Apple, Samsung Patent Trial Set to Kick Off in US, Billions at Stake

Apple, Samsung
A man holds a Samsung S II (R) and Samsung Ace (L) smartphones next to an Apple iPhone 4 in Houten in this photo illustration August 24, 2011.

Jury selection is due to begin on Monday in the United States in a high stakes patent battle between Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), the culmination of over a year of pretrial jousting with billions of dollars in the balance.

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A man holds a Samsung S II (R) and Samsung Ace (L) smartphones next to an Apple iPhone 4 in Houten in this photo illustration August 24, 2011.

Apple and Samsung, the world's largest consumer electronics corporations, are waging legal war around the world, accusing each other of patent violations as they vie for supremacy in a fast-growing market for mobile devices.

The fight began last year when Apple sued Samsung in a San Jose, California federal court, accusing the South Korean company of slavishly copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung countersued.

The stakes are high, with Samsung facing potential U.S. sales bans of its Galaxy smartphones and tablet computers, and Apple in a pivotal test of its worldwide patent litigation strategy.

Apple will try to use Samsung documents to show its rival knowingly violated the iPhone maker's intellectual property rights, while Samsung argues Apple is trying to stifle competition to maintain "exorbitant" profit, according to court filings.

A 10-member jury will hear evidence over at least four weeks, and it must reach a unanimous decision for Apple or Samsung to prevail on any of their claims.

That the jurors will hail from Silicon Valley, where Apple is an icon and major employer, will be something for Samsung to consider during the jury selection, said James Dobson, a jury consultant with Empirical Creative.

"Although certainly if I were Samsung I would be concerned about what prospective jurors think about Apple, given that it's a huge employer there," Dobson said, "by and large jurors want to do the right thing and decide the case on the merits."

It has been tough going so far for Samsung in the case. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh halted U.S. sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, giving Apple a significant early win. This was followed by a pretrial ban on the Galaxy Nexus phone. Samsung has appealed both orders.

The trial is expected to last at least four weeks.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, No. 11-1846.

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