California, Federal Judges, Intellectual Property, Jury Duty, Patents, Technology, Trials

It’s the Final Countdown in Apple v. Samsung

Well, it’s that time. Cue the Gladiator theme. Testimony in Apple v. Samsung is over, and closing statements are tomorrow. Any and all attempts at settlement have failed epically. Assuming I can get a seat, I’ll be down in San Jose watching and tweeeting the proceedings tomorrow. First, let’s take a look at some predictive analysis of how the world could change depending on who wins the jury’s favor.

It’s still anyone’s ball game, so journo-pundits, unleash the hyperbole and high-minded rhetoric!

The New York Times has a pretty good, cinematic setup. Paging the ghost of Sidney Lumet:

This week, nine jurors are expected to hunker down in a federal courthouse here to decide a case that could change how the world’s smartphones and tablet computers look and work.

The Mercury News is a bit less high-fallutin’ and more Brian Wilson. The paper gives more detail about the gravity — and Heart of Darkness-level density — of the material the jury will have to wade through.

When they begin deliberating the fate of the smartphone and tablet war between the two rivals later this week, the jury will simply have to decide whether Apple or Samsung should be branded the villain. And the nine-member jury’s verdict, which some observers say may favor Apple, could carry a multibillion-dollar penalty and send shock waves through the raging smartphone and tablet market.

Apple and Samsung finished up their cases last week, and are set to present closing arguments to the jury on Tuesday. The jury must then sort through one of the most difficult types of cases in the federal court system, addressing an extensive muddle of patent, antitrust and “trade dress” legal claims raised by both companies.

For Apple, the trial has been a chance to accuse Samsung of “ripping off” the designs of the popular iPhone and iPad, as one Apple executive put it to the jury. From the array of colorful icons on Apple products to the simple, rounded corners on an iPhone, Apple has depicted Samsung as a pirate in the way it replicated the technology, particularly Samsung’s line of Galaxy products that has put a considerable dent in Apple’s market share.

Today, the world learned that Apple is the most valuable company in U.S. history. It goes without saying that a king doesn’t want some uppity noble getting too close to his castle.

As the Times explains, if Apple wins, the consequences will be fairly obvious: competitors had better steer clear of the “Apple look,” whatever that means.

If Samsung wins, the result could be something like the end of The Grey, with Apple playing Liam Neeson. The wolves could be every other tech company on the planet… or something:

[I]f the jury finds in favor of Samsung, its decision could have the opposite effect, creating a consensus around Apple-like designs for years to come. “Expect to see an awful lot of Apple knockoffs without fear of retribution,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner, the technology research firm.

Honestly, no one comes out of this looking very good. Apple is the playground bully, Samsung is a pirate ship, John Quinn was reduced to begging in court, and Bill Lee might be on crack. Despite all that, according to odd scattered reports from court this afternoon, there is a calmness — even chumminess — among opposing lawyers in court right now.

The attorneys must realize there’s no going back now… Gladiators, I salute you.

Apple v. Samsung jury given choice between hero and villain [Mercury News]
In Apple’s Patent Case, Tech Shifts May Follow [New York Times]

Earlier: Benchslap of the Day: Are You On Crack?
Apple Rests Its Case, Samsung Claims Small Victory, and Judge Koh Continues Awesomely Busting Heads
What’s Really at Stake In Apple v. Samsung
Above the Law Goes to Trial — Dispatch from Apple v. Samsung
The Apple v. Samsung Trial Continues, And John Quinn Keeps Taking Shots
John Quinn Defends His Personal Honor As Apple v. Samsung Trial Gets Crazier

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