The case is the second major patent battle between the two companies, after Samsung was ordered to pay about 900 million dollars in fines as a result of the first case.
Samsung is the world’s leading seller of smartphones, but the new case is regarded as a proxy battle between Apple and Google. It centres on five patents included in Samsung phones as a part of Google’s Android operating system, and the verdict, if it finds in favour of Apple, would cascade throughout a smartphone industry in which Android is the most popular operating system with more than 1 billion devices activated.
The alleged violations by Samsung include a so-called “tap from search” feature that allows a user to tap on a phone number found in a web search to call that number. Apple also claims Samsung copied its “slide to unlock feature.” Samsung is retaliating by accusing Apple of violating two of its patents for organizing photo albums and transmitting video over a wireless network.
The new spat covers more recent versions of Samsung smartphones and tablets than the previous trial, including the Galaxy S3, while Samsung charges encompass recent Apple models such as the iPhone 5.
Court-ordered mediation failed to result in a compromise, prompting analysts to predict that both companies are seeking a far-reaching judgement from Judge Lucy Koh that will settle the smartphone patent wars once and for all.
“Apple revolutionized the market in personal computing devices,” Apple attorneys wrote in court filings. “Samsung, in contrast, has systematically copied Apple’s innovative technology and products, features and designs, and has deluged markets with infringing devices.”
Samsung rejected the claim, asserting that it, too, was a mobile-phone innovator.
“Samsung has been a pioneer in the mobile device business sector since the inception of the mobile device industry,” Samsung attorneys wrote. “Apple has copied many of Samsung’s innovations in its Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad products.”
Apple claims that Samsung’s use of the patents caused it irreparable damage and is asking the judge to order Samsung to pay a fee of 40 dollars for every violating phone sold.
Because every smartphone relies on thousands of patents, experts believe it unlikely that Apple’s demand for heavy fines or a sales ban will be granted.
“When you have a case where a party comes in with a handful of patents and says, these are the really important ones, these are the patents that are worth several dollars apiece per phone — from a simple economic standpoint, that doesn’t make a lot of sense,” patent law professor Brian Love told The New York Times.
The California-based device maker did win an early victory in the case when the judge rejected a pre-trial motion by Samsung’s lawyers objecting to an explanatory video on patents to be shown to jurors.