SAN JOSE – Samsung sketched the outlines of its countersuit case against Apple in opening statements here Tuesday. The Korean giant showed prior art on all the patents Apple claims it infringes and details of why it believes Apple infringes a handful of its patents.
The case puts in stark relief the differences between the two companies that have deep links in the smartphone market. Samsung is not only one of Apple’s fiercest competitors but one of its largest component suppliers.
“Samsung is an innovator and a competitor--it hasn’t done anything wrong,” said Charles Verhoeven, lead attorney for Samsung in the trial in San Jose’s U.S. District Court.
For example, Verhoeven showed the LG Prada phone and three Japan and Korean patents on handsets with an iPhone-like shape. He said they are prior art that invalidates Apple’s ‘087 design patent. In addition he noted differences between the details in the Apple patent and the Samsung handsets Apple claims infringe it.
“An ordinary observer can tell the difference. There is no infringement,” he said.
Verhoeven also showed multiple examples of prior art on three Apple utility patents it claims Samsung infringes. They included a video of Jefferson Han in a TED talk demonstrating a multi-touch display using zoom and scroll gestures that pre-dates an Apple patent on the gestures.
“For each of these three very simple utility patents, others did it before [Apple, and when that is the case], you don’t have an invention,” he said.
In contrast, he showed details of five Samsung patents he claimed Apple infringes. They include two US patents (7,447,516 and the ‘941 patent) that boost data rates and reduce dropped calls over 3G networks.
The patents became part of the ETSI 3G networking standard, implemented in baseband processors from Intel (formerly the Infineon wireless group) and used in iPhones and iPads, he said.
“This is much more fundamental than neat little things you can do on a touch screen,” said Verhoeven.
Apple contends Samsung failed to disclose its patents on the standard until two years after it was frozen, breaking ETSI rules. The iPhonhe maker also claims Samsung sought a royalty of roughly $12 per iPhone for the patents, an amount equal to or greater than the cost of the baseband chip itself, it said.
Separately, Verhoeven alleged Apple infringes three media patents. They include patent 7.577.460 on using a handset to send a photo in an email, as well as a music and another photo patent.
Apple’s lead attorney questioned Samsung’s motives, noting it made no mention of the infringement until after Apple sued Samsung, “as if our patents weren’t any good,” said Verhoeven. “We had a major business relationship with Apple,” he said.
“Samsung isn’t in the habit of suing its business partners and isn’t the one who launched this litigation,” he added.
A diverse ten-person jury will decide the issues between the two tech giants. Testimony is expected to continue through about August 17.
The opening statements highlighted several differences between the companies. While Apple rolls out one new smartphone and tablet a year, Samsung may ship dozens of them using a wide variety of designs. Samsung routinely surveys customers and mines the findings to direct new product development, whereas Apple relies on the instincts of its engineers and marketers, conducting no user surveys.
The presentations also made clear how Apple is focused on delivering innovation in the form of user experiences often expressed in software and casings defined by a small team of elite industrial engineers. Samsung has clearly been studying Apple’s techniques, but also spends significant engineering time developing technologies and patents around broad industry standards.