War of words between parties starts the trial in opening statements
Yesterday was the first day of the trial with opening statements from both sides. As expected, there were a lot of statements accusing the other side of stealing patents and using someone else design or invention. For the most part this is what was expected to be seen, so there was no surprise there. Samsung did lose one of their key items before the trial which took away some of their ammunition. That was the presentation they were going to make showing that Sony had designed a phone before Apple did. And that Sony design looks an awful lot like the iPhone which was eventually delivered to market.
The back and forth between the attorneys representing Apple and Samsung has begun. And it is going to continue throughout this case as there is much as stake. Apple has claimed Samsung copied their design for the iPhone and iPad. That is a serious charge. But, Samsung has come back and claimed that they did not copy the designs. But rather, it is competing with Apple in much the same way as Apple has done by copy the designs of others. An immediate example comes to mind of Apple copying from Xerox for their computers.
This kind of back and forth will continue. One interesting item which came out of the opening statements came from Samsung. In that, they made statements that Samsung supplies 26% of the parts for the iPhone adding “who’s the real innovator?” That adds to the mix and shows you just how complicated this whole trial is going to be for the jury. There is so much to consider that a decision could go either way. There is no sure thing on this trial.
There are some things about this trial which everyone should be concerned about. One of the items as part of the trial is the “slide to unlock” feature which so many of us have become accustom to using. And many of you are Android smart phone owners. It would seem that this is as much a part of a smart phone as the touch screen keyboards. Apple is claiming it is their intellectual property and Samsung cannot be using it. In reality, this feature is coming care of Google and Apple has chosen an easier target. This feature is something that all of us have come to expect to see on any smart phone we purchase.
The underlying problem with this kind of a case is our patent system. Let’s ignore the patent trolls who are out trying to make money, but instead those who are delivering products. If Apple wins in this case, they can restrict the use of things such as slide to unlock. They would force others to have to license the technology. The question needs to be asked is whether there comes a time when a patented item such as this becomes part of the industry and no longer part of a protected patent item. Many can argue what this has done to the smart phone industry and just how important it is.
Everyone has a stake in this case and if Apple comes out the winner, it may impact some features on future phones. No matter how this case comes out, we can hope that changes begin to happen in the US Patent System to benefit consumers.