The final closing arguments in the patents battle in San Francisco between Apple and Samsung ended with Apple accusing Samsung copying the iPhone in mad three month dash in 2007 and of trying to distract from the argument by focusing on subtle differences.
Apple counsel Harold McElhinny pointed out that Steve Jobs effectively reinvented the mobile industry and alleged that Samsung, stymied by a faltering line-up of unattractive products, instigated a three-month dash to design the Galaxy S, copying the iPhone down to “the smallest detail.”
McElhinny pointed out that the real test was in the overall visual appearance and functionality of the different devices, not minor differences being used in Samsung’s defence.
"Witnesses can be mistaken. They can be mistaken in good faith. Exhibits that are created in a trial are always created with a purpose. They can confuse, and can mislead. Historical documents are almost always where the truth lies,” McElhinny said.
Throughout the closing arguments a number of device families were paraded, including a number of original pre-2008 Samsung models such as clamshell devices and candy bar phones, followed by the stylish Prada smartphone.
From following the exchanges, Samsung’s defence seemed to focus on factors like the different size of the bezel – a difference of tenths of a millimeter – on the Galaxy S 4G, for example and other differences in design, such as the lozenge-shaped speakers on the device.
So in essence Apple was accusing Samsung of broadly copying devices like the iPhone while Samsung was trying to point out that Apple can’t patent something like the rectangular shape of smartphone devices, for example.
Things then moved on to the iPad design patent and whether Samsung copied the design of that too and the arguments came down to whether the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 sported a glossy or matt surface on the back.
The real bone of contention between the two companies goes beyond the asthetics of the hardware to the actual functions and applications screen. This is really a battle between the iOS operating system and the Android operating system which Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously accused Google of ripping off the iPhone.
The Samsung Galaxy Fascinate was paraded and Samsung’s defence contended that the majority of icons on the smartphone were different to that of the iPhone, albeit admitting there were similarities between the clock and calculator icons.
Apple attorney Bill Lee told the jury that Samsung copied Apple’s products and made US$8bn in the process.
Samsung attorney Charles Verhoeven urged jurors to consider that a verdict in favor of Apple could stifle competition and reduce choices for consumers.
“Rather than competing in the marketplace, Apple is seeking a competitive edge in the courtroom,” Verhoeven said, adding that Apple thinks “it’s entitled to having a monopoly on a rounded rectangle with a large screen. It’s amazing really.”
At stake is a US$2bn claim by Apple for recompense – the next week or two should bring this drama to a blistering conclusion.