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Apple versus Samsung jury instructions clarify trial rules

updated 01:20 am EDT, Wed August 1, 2012

Jury's role in Samsung and Apple complaints detailed

Nine jurors remain in the Apple versus Samsung court case currently being heard in a San Francisco courtroom -- many were removed from the pool before the case even started. The nine jurors left were selected on the basis of having not formed any opinions on the case based on media coverage or personal reading. Judge Lucy Koh briefed the jurors on the case and patent law before opening arguments began today, bringing them up to speed with where the case stands.

Koh began with a brief summary of how the case would be run, the rules of evidence, how the jurors should evaluate the worth and credibility of witnesses, the importance of note-taking, general jury conduct, and other items not unique to the Apple and Samsung battle. Specific to this case is an overview of the different kind of patents which the jurors may not have been familiar with. Judge Koh reviewed the difference between utility patents (protecting the way a device is used and works) and design patents (safeguarding the look and feel of a device).

In regards to the case itself, Judge Koh writes:

"Apple filed this lawsuit against Samsung, seeking money damages from Samsung for allegedly infringing the '381, '915, '163, D'889, D'087, D'677, and D'305 patents by making, importing, using, selling and/or offering for sale the tablet and smartphone products that Apple argues are covered by claim 19 of the '381 patent, claim 8 of the '915 patent, claim 50 of the '163 patent, and the D'889, D'087, D'677, and D'305 patents. Apple also argues that Samsung's Korean parent, Samsung Electronics Company, actively induced the U.S. Samsung entities, Samsung Electronics America Inc., and Samsung Telecommunications America LLC, to infringe. Apple contends that Samsung's infringement has been willful.

"Samsung denies that it has infringed the claims and patents and argues that, in addition, the claims are invalid. Invalidity is a defense to infringement.

"Samsung has also brought claims against Apple for patent infringement. Samsung seeks money damages from Apple for allegedly infringing the '941, '516, '711, '460, and '893 patents by making, importing, using, selling and/or offering for sale Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod products that Samsung argues are covered by claims 10 and 15 of the '941 patent, claims 15 and 16 of the '516 patent, claim 9 of the '711 patent, claim 1 of the '460 patent, and claim 10 of the '893 patent.

"Samsung also contends that Apple's infringement has been willful.

"Apple denies that it has infringed the claims asserted by Samsung and argues that the claims asserted by Samsung are invalid, and for the '516 and '941 patents, also unenforceable. Invalidity and unenforceability are defenses to infringement.

"For each party's patent infringement claims against the other, the first issue you will be asked to decide is whether the alleged infringer has infringed the claims of the patent holder's patents and whether those patents are valid. If you decide that any claim of either party's patents has been infringed and is not invalid, you will then need to decide any money damages to be awarded to the patent holder to compensate it for the infringement. You will also need to make a finding as to whether the infringement was willful. If you decide that any infringement was willful, that decision should not affect any damage award you give. I will take willfulness into account later," declared the Judge.

Koh continues with, "before you decide whether either party has infringed the other's patents, or whether those patents are invalid, you will need to understand the patent claims. As I mentioned, the patent claims for utility patents are numbered sentences at the end of the patent that describe the boundaries of the patent's protection. The patent claims for design patents are the drawings and descriptions of the drawings. It is my job as judge to explain to you the meaning of any language in the claims that needs interpretation.

"I have already determined the meaning of certain terms of the claims of some of the patents at issue. You will be asked to apply my definitions of these terms in this case. However, my interpretation of the language of the claims should not be taken as an indication that I have a view regarding issues such as infringement and invalidity. Those issues are yours to decide. I will provide you with more detailed instructions on the meaning of the claims before you retire to deliberate your verdict," Judge Koh wrote.

"Trade dress" patents are addressed as well. Judge Koh discusses the issue of design distinctiveness, and infringement versus dilution. She elaborates: "'Dilution' refers to reducing the capacity of a famous trade dress to identify and distinguish products or services. 'Infringement' refers to another company's use similar to the owner's trade dress that is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace. Rights in a trade dress are obtained only through commercial use of the trade dress."

The document provides an insight into the trial not normally seen in Silicon Valley patent lawsuits. Judge Koh has already informed the participants that very little would be sealed, as evidenced by the large number of design prototypes and drawings seen recently that normally are never revealed outside the walls of Samsung or Apple corporate headquarters.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    The nine jurors left were selected on the basis of having not formed any opinions on the case based on media coverage or personal reading.

    So this case will be decided by jurors tending to have these characteristics.


  2. So technologically illiterate, they've not been following this story despite its local importance.

  3. So disinclined to have an opinion, they'll go with whatever the judge seems to be hinting.

    That's not a good sign we'll be happy with the outcome of this trial.

    We really do need patent reform or most of the money and energy that ought to be going into creating useful new products. will go into legal disputes like this one.

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