maintained was merely a "design exercise" and not an overall strategic decision. Apple then produced even earlier prototypes to back up this claim.
Judge Lucy Koh, who has been presiding over the case, would not allow these two pieces of evidence into the trial, simply because Samsung produced the evidence too late in the discovery process. (Apple also had some pieces of evidence denied for the same reason.) Koh nearly sanctioned Samsung lead attorney John Quinn for not letting it go.
Unhappy with this outcome, Samsung proactively emailed them to the broader media, including to well-known outlets like AllThingsD, hoping to sway the public. Samsung included a statement, "The excluded evidence would have established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design. Fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence."
Judge Koh inevitably found out, as is apt to happen when you disseminate things to the media, and was "livid," according to one reporter. Koh demanded, "I want Mr. Quinn's declaration as to what his role was. I want to know who authorized it."
Apple took the opportunity to request the case dismissed in its favor after the episode, which unsurprisingly proved unsuccessful.
Leaking from the top
Marketing head Phil Schiller and iOS chief Scott Forstall both took the stands, outlining the early processes that went into the iPhone’s development.
Schiller said early sales topped expectations, and that the iPad was a "big gamble" because Apple was trying to redefine the tablet category, which had been perceived to be dead after Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT ) unsuccessful attempts a decade prior. The iPad was "a risk to [Apple’s] image." Schiller also disclosed how much Apple spent on iPhone and iPad marketing, which he feels Samsung is piggybacking off with its copycat products.
|Product||FY 2008||FY 2009||FY 2010||FY 2011|
|iPhone||$97.5 million||$149.6 million||$173.3 million||$228.6 million|
|iPad||$149.5 million||$307.7 million|
Source: The Verge.
Forstall described how Steve Jobs had tasked him with putting together the iPhone team, complete with "difficult" constraints to enforce Apple’s characteristic secrecy. Forstall could tap anyone within the company, and there could be no outside candidates. He couldn’t even tell candidates what they would be working on until after they accepted, but they knew they’d be sacrificing nights and weekends for years. During Forstall’s testimony, an internal email from Apple Internet services exec Eddy Cue is presented, saying that Jobs was "very receptive" to a 7-inch tablet, further proof of an iPad Mini in the works.
Guilty as charged?
Apple then presented a massive 132-page internal Samsung document from 2010, stacking up Samsung’s Galaxy S1 to the iPhone, essentially saying Sammy’s device would be better if it were more like the iPhone. A wide range of features is covered, including apps, icons, interface elements, and more.
This page even specifically notes the "strong impression that iPhone’s icon concept was copied."
Pretty incriminating, if you ask me, but it’s up to the jury if this constitutes patent infringement.
But wait, there’s (much) more!
This is hardly a comprehensive overview, since this massive trial has plenty to dig into and I’m running up on my word limit. I’ll conclude with some snippets that were just plain hilarious.
On Apple potentially wanting to call 22 additional rebuttal witnesses
Judge Koh: "…unless you're smoking crack, you know these witnesses aren't going to be called!"
Apple attorney William Lee: "First, your honor, I'm not smoking crack. I can promise you that."
I’ve never called it that
A Samsung lawyer asks Schiller if he’s ever heard the iPhone home button referred to as the belly button, saying, "The kids refer to it as the bellybutton. It’s an innie."
Schiller said no.
Not a fan of The Boss?
A Bruce Springsteen song was playing to demonstrate a Samsung device playing music, with its attorney adding, "I apologize for the audio, your honor."
No one’s buying the Galaxy Nexus anyway
In response to the allegation that the Galaxy Nexus was designed solely to beat Apple and the iPhone, Quinn said sales of the Galaxy Nexus were "minuscule" and, therefore, is not a threat. It’s like saying, "No one buys it anyway, forget about it!"
Judge Koh had to read 84 separate instructions to the jury before closing arguments, spanning 109 pages. Koh wasn’t the only one struggling to stay awake as she herself read them: "I need everyone to stay conscious during the reading of the jury instructions, including myself. We’re going to periodically stand up, just to make sure we’re all alive."
Win or lose, the monetary result of this case won’t make or break Apple. With its successes over the past couple years, who can blame Samsung for being envious? This brand new premium report on Apple lays out everything there is to be envious about the iPhone maker. Sign up now and get free updates!