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Judge to apply 'Cheech & Chong test' in Apple-Samsung case

ITC judge presiding over patent-infringement case refers to comedy duo's routine about dog feces, saying: "Does it look like it, feel like it, smell like it?"

The U.S. trade judge presiding over the Apple-Samsung patent-infringement lawsuit plans to consult the legal genius of Cheech and Chong to help him determine whether Samsung copied the iPhone's design.

During the opening of the trial today, U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender said he would apply the "Cheech & Chong test" to the case, referring to the comedy duo's routine about dog feces, according to a Bloomberg account. "Does it look like it, feel like it, smell like it?" he said.

Apple contends that Samsung copied the iPhone when it designed the Galaxy Tab tablet and phones. Apple is asking the ITC, which has the power to block imports found to infringe on U.S. patents, for an order keeping the products from being imported into the U.S.

"Not content to copy the overall design and interface, Samsung has copied the smallest detail of the iPhone," Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny said during opening arguments. "Samsung copied our original and iconic design."

Samsung, which as responded with a countersuit against Apple, said it arrived at the design after spending more than $3.5 billion on research.

"Samsung has been in this industry, building and innovating to the point where Apple could enter the market," Samsung lawyer Charles Verhoeven said in his opening statement. "We are anything but an also-ran trying to copy Apple's technology."

Apple and Samsung have been waging their bitter patent dispute across the world. Both sides argue that the other violates patents they hold related to mobile software and hardware, and are looking to have their counterpart's products banned from sale. So far, however, neither side has been able to gain the upper hand.

A court-ordered meeting between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung in San Francisco earlier this month apparently failed to make progress in resolving the two companies' dispute. The two companies essentially own the entire mobile phone market, with Apple recording 73 percent of all operating profits to Samsung's 26 percent, according to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu.