Apple v. Samsung Jury Questions Reveal Interest in Google Angle
The jury in the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) v. Samsung (SSNLF.PK) trial submitted several questions to the presiding judge on Wednesday that suggested that the members are looking closely what role Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) might have played in the two companies’ long-running patent disputes, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Among the five notes that the jury delivered to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh yesterday was a question about what former Apple CEO Steve Jobs said when the Cupertino-based company first decided to sue Samsung for patent infringement. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Judge Koh responded by telling the jurors that they can only consider evidence that was introduced during the trial.
Apple filed its first patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung in 2011 — the year after Jobs described Apple as being in a “Holy War” with Google in an internal company memo. Jobs noted that the company needed to “catch up to Android where we are behind (notifications, tethering, speech, …) and leapfrog them.” As noted by Bloomberg, Jobs also once threatened to wage “thermonuclear war” on Google for copying Apple’s software. The jury’s recent question appears to show that it is at least considering Samsung’s perspective on the lawsuit.
Samsung’s lawyers have characterized Apple’s patent-infringement lawsuit as an attack on the Android operating system. In this trial, Apple has accused Samsung of violating five of its software patents. All but one of the patents covers technologies that are found in Android. For this reason, Samsung believes that Apple’s lawsuit is just a proxy war on Google’s open source mobile operating system. Although Google is not named in this lawsuit, various Android executives have testified on Samsung’s behalf during the trial. As noted by Bloomberg, Apple also introduced evidence last week that Google is backing the Korea-based company’s legal defense in this trial.
Besides asking about Jobs’s comments about suing Samsung and Google, the jury also asked Judge Koh about any other evidence related to why Apple chose to sue over these particular five patents, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The patents cited by Apple in this trial included a universal search feature used by Siri, a “slide-to-unlock” feature, an “autocomplete” feature, a “quick links” data detection method, and a background synching technology. Last Friday, an appeals court ruling affirmed a claim construction on Apple’s “quick links” patent that appeared to reduce the size of Apple’s potential damages award, according to Florian Mueller at FOSSPatents. However, rather than restarting the current trial, Judge Koh instead gave both sides an extra hour to address the new information.
Apple is seeking approximately $2.2 billion in damages for Samsung’s infringement of five patents. However, an expert witness hired by Samsung testified that a reasonable damages award would be about $38.4 million, reports CNET. Samsung has also countersued Apple for $7 million in damages for allegedly infringing on two of its patents.
Regardless of the final outcome, the trial doesn’t appear to be negatively affecting Apple’s share price. On Wednesday, the iPhone maker reached a new one-year high of $599.43.
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