Apple-Samsung trial: The end is nigh

The case between the two technology giants nears its potentially multi-billion dollar end as both sides run down the clock.

Vicki Behringer

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With both sides now out of time, the end to the trial between two of the biggest companies in tech draws ever nearer to a close.

Apple and Samsung today both ran through the last few hours -- or in Samsung's case, just minutes -- of their allotted 25 hours for rebuttals and clarifications.

Still ahead are closing arguments in which the two companies get their last chance to convince a jury of nine that the other company is infringing on its technology. A decision in either direction could result in millions -- even billions -- of dollars in damages, as well as potential sales bans on infringing products.

In Apple's case, the company wants $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung for allegedly copying the look and feel of the iPhone and the iPad, as well as infringing on its software features and potentially confusing customers. Samsung wants around $519 million from Apple for infringements to five of its patents on Apple's portable devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Apple was largely in control of the final day of evidence, and managed to run through 11 of its own witnesses (including video depositions) to rebut the arguments made by Samsung during its half of the trial. Samsung, meanwhile, brought back a trio of its own witnesses.

At times, the pace was so fast that witnesses were sworn in and even began testimony before the last witness had made it through the wooden gates leading onto the court floor.

Where Apple spent considerable time during its offensive focusing on design, today its team largely focused on discrediting Samsung's wireless patents. That included bringing out an economics professor and former antitrust expert with the U.S. Department of Justice to make the case that Samsung was monopolizing its technology with the two patents.

Samsung was in no position to fight back. It began the day with just 46 minutes to use compared to Apple's nearly four hours. Yesterday U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh told Samsung it couldn't get any extensions, since it had made a "strategic decision" to burn up its time cross-examining Apple's witnesses.

Complete coverage: Apple vs. Samsung, a battle over billions

Despite the rapid pace, the general mood of the court contained less of the general animosity and tension of the past three weeks. There was frequently laughter, as sides rushed through testimony.

"We crossed the finish line," Samsung attorney Kevin Johnson said with some happy exhaustion as the company finished with its last witness.

Standing in the way of next week's closing arguments are some 100 pages of jury instructions, which both sides have yet to agree on. Earlier in the day, judge Koh noted that there were still 70 disputed points in the document, which she estimated will take her an hour and a half to read.

There's still a remote possibility that the two companies will settle. This week, Koh told both companies that their CEOs needed to meet one more time by phone to talk it out, warning that there would be "risks for both sides."

"I am pathologically optimistic that this is going to settle," she said.

 

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