Lawyers for Apple and Samsung have exchanged barbs as a major new patent trial opened, debating the role of a company not even part of the case – Google.
Apple’s legal team vowed to prove that Samsung flagrantly copied iPhone features and should pay more than $US2 billion ($A2.17 billion) in damages, as the two smartphone giants squared off anew in a California courtroom.
Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny opened his presentation with a video showing legendary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs introducing the first iPhone in 2007.
By putting computing power in smartphones powered by fun software and easy to use touch-screens, Apple transformed the market, sending Samsung onto its heels, according to McElhinny.
The lawyer told jurors in his opening statement that they would see internal Samsung documents and messages showing that the company felt it was suffering “a crisis of design” with the difference between its devices and the smartphone “a difference between Heaven and Earth”.
Apple said evidence will show that the South Korean electronics giant sold more than 37 million infringing smartphones and tablets in the United States.
California-based Apple would have demanded royalties of about $US40 per device to license the patented technology to Samsung, according to McElhinny.
The overall amount being sought by Apple in damages from Samsung will top $US2 billion, the lawyer explained.
“This case is not about Google,” McElhinny told jurors.
“It is Samsung, not Google, that choses to put these features into its phones.”
But Samsung’s lawyer told the jurors in the San Jose, California, court, that the case was indeed about Google, and Apple’s struggle against the maker of the Android operating system which is now winning in the global marketplace.
“It’s an attack on Android, that is what this case is,” lawyer John Quinn said.
“Apple is trying to limit consumer choice and gain an unfair advantage over Google’s Android.”
Quinn contended that four of the five patents at issue in the trial are not used in Apple mobile devices, but because of features built into Android software by Google engineers litigation was pursued.
He promised jurors that Google engineers would be called to testify to how they independently designed Android software and did not copy Apple.
The case concerns smartphone and tablet patents and is just the latest in a long-running feud between the two tech giants, who are battling for supremacy in a multibillion-dollar market.