Samsung attorney: 'Apple doesn't own beautiful and sexy'
An attorney for the Korean electronics giant says during closing arguments in a damages retrial that Apple's patents are "very narrow."
Shara TibkenFormer managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Samsung on Tuesday argued that Apple deserves a low amount of additional damages for patent infringement because Apple's patents are "very narrow" and people buy Samsung's devices for their differences from the iPhone.
Samsung attorney Bill Price said Apple has tried to show its patents cover all aspects of design and ease of use, preventing companies from making "attractive" devices that are easy to use. However, the patents are limited, he argued, which is why Samsung should only pay Apple $52 million for patent infringement, not the $380 million Apple has requested.
"Apple has tried to mischaracterize these patents so they are the iPhone," Price said during closing arguments in a court here. But "these patents are very narrow...Apple doesn't own beautiful and sexy."
He added that while Samsung knew it needed to alter its devices to compete with the iPhone, Apple has done the same thing with new devices like the iPad Mini.
"There's nothing wrong with looking at your competitors and changing what you do because of it," Price said.
A jury last year determined Samsung had infringed on five patents related to the iPhone's design and functionality. A judge earlier this year vacated about $450 million of the original award and ordered a new jury to convene to recalculate the damages for patent infringement. Samsung is still on the hook for about $600 million, but Apple is asking for $380 million more. Samsung believes it only owes Apple $52 million.
Samsung sold 10.7 million infringing devices, generating $3.5 billion in revenue.
Price and Lee made the comments during a retrial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. A new jury of eight people -- six women and two men -- has been assembled to determine the new damages total for Samsung's patent infringement.
The retrial kicked off last Tuesday with jury selection, followed by opening arguments Wednesday. Witnesses who took the stand included Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing, and several expert witnesses who calculated the total damages owed.
For most, the damages retrial was a case of "Groundhog Day." No new revelations emerged during the testimony, and most witnesses also took the stand during the last trial more than a year ago. Apple's witnesses argued Samsung's copycat devices hurt the company, while Samsung argued that people seek out its devices more for their differences than similarities to Apple gadgets.
Not at issue in this case is whether Samsung infringed Apple's patents. The judge instructed the jury that a previous jury already decided Samsung infringed, and that they shouldn't revisit that issue. The sole consideration in the retrial is money -- just how much Samsung owes Apple for infringing its patents.
Samsung products involved in rethink of damages (pictures)
Judge Lucy Koh allowed each side eight hours of testimony over the four-day trial. Samsung rested its case Monday with two minutes left. Apple had 16 minutes left. Samsung made its closing arguments later Tuesday. Both sides were allotted 90 minutes for closing. The case was handed over to the jury at about 12:15 p.m. PT.
The two companies spent their final hours and minutes Monday grilling expert witnesses on how much money Samsung owes Apple for patent infringement. A big part of the discrepancy between what Apple wants and what Samsung thinks it should pay comes from differing views on how much Apple lost in profits and how much it should be due for royalties. The two sides also disagree on how much money Samsung made from its copycat products.
Apple arrived at the $380 million amount based on lost profits of about $114 million, Samsung's profits of about $231 million, and reasonable royalties of approximately $35 million. Apple estimates it would have sold 360,000 devices if Samsung hadn't released infringing rivals.
Samsung, meanwhile, said Apple shouldn't receive any money for lost profits, $52.7 million for Samsung's profits, and royalties of only $28,452 because the patents have limitations.
Apple originally filed suit against Samsung in April 2011, accusing the Korean company of copying the look and feel of its products. Samsung countersued two months later over patent infringement and said it was at work on touch-screen phones with giant rectangular screens and rounded corners well before Apple showed up. The initial trial, which stretched more than three weeks in August 2012, wrapped both of those cases in one, somehow squeezing together the patent infringement issues, alongside antitrust claims, and even trade dress issues.
In August of last year, a nine-person jury sided with Apple on a majority of its patent infringement claims against Samsung. At that time, the jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, much less than the $2.75 billion sought by the Cupertino, Calif., electronics giant. Samsung, which asked for $421 million in its countersuit, didn't get anything.
The products in question include the Galaxy Prevail, Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Galaxy SII AT&T, Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Exhibit 4G, Galaxy Tab, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, and Transform. The Prevail in particular racked up $57.9 million of the damages tally, which Koh said was a failure on the jury's part, since the device was found to infringe only on utility patents, and not on design patents.
"At the end of the day, there's a cumulative effect of doing all of this that's incredibly damaging [to Apple]," Schiller said Friday.
Lee on Tuesday pointed out to the jury that Apple brought top executives to talk about the creation of the iPhone and the importance to the company. Samsung, however, didn't put any of its top Korean executives on the stand, he said.
Price said that Samsung didn't need to bring engineers to talk about the patents' limitations because Apple's own experts did so.
"Apple doesn't own every method of scrolling and pinching to zoom," Price said. "Their expert told you that. We didn't need to bring a witness because their expert told you that."