Jurors were set to begin their second day of deliberations Thursday in a multibillion dollar patent infringement case pitting Apple against Samsung over the design of iPhones and iPads.
After a three-week federal trial in San Jose, a jury of seven men and two women picked from a pool of Silicon Valley residents will try to decide if Samsung Electronics Co. ripped off Apple Inc. designs or whether Apple wronged Samsung.
With so much money and market clout at stake, few experts were expecting a quick verdict. A decision likely won’t come anytime soon, according to jury experts, attorneys and courtroom observers.
“This case has huge implications,” said University of Notre Dame Law Professor Mark P. McKenna. “It could result in injunctions against both companies” involving the sales of products.
It took the judge more than two hours to read the 109 pages of instructions to the jury. As a verdict is reached, jurors must fill out a 20-page form that includes dozens of check-off boxes.
“The verdict form is crazy,” said Karen Lisko, who runs a jury consulting company that specializes in patent trials. “It’s incredibly complicated.”
Jurors have several different smartphones and computer tablets in the jury room to help them determine which device is alleged to have violated what patent.
Apple argues that Samsung should pay the Cupertino-based company $2.5 billion for ripping off its iPhone and iPad technology when it marketed competing devices.
Attorneys for Samsung asked the jury to award it $399 million after claiming Apple used Samsung technology without proper compensation.
Lisko said it could take the jury an entire day just to devise a routine and system to sift through the facts and began actual deliberations.
“The first day is usually very messy,” she said.
It took jurors more than a week to reach a verdict in another major patent case, Google v. Oracle. That San Francisco panel decided in May that Google did infringe Oracle’s patents related to the Java computer language, but the panel awarded no damages after it couldn’t come to a unanimous agreement on several other points.
The case went to the jury after last-minute talks between chief executives failed to resolve the dispute.
The jurors must answer more than 600 questions simply to get to the end of their verdict form.
Apple alleges infringement of seven of its patents and seeks $2.5 billion to $2.75 billion in damages. The world’s most valuable company also seeks to make permanent a preliminary ban it won on U.S. sales of a Samsung tablet computer, and extend the ban to Samsung smartphones.
Samsung claims infringement of five of its patents and seeks as much as $421.8 million in royalties.
A lawyer for Apple, Harold McElhinny, said Samsung was so desperate to catch up with Apple’s smartphones and tablets in February 2010 that the South Korean company began “three intense months of copying” the iPhone maker.
He told jurors documents prove better than witness testimony how Samsung went about changing its mobile devices to mimic Apple’s “revolutionary” designs.
McElhinny said internal e-mail at Samsung revealed that the company was experiencing a “crisis of design” due to competition from the iPhone even as another e-mail sent just two weeks later showed Samsung was facing pressure from Google Inc. to make its devices look less like Apple’s.
“Samsung realized how far it was falling behind the iPhone,” McElhinny said. “In those critical three months Samsung was able to copy and incorporate” Apple’s four years of research and development “without taking any of the risk,” he said.
Samsung’s lawyer, Charles Verhoeven, framed the jury’s decision as one that could shape the future of the technology industry. If the jury rules in Apple’s favor, he said, big conglomerates with large patent portfolios would stifle innovation by blocking out competitors.
“It’s a very important decision you have to make,” he said. The decision “could change the way competition works in this country,” he said. “Rather than compete in the marketplace, Apple is seeking to gain an edge in the courtroom. It’s seeking to block its biggest and most serious competitor from even attending the game.”
Rather than copy the iPhone’s rectangular shape and rounded corners, Samsung seized on technological advances to design its devices with full glass screens for the best view of e-mail, an Internet browser and video, he said.
Verhoeven said Apple’s damages claim is unfounded.
“There was no confusion, deception, consumer harm,” he said. “Apple is here asking for what it’s not entitled to.”
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
(The AP and Bloomberg contributed to this report.)