Jurors today in the Apple vs. Samsung case sat through an 18-minute video explaining patent law before hearing Apple's hour-and-a-half-long opening statement.
During that opening statement, Apple's lead lawyer Harold McElhinny was permitted by California Judge Lucy Koh to make several references to the company's popular late CEO, despite Samsung's efforts to have these references banned.
McElhinny noted that upon the iPhone's introduction several years ago, Steve Jobs warned future competitors of the 200 phone-related patents the company secured.
He also described an exhibit of Steve Jobs' inventions, including the iPhone, that could at one time be found outside the U.S Patent Office building itself.
Who doesn't have an Apple or Samsung product?
Judge Koh and lawyers on both sides faced a different sort of trial yesterday as they narrowed down a pool of 74 prospective jurors to just 10 individuals.
Discovering who among the prospectives didn't harbor some kind of bias for one company or the other proved a mighty task, considering the ubiquity of both Apple's and Samsung's products.
And given the Northern California trial's proximity to the tech mecca of Silicon Valley, it seemed inevitable that some workplace conflicts of interest would arise.
Sure enough, employees from Apple and Google were discovered among the prospective jurors and eventually dismissed, although Apple lawyers reportedly had to work extra hard to get the Google worker sent home.
Several more jurors had read Walter Isaacson's highly publicized biography of Steve Jobs, though one man claimed that the book didn't change any opinions he already had about Apple.
Judge Koh even interrogated the prospectives on their smartphone, tablet and web usage, discovering that several didn't have cell phones at all, and that Google is used almost universally (although one jury member claimed, "I Yahoo a lot").
The trial kicked off today
With seven men and three women with no perceived biases agreed upon by both sides and Judge Koh, the trial finally kicked into motion today (though not before one juror was dismissed after discovering her employer would not be compensating her for her time spent at trial).
Samsung started the day out right by once again unsuccessfully petitioning Judge Koh to allow them to expand their exhibitions, which Koh has stringently limited to 125 for each side.
One Samsung lawyer even "begged."
Apple's lawyers began the trial with their opening statements, during which the references to Jobs were inserted parsimoniously between Apple history lessons and statements such as "As we all know, it's easier to copy than to innovate."
McElhinny predicted that Samsung will attempt to convince jurors that Apple holds patents for design elements that are necessary for a device to function, and thus Samsung shouldn't be punished for copying these elements.
The court took a break before hearing Samsung's opening statements.
Apple is seeking $2.52 billion in this potentially landmark patent case, although it's still just one in an endless sea of such disputes.
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