1By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO
SAN JOSE, Calif.—A federal court jury delivered a big win to Apple Inc.,
AAPL +0.09% finding that Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE -0.93% infringed
six of the Silicon Valley company's patents following a closely-watched
The nine-person jury found that several Samsung phones and tablets infringed
on Apple patents relating to touch-screen features, such as multi-touch
gestures and zooming. The jury also found Samsung devices infringed on Apple
design patents, such as the look of its iPhone icons.
The jury upheld the validity of all seven patents that Apple had presented
in the high-stakes case and found that Samsung willfully infringed five of
the seven patents.
The verdict, which includes patent claims by Samsung against Apple, was
still being read in court. The jury reached its verdict after about 22 hours
of deliberation spanning three days—a quick decision for such a complex
The verdict ends a nearly month-long trial that pitted two of the world's
largest and most recognizable companies—and their high-priced legal teams.
While the ruling won't affect any of the companies' latest products, it
could shape how smartphones and tablets are designed and the fortunes of
companies that make them.
During the trial, Apple and Samsung considered much of the evidence so
sensitive that their lawyers fought fiercely to exclude them from the case,
arguing they would divulge corporate secrets or weren't relevant.
The two women and seven men sorted through 28 different Samsung devices that
Apple alleges Samsung infringed as many as seven patents and two other
related claims, which cover innovations ranging range from the look of on-
screen icons to the detection of finger gestures on the touch-screen.
Samsung has countered by accusing the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch of
infringing as many as five patents, two of which are related to how the
iPhone and iPad send data.
Apple, which sued Samsung last year, is leaning heavily on the South Korean
technology firm's internal strategy documents to prove Samsung deliberately
copied the iPhone. "Samsung was the iPhone's biggest fan," said Harold
McElhinny, Apple's lead trial lawyer, during closing arguments on Tuesday. "
They tried to compete with it, and when they couldn't, they copied it."
The Cupertino, Calif., company has frequently referenced a 132-page internal
Samsung strategy document entitled "Relative Evaluation Report on S1,
iPhone," dated March 2, 2010. It contains grids comparing a range of
features of the iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S1 smartphone, and lists "
directions for improvement"—many of which entail mimicking a feature on the
iPhone. Another 2010 email cited by Apple lawyers contains notes from the
head of Samsung's mobile device division lamenting in a meeting how its
phones fell short of the iPhone, calling it "a difference between heaven and
Earth. It's a crisis of design."
Samsung lawyers argued that being inspired by one's competitors isn't
illegal. They cite an email from Jan. 24, 2011, sent by Apple senior vice
president Eddy Cue to Chief Executive Tim Cook and other executives
expressing praise for a 7-inch Samsung tablet, a smaller size than the iPad.
The email, providing a rare glimpse of opinion inside Apple's highest ranks
, lent credence to earlier reports that the company will soon introduce a
product in a class of devices it has previously dismissed.
But Samsung's case hung on the belief that Apple's design ideas weren't
original. Devices introduced as evidence took the jury on a trip back in
The fate of Apple and Samsung's patent trial is in the hands of a jury. The
nine members must decide whether 28 Samsung phones and tablets, and five
Apple devices, infringe multiple patents. Explore which patents are in
There is the DiamondTouch, a computerized table with a touch-screen dating
to about 2005. Samsung argues the little-noticed product and applications
running on it beat Apple to the market with "pinch-to-zoom" and "bounce-back
" functions and makes two key patents invalid.
Samsung urged the jury to consider the "Fidler Tablet," a device for reading
e-newspapers conceived around 1994. Roger Fidler testified via video during
the trial about the device, which has rounded corners like the iPad, and
was never sold. Samsung contends the device was similar enough to Apple's to
throw out one of the design patents in the case.
Another important document: a sketch of a Samsung tablet that appeared in an
email dated Jan 6, 2010, three weeks before the first iPad was announced.
Samsung argues the black-and-white mock-up—embedded in an email to a senior
Samsung industrial designer, Jin Soo Kim—proves it conceived of its Galaxy
tablet design before the iPad was unveiled. Mr. Kim and another Samsung
designer testified that they didn't copy Apple's products.
The iPhone That Could Have Been
Lawyers following the case say that Apple has to do more than show Samsung
wanted to make its products more like the iPhone.
"The real question is whether Samsung's designs are close enough to Apple's
to be infringing," said Jorge Contreras, an associate professor at American
University Washington College of Law.
For determining whether the devices infringe Apple's design patents or
dilute its trade dress—the overall appearance of the device—a key issue is
whether consumers could confuse Samsung and Apple products. To prove they
could, Apple introduced a report from Best Buy Co. BBY -3.89% that mentions
people returning Samsung's Galaxy Tab because they had been looking for an
Judge Koh earlier issued an injunction against one of the disputed products,
the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, on the grounds that Apple had a strong case.
Jurors, who had access to devices during deliberations, were expected to
study them feature by feature, judging whether their thickness, rounded
edges, fronts, backs and icons are "substantially the same" as those cited
in Apple design patents. They must come to a unanimous decision to find any
device infringes a patent.
In his final remarks Tuesday, Charles Verhoeven, a Samsung lawyer who works
for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, showed close up drawings of the
iPhone's bezel—the casing that runs around the rim of the phone—from a
related patent, and the Galaxy S 4G's bezel. He noted that the iPhone's
casing was a uniform thickness and the Galaxy's wasn't. "It is a completely
different design style," he said.