Maybe they should just change the name of Silicon Valley to Valley of the Lawsuits. Tech companies love to sue each other. Today, the media has been abuzz about the start of the long-awaited IP trial between Apple and Samsung. Apple has accused Samsung (and other companies in other cases) of ripping off its iPhone and iPad designs. Jury selection began this morning in San Jose, and opening statements are expected before the end of the day.
The New York Times does a good job of putting the whole thing into a broader perspective, especially for those of us who can’t help sometimes finding intellectual property disputes a little dull and/or befuddling (apologies to IP attorneys):
Patent trials are part bombast, part boredom. Lurid accusations of corporate skulduggery and deceit quickly give way to a mind-numbing slog through the technical details and vague language of patent claims.
A jury will be asked to sort through all that to settle a dispute between Apple and Samsung Electronics beginning Monday in a federal court in San Jose, Calif.
The jury trial is the latest phase in a global campaign of smartphone patent litigation that began more than two years ago. The legal clashes mainly pit Apple against rival smartphone makers whose handsets are powered by Google’s Android software, notably Samsung, HTC and Motorola Mobility, which Google bought last year. Dozens of lawsuits and countersuits have been filed in courtrooms around the world.
This particular series of lawsuits has been going on quite some time. In a British iteration, a judge forced Apple to publicly recant its accusation that Samsung was “slavishly copying” its mobile designs. The San Jose Business Journal reported that Samsung CEO Choi Gee Sung and Apple CEO Tim Cook were told in the spring to meet and work out their differences, although that attempt obviously failed. The paper also reports that 80 lawyers, often representing other companies, have “weighed in” on the case so far.
For a more in-depth overview of the specifics of the case, check out this Fox News article. For a summary of juror selection this morning, CNET has a colorful piece as well. We wrote about the case back in December, when Judge Lucy Koh made an embarrassing little redaction blunder.
As the trial moves along over the next month, we’ll continue to provide more coverage.