Monday, July 30, 2012, 04:28 pm PT (07:28 pm ET)
Jury selected for Apple and Samsung patent trialThe Apple v. Samsung trial has its jury after a day of whittling down the pool yielded ten jurors who will hear arguments and decide on what is being called one of the most important patent cases in recent U.S. history.
Potential jurors were bombarded with a variety of questions on Monday including queries into what devices they own and whether they work for a company associated with the trial, reports CNET. In the end seven men and three women were selected to hear the case.
Because the the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose is near Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, it was possible that prospective jurors would work for the company and two potentials were ultimately excused as one worked for Apple and the other for Google, which is based in Mountain View, Calif. While not specifically on trial, Google's Android operating system is associated with the case and employees of the internet search giant could be biased toward Samsung.
Presiding Judge Lucy Koh also presented her own questions, asking whether jurors knew any Apple or Samsung employees, read any books about the parties, owned stock in either company or had strong feelings about the case which has received fairly wide coverage in the mainstream media. CNET points out that Samsung attorney William Price stressed the last point and compared jury bias to watching a referee make a call against their favorite sports team.
"If it's against your team you say 'that's ridiculous: I saw it clearly, it was a charge!'" Williams said, alluding to a basketball foul. "Because you're already leaning one way, you see things differently."
Illustration of Samsung products before and after the introduction of Apple's iPhone.
Apple first filed suit against Samsung in April of 2011 for allegedly copying the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad which sparked a worldwide legal battle that now spans across courts in ten countries.
In the ensuing months an escalation of claims and counter-claims bloated the Apple v. Samsung case to unwieldy levels. Judge Koh ordered a culling of assertions and in May the claims stood at 16 patents, six trademarks, five "trade dress" claims, and an antitrust case, with 37 products accused of violations. A second winnowing phase occurred a week later and got the case down to a more manageable scope. Judge Koh refused to bring a bloated case to trial saying, "I think that's cruel and unusual punishment to a jury, so I'm not willing to do it. If you're going to trial in July, this is not going to be acceptable."
In an effort to bring some resolution to the dispute, the two companies' executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, participated in mediation talks before the California jury trial began but the meetings were ineffective.
The jury will hear opening remarks from both parties on Tuesday and Judge Koh estimates the evidence portion of the trial could conclude as soon as August 17 but believes an August 20 or 21 date is more likely. Following the presentation of witness testimony the jury will deliberate and render a verdict.
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