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Apple-Samsung trial opens; jury picked
In the understatement of the day, the judge noted that there had been "some coverage" of the case, and wanted to know who among the possible jurors had read or "heard anything" about the lawsuit.
Los Angeles Times
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A trial pitting Apple against Samsung kicked off Monday in federal court in San Jose, with the jury being selected.
Lawyers for both sides are expected to deliver their opening arguments Tuesday morning, followed by Apple calling its first witness.
Prospective jurors were grilled about whether they had friends who worked at Apple or other tech companies; the brand of their cellphones and tablets; and what books they had read concerning Apple and/or Samsung.
The selection process took place in U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh's courtroom on the fifth floor of the courthouse, with dozens of prospective jurors sitting in several rows of seats usually used by spectators. A smaller courtroom next door held about 70 reporters and members of the public.
Koh handled the initial questioning of prospective jurors. Several people said they were friends with Apple employees or had relatives who worked at the company. Each was asked the follow-up question by the judge: "I would instruct you to not have any contact with that person during this trial. Can you do that?" She clarified that "contact" included social media as well.
Koh also wanted to know if prospective jurors held Apple and/or Samsung stock or had other business interests with the companies. She also asked if people had read any books on Apple and/or Samsung — a handful of people said they had read Walter Isaacson's biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs — and wanted to know what cellphone and tablet brands people owned.
One person didn't own a cellphone. Many had LG phones, and many prospective jurors said they owned Apple and Samsung devices.
In the understatement of the day, Koh noted that there had been "some coverage" of the case, and wanted to know who among the possible jurors had read or "heard anything" about the lawsuit.
Earlier in the selection process, one prospective juror said: "I have a thousand reasons to favor Apple, but I would try to be fair." Later, another said, "We are an Apple kind of family." A third said, "Honestly, I'm biased."
The case is expected to last four weeks. Apple and Samsung have been lobbing patent-infringement claims against each other for months as the rivals compete in the fast-growing mobile-device industry. They are the world's two largest smartphone makers.
Apple has accused its rival of "slavishly" copying many aspects of the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant's mobile devices and is seeking $2.5 billion in damages for what it calls "irreparable harm" to its business. Apple has repeatedly said it is "no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad."
Samsung maintains that it did not steal ideas from Apple, and instead accuses that company of infringing its technology patents.
"Indeed Apple, which sold its first iPhone nearly 20 years after Samsung started developing mobile phone technology, could not have sold a single iPhone without the benefit of Samsung's patented technology," the company said in its own trial brief.
The South Korean company also says Apple has brought its case "to stifle legitimate competition and limit consumer choice to maintain its historically exorbitant profits."
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.