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Apple v Samsung: Smartphone Makers In Court

Apple is due to open its case against Samsung by claiming its rival’s smartphones and tablets are illegal knock-offs of the iPhone and iPad.

Lawyers for both sides are expected to deliver their opening arguments in a federal courtroom in San Jose in California.

The witness lists of both sides feature plenty of experts, engineers and designers, but have few familiar names. Apple CEO Tim Cook, for example, is not scheduled to testify.

Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung last year alleging its products were illegal coopies of its own leading smartphone and computer tablet.

The California-based company is demanding $2.5bn (£1.6bn) in damages, an award that would dwarf the largest patent-related verdict to date.

South Korean company Samsung countered that Apple is the one doing the stealing and some of the technology at issue, such as the rounded rectangular design of smartphones and tablets, has been an industry standard for years.

A jury of seven men and three women has already been selected to hear the case, which is just the latest skirmish between the two companies over product designs.

A similar trial began last week, and the two companies have been fighting in courts in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Industrywide, some 50 lawsuits have been filed by several telecommunications companies jockeying for position in the burgeoning $219bn (£140bn) market for smartphones and computer tablets.

The San Jose trial judge, Lucy Koh, last month ordered Samsung to pull its Galaxy 10.1 computer tablet from the American market pending the outcome of the trial, although she barred Apple lawyers from telling the jurors about the ban.

“That’s a pretty strong statement from the judge and shows you what she thinks about some of Apple’s claims,” said Brian Love, a Santa Clara University law professor and patent expert.

Even though the case will be decided by 10 jurors, he pointed out that the judge has the authority to overrule their decision if she thinks they got it wrong.

“In some sense the big part of the case is not Apple’s demands for damages, but whether Samsung gets to sell its products,” said Mark A Lemley, a Stanford Law School professor.

He said a verdict in Apple’s favour could send a message to consumers that Android-based products such as Samsung’s are in legal jeopardy.

And a verdict in Samsung’s favour, especially if it succeeds in its demands that Apple pay its asking price for certain transmission technology it controls, could lead to higher-priced Apple products.

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