The jury will hear instructions to find a verdict for multiple counts of patent infringement claims in today’s court session of the Apple-Samsung trial. After terms are set, lawyers from each side will gather their final arguments and present them to the jury with the hope of resolving the first skirmish in a series of big legal battles between them.
Only this skirmish is more significant that most. It could end up inflicting very serious financial blows if either one receives a large reward figure or patent nullification. According to financial analysts who testified at the trial last week, a full finding against could cost Samsung upwards of $2.5B and Apple more than $500M. These figures are based on combinations of profit-loss estimates of products sold. The jury can consider and amend these figures as needed. The jury may, for example, choose to give Apple a reward based on the average high-end price point of iPhone applications, at $1.49 an app, as opposed to the median app price of $.99.
But that’s just one possibility. Apple could suffer blows to its lucrative and proprietary touch-screen and mobile technology that has helped push the company towards its current status as the most valuable company in the world.
Reports over the weekend also noted the possibility of the verdict causing an injunction blocking the sales of Apple and/or Samsung products.
The patents at issue involve touch-screen UI technologies, industrial design, and even a few marketing materials. The main infringement claim of Apple’s suit against Samsung contends Samsung stole “the look and feel” of its top products. Samsung’s countersuit accuses Apple of being the original copycat, taking designs of “prior art” technology from Samsung, HP, and others, and cynically co-opting them into Apple products as innovations.
The potential loss is causing everyone within court’s earshot to think through a mutual solution that could save face and money in the process. There is still small chance executives from both companies will get together at the last minute to strike a deal and avoid a potential cost-prohibitive decision. But legal experts noted the narrow timeline for the instructions and the coming closing arguments mean there’s almost no time to come up with a deal.
In the meantime, deliberations over proper jury questions continued up until this morning. Over the weekend, each side in the case proposed a varied set of questions jurors must answer to find a verdict. Questions include specific rulings to each gadget mentioned in the suit. (Read the rulings yourself in the attached file below.) But the burden of proof is quite high because only a unanimous verdict for each of the case resolutions will result in a reward. While lawyers are required to agree on a document by the start of today’s session, their latest drafts showed a wide margin of expectations between the two sides (see below). Apple’s version of the instructions ran nine pages long in their proposal while Samsung’s was nearly twice as long at seventeen.
We’ll see you in the liveblog of the trial.