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First day of Apple v. Samsung trial proves lively

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012
News Categories: Apple, iPad, iPhone

The opening statements and first testimony were given yesterday as the trial between Apple and Samsung kicked off in San Jose, CA. Reuters reports that Apple attorney Harold McElhinny gave the opening statement, focusing on the dramatic difference in design between Samsung’s pre-iPhone handsets and those that came after the iPhone’s launch. During the statement, McElhinny showed jurors an internal Samsung product analysis which said the iPhone’s hardware was “easy to copy”; another said the company was in a “crisis of design” due to Apple’s handset. “As we all know it is easier to copy than to innovate,” McElhinny told the court. “Apple had already taken the risks.”

The first expert witness called was longtime Apple designer Christopher Stringer, who helped design the iPhone and also shed light on Apple’s internal design process. Cnet recounts his testimony, during which he said that the process for any product begins with lots of sketching, before heading off to a CAD phase, and said his team’s role is to “imagine objects that don’t exist, and guide the process that brings them to life.” “We work together around a kitchen table,” Stringer said. “We have our lives all around the products. In some ways it feels like a small company.” Regarding the iPhone, Stinger was very direct in his criticism of Samsung’s devices. “We’ve been ripped off, it’s plain to see. It’s offensive,” he said. “It’s a huge leap of imagination to come up with something new, that’s something we did. By which you have to dismiss everything you know, forget everything you know, it can be difficult.”

Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller briefly took the stand towards the end of the day, and discussed influences on Apple’s products. “We don’t use any customer input in the new product process,” Schiller said. “We never go and ask the customer, ‘What feature do you want in the next product?’ It’s not the customer’s job to know. We accumulate that information ourselves.” Schiller is expected to testify again when proceedings resume on Friday, the New York Times reports.

The day ended with Judge Lucy H. Koh demanding to know who on Samsung’s legal team authorized the public release of evidence that she had ordered excluded from the case. The release of the evidence—which was related to a Sony-inspired, Apple-created iPhone design—was accompanied by a statement from Samsung, which has been reprinted by AllThingsD. “The Judge’s exclusion of evidence on independent creation meant that even though Apple was allowed to inaccurately argue to the jury that the F700 was an iPhone copy, Samsung was not allowed to tell the jury the full story and show the pre-iPhone design for that and other phones that were in development at Samsung in 2006, before the iPhone,” the statement reads. “The excluded evidence would have established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design. Fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence.”

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