SAN JOSE, Calif.--The first day of the patent infringement trial between Apple and Samsung wrapped up with a jury in hand.
After whittling down a pool of prospective jurors, the court now has its 10, which will hear testimony and decide the case.
On the way to that selection, potential jurors were asked myriad questions ranging from what gadgets they owned to whether they worked for either company. Such a question was an important one given where the trial is taking place. The U.S. District Court here in San Jose is just a few miles away from Apple's nearby Cupertino headquarters.
As it turned out, both a Google and Apple employee were in the pool of potential jurors, along with numerous former tech workers. Those two individuals did not make it into the final group, though a man who told the court that he had once been involved with a patent-related lawsuit made it on the final jury, which is made up of 7 men and 3 women.
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The outcome of the case is under close watch both by those in Silicon Valley and in the electronics industry as a whole. Apple's effort is focused on getting billions in damages from Samsung, as well as potentially keeping some of its most popular products off store shelves. That's despite the fact that Apple buys billions of dollars worth of components from Samsung, including memory and LCD panels, to make its iOS devices.
Samsung's argument centers on the idea that Apple's suit against it threatens to "stifle" innovation among other device-makers if it's successful. Samsung also plans to argue that the iPhone could have never come to be without some of its technology, and those from other companies.
The trial now moves on to opening statements from both companies, which last week filed pre-trial briefs making those aforementioned arguments. Those statements were originally set for today, but were pushed back until tomorrow due to the extensive jury questioning, as well as a dispute between Apple and Samsung about the inclusion of testimony from former Apple employee Shin Nishibori. That testimony dealt with the alleged beginnings of the iPhone's design from a Sony product, something Samsung says is critical to defending itself from Apple's claims that copied Samsung's designs.
Potential jurors were also grilled by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, were asked if they knew any employees at either company, if they had read any books about Apple or Samsung, whether they had Apple or Samsung stock, and if they had strong feelings about the case based on what they have already heard through the media. Samsung attorney William Price later stressed that last point, comparing any kind of potential bias to watching two sports players collide where there was a referee call involved.
"If it's against your team you say 'that's ridiculous: I saw it clearly, it was a charge!'" Williams told would-be jurors. "Because you're already leaning one way, you see things differently."
Koh, who is presiding over the case, said that the evidence portion is slated to wrap up as soon as August 17, but more likely the 20 or 21. After that, the jury begins its deliberation.