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Apple, Samsung portray different visions of the future given jury's decision

After a month of presenting the jury with their respective cases, attorneys for Apple and Samsung spent their final allotted minutes in closing arguments this week, each warning that jury's decision will have far reaching consequences on the future of the American tech industry.

While one of the most closely watched patent infringement cases, the U.S. Federal District Court case between Apple and Samsung has only resulted in a slow trickle of new revelations over the past several weeks, largely dealing with detailed aspects of the wording and legal meaning of terminology related to patents and trade dress.

Additionally, for every internal document and expert witness Apple presented to bolster its case that Samsung intentionally copied its designs and concepts, Samsung presented its own witnesses and cross examinations that called into question whether its copying was even a bad thing, or whether Apple's patents were even valid and enforceable.

The weeks-long trial finally wrapped up on Tuesday, and only after Judge Lucy Koh read aloud scores of pages of detailed jury instructions for over one and a half hours, with few breaks. The instructions detailed what the jury could and couldn't not consider as evidence in making their complex series of decisions about who infringed what, and what damages should be awarded.

Apple focuses on the chronology of historical documents

Faced with trying to make its series of expert witnesses and documents memorable, clear and understandable to the jury, Apple's attorney Harold McElhinny began his closing arguments saying "this is my opportunity to remind you of all the evidence you've heard, and put it into context."

As the first of three "big points," McElhinny stated that "documents are the most valuable key in the truth-finding function," adding that "historical documents are almost always where the truth lies," as opposed to the recollections of witnesses.

McElhinny then stressed the chronology of documented events, painting a clear picture for the jury that began in 2003 when Steve Jobs started the iPhone development project. He referenced the testimony of Apple's industrial designer Chris Stringer and iOS head Scott Forstall in designing various prototypes at Apple, and the "enormous risks" marketing head Phil Schiller said Apple took to launch the iPhone within the entrenched market for cell phones.

McElhinny then contrasted Samsung's own phone efforts from 2004 through 2010. Midway through this period, he noted, Jobs "shocked the phone world" with the iPhone, which was immediately regarded by many prominent sources as the "invention of the year" in 2007.

Then, in September of 2007, Samsung's System LSI subsidiary (which builds chips, and is distinct and removed from the company's phone development operations) began an historically documented "iPhone effect analysis," describing the iPhone as having both an easy and intuitive user interface and a "beautiful design."

McElhinny noted that the System LSI group had access to Apple's confidential semiconductor orders, but wasn't in charge of designing or building Samsung's phones (a separate group that was not supposed to have access to Apple's confidential chip business with System LSI), raising the question of why System LSI was interested in the iPhone's "beautiful design," and why it was creating competitive analysis documents that detailed the new phone's reception as "revolutionary" by critics, detailed end users' "expressions of love and awe" for the "sexy" device, and observed how the "hardware portion" would offer "easy imitation."

The historical observations written into the System LSI document, McElhinny said, describe "features Samsung will [now] tell you are obvious and not novel." Additionally, back in 2007 the System LSI document's depiction of iPhone features "never said it was dictated by function" as the company is now claiming, emphasizing Apple's argument that historical documents are more reliable that what Samsung is now arguing after the fact.

Apple's portrait of Samsung as a knockoff artist

Having established discrepancies between Samsung's internal historical documents and its current statements, McElhinny then described a post-iPhone history of Samsung's phone development.

McElhinny first stated that Samsung was "trying to compete fairly" against the iPhone from 2007 to 2010, depicting a variety of phones from that period which looked more like RIM's Blackberry and the Palm Treo.

Before iPhone

He then noted that this wasn't working for Samsung, noting another historical internal document from a 2010 high level meeting at the company, which described what Samsung called its "crisis of design," along with the realization that it had fallen so far behind that the difference between between it and Apple's iPhone was "heaven and earth."

Rather than describing an incremental increase in similarity between Samsung's products and Apple's iPhone, McElhinny outlined a brief, three month effort by Samsung to deliver "something like the iPhone," which is what mobile carriers were asking it to create.

Two weeks in to the effort, Google was documented to have "demanded Samsung to change the design of Galaxy S phones" because they were too similar to Apple's. But Samsung continued, McElhinny noted, tying in testimony from Samsung's own designer speaking of the hardship to work night and day to finish the Galaxy project as part of a "three month effort."

After iPhone

Source: Apple v. Samsung court documents

On page 2 of 4: Apple ties Samsung's turnaround to 3 months of intense copying