World Bulletin / News Desk
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd told jurors that its products are not copycats of Apple Inc's iPhonebut rather an example of legitimate American-style competition from the South Korean company.
Lawyers for both tech giants faced off on Tuesday for opening statements in the highly anticipated U.S. patent trial, where Apple has accused Samsung of stealing iPhone features like scrolling and multi-touch.
The stakes are high: Apple is being tested on its worldwide patent strategy against Google's Android operating system, while Samsung faces the threat of sales bans on its Galaxy line of phones and tablets.
Apple attorney Harold McElhinny said Samsung's own internal product analyses show it deliberately chose to rip off the iPhone, but Samsung lawyer Charles Verhoeven said all companies produce such documents.
"It's called competition," Verhoeven said. "That's what we do in America."
The world's largest consumer electronics corporations have been waging legal war around the world, accusing each other of patent violations as they vie for supremacy in a fast-growing market for mobile devices. They sell over half of the world's smartphones.
The legal fight began last year when Apple sued Samsung in a San Jose, California, federal court, accusing the South Korean company of slavishly copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung countersued.
The federal courtroom in San Jose, California was jammed on Tuesday with lawyers and reporters, with more spilling into an overflow room next door equipped with a video feed. Both companies relied on slides featuring various phone models, internal emails and news reports to make their points.
Apple attorney Harold McElhinny showed slides that featured old Samsung phones from 2006 and compared it to the Korean company's newer smartphones from 2010.
The key question, McElhinny said, would be how Samsung moved from the old phones to "these phones." And even though Apple is a successful company, he said, it must defend its rights when someone steals their property.
"Artists don't laugh that often when people steal their designs," McElhinny said.
Samsung has sold 22.7 million smartphones and tablets in the U.S., reaping $8.16 billion in revenue, he said. Apple is seeking damages of over $2.5 billion.
Samsung's Verhoeven countered that many iPhone features, like its popular minimalist design, had already been thought up by others before its release.
"Samsung is not some copyist, some Johnny-come-lately doing knockoffs," he told the jurors.
Verhoeven added: "There's a distinction between commercial success and inventing something."
McElhinny showed jurors an internal Samsung product analysis which said the iPhone's hardware was "easy to copy." Verhoeven said Samsung's analyses were what all companies do in the smartphone industry, including Apple.
Before opening statements began on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh dismissed one of the jurors, a woman who works as an insurance agent. The woman said her employer would not pay her salary during jury service.
The nine member jury is now made up of seven men and two women.
The South Korean company has also leveled claims against Apple on five of Samsung's own patents. Another Apple attorney, Bill Lee, said those only came up after Apple began demanding that Samsung stop copying Apple's products.
Verhoeven noted that Apple is one of Samsung's biggest customers for smartphone components.
"Samsung isn't in the habit of suing its business partners, even if it could," he said.
Overall, Apple's McElhinny said Apple has a unique vision that technology should be about much more than just functionality.
"The evidence will be that Apple has made that vision a reality," he said, "so much that it really is hard to remember what phones looked like before."
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, No. 11-1846.
The euro reached $1.1388 Wednesday, the highest level since a year earlier.
The IMF warned that "significant policy uncertainties imply larger-than-usual" risks to the US outlook on either side, since spending cuts could lower growth, while tax cuts could provide stimulus and expand the economy.
Now the VNO-NCW is calling for the Dutch parliament to reverse a 2015 decision to introduce a cap of 20 percent of annual pay on the bonuses which can be paid out to top managers in the banking industry.
The state-owned energy trading firm Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas said it signed the deal with the Texas company Cheniere Energy.
Adding to the upward pressure for oil is the crisis in the Middle East, where a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar has fuelled concerns of possible conflict.
Bourses in both Paris and Frankfurt dipped after a report from data monitoring company IHS Markit showed Eurozone private sector business activity slowed sharply in June while staying in expansion mode.
Analysts said that while the downturn in the headline readings was disappointing, the economy continued to put in a strong performance.
Crude prices stabilised after diving more than two percent on Tuesday on increasing fears of a global supply glut, as continued production in the US and elsewhere offsets an OPEC output cut deal.
Move estimated to save company $1B in investment costs
However, most other regional markets struggled after Monday's healthy gains, despite being given a positive lead from Wall Street where the Dow and S&P 500 closed at fresh record highs.
The purchase in one fell swoop gives Amazon, which until now has operated almost entirely on the internet, a big presence in the brick-and-mortar world on Main Street, with more than 450 stores in the US, Canada and Britain.
"The Bank of Russia Board of Directors decided to cut the key rate to 9.00 percent per annum," the bank said in a statement. The cut follows a half-point decrease in late April.