San Jose, CA — A close look at the presentation of Apple’s closing statement in its trial against Samsung reveals the company has a strong and persuasive argument and may lead to a financial windfall.
The presentation, shown live during closing arguments by lead attorneys Harold McElhinny and Bill Lee, describes the main reasons why Apple was compelled to sue Samsung in the first place. While some observers believe this trial is only the opening salvo against a larger attempt to break the iPhone’s alleged main copycat, Google’s Android OS, the focus on hardware design in the slides show Samsung has an awful lot to fear. In particular, pictures of Samsung products pre- and post-iPhone announcement show a stark difference in industrial design. And features in Samsung products, from aluminum rounded corners to the size of the screen bezel, are uncomfortably similar to Apple products.
The closing arguments also focus on the first-screen UI of the competing gadget’s operating system and on icon design. One of the most compelling testimonies about the process of design was provided by Jinyeun Wang, a senior Samsung design executive. As the person in charge of building icons for its Galaxy line of phones, she revealed the grueling schedule of the icon-building process in order to show how much her team had worked on creating something innovative. But the images tell a different story. After the iPhone was announced, she said several colleagues of hers exchanged emails expressing admiration for Apple’s phone and sharing their anxiety about the quality of their phones when compared against it. Wang’s team went on a three-month race to catch up, a time Apple lawyers described as the period of “intense copying” of iPhone features.
The appearance of the Samsung phones that came about after this period, in both software and hardware, was remarkably similar to the iPhone. The icons shared similar-looking corners, a reflective surface, and nearly identical color patterns.
When the design was complete, the icons in the new Android-based phone looked as smooth and nice as those of Apple’s. But did they go too far in their admiration? Did they set out to copy the “look and feel” of the iPhone and were not merely inspired by it?
These are the type of questions the jury is currently debating. Wang certainly made a compelling argument that she and her team worked hard. And her and her colleague’s educational background and professional conduct are seemingly excellent. But the intense product cycle and other pressures of high-end electronics are bound to make people do things they would not usually do. The jury must decide on these type of questions and more.
The closing presentation in the slides below also describe “damage scenarios” jurors may consider when deciding on a final damage figure.
Jurors in the Apple-Samsung patent trial began deliberations a few hours ago. The deliberation process is closed to the public and the media. The final decision, which could come after a few days or even weeks, may affect the future of product innovation and manufacturing in the U.S. and also submit huge financial damages to one or both of the companies. As noted yesterday in our live blog, damages against Samsung may reach in the billions of dollars and an Apple loss in the adjoining countersuit could combine a $500M penalty on its own iPhone patents while possibly breaking some of Apple’s iPhone and iPad patents.