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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 07/30/2012

Apple v. Samsung: What to expect in federal court

Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S, left, and Apple's iPhone 4 are displayed at a mobile phone shop in Seoul. (Ahn Young-joon - AP)
Apple and Samsung on Monday take their patent battle to a federal jury trial in San Jose, in what is expected to be a weeks-long court fight that could ripple across the tech industry.

At issue are Apple’s claims that South Korea’s Samsung copied design elements of the iPhone and iPad. The tech companies — who produce the top two smartphones in the world — have taken their dispute to multiple courts including in Germany and the U.K.

All eyes will be on the trial in San Jose, where judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court of Northern California will spend much of Monday on jury selection. If there is time, the two sides will be able to present open arguments. The trial will resume on Tuesday and for the first two weeks, the trial will take place Monday, Tuesday and Friday. If the trial stretching into a third week, it will meet every day.

But observers say that Koh doesn’t want the case to stretch much longer. Here’s our profile of Koh from earlier in the month.

Legal experts say the companies will come prepared to fight. As demanded by Koh, Apple chief Tim Cook met last May with Samsung chief Choi Gee Sung to try to work out a settlement.

That didn’t work and the two sides appear ever more determined in their arguments.

Apple is demanding $2.5 billion in damages, which would be the biggest ever award for patent violations. But more damaging would be the prevention of Samsung’s smartphone and tablet sales, analysts say. Already, one version of the Galaxy Tab is barred from U.S. sales.

In trial briefs submitted last week, Apple’s lawyers Samsung intentionally tried to knock off its design for the iPhone and iPad. It said at one time, Samsung appeared to be on a path toward different device designs. But now, Samsung’s “mobile devices not only look like Apple’s iPhone and iPad, they use Apple’s patented software features to interact with the user.”

Samsung scoffs at Apple’s allegations, saying the Cupertino-based company has claimed rights to designs that are too broad and would make it too difficult for rivals to compete in the lucrative smartphone and tablet markets.

Samsung lawyers said it can prove its smartphone design plans predated Apple’s iPhone, which was launched in 2007.

“In this lawsuit, Apple seeks to stifle legitimate competition and limit consumer choice to maintain its historically exorbitant profits,” Samsung lawyers wrote in their trial brief also filed Wednesday.


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By  |  06:00 AM ET, 07/30/2012

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