Apple vs. Samsung, with Google at center and Sony on the side

As the first Apple vs. Samsung patent trial in the United States gets under way (Merc’s live blog) in San Jose today, here’s a look at some interesting tidbits from the flood of coverage about the epic battle between the two companies. Apple has accused Samsung, now the world’s largest maker of smartphones, of copying its iPhone and iPad designs and features. Apple has estimated that the South Korean maker of electronics and Android devices owes it more than $2.5 billion in damages. Samsung accuses Apple on infringing on some of its technology patents as well.

• There’s a setback for Samsung already: AllThingsD’s Ina Fried reports that the former Apple designer who in 2006 designed Sony-inspired iPhones, supposedly at the request of Apple’s master designer Jonathan Ive, does not want to testify. What’s Sony doing in this saga? Samsung is attempting to show that the designs Apple claims Samsung copied were themselves copied from Sony. (ZDNet has gathered the corresponding court documents.) But in a separate report today, Fried writes that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has prohibited Samsung from mentioning Shin Nishibori’s Sony-style designs during its opening arguments. Apple, by the way, has produced designs from even earlier (2005) that it says shows the Sony-style designs were just a “side project,” according to the Verge.

• What’s the judge who’s presiding over the case like? The Merc’s Howard Mintz reports that Koh, 43 years old and a former litigation partner who specialized in patent cases, has twice decided to block sales of Samsung products, siding with Apple. But she also has worked on a patent case against Apple, according to the Wall Street Journal.

• A separate Wall Street Journal article points out that although the defendant officially is Samsung, the implications are so broad the trial might as well be between Apple and Google, maker of Android. But a direct clash of Silicon Valley titans is coming soon; Motorola Mobility’s complaint with the Washington-based International Trade Commission is set to be decided to be next month. Google is now the owner of Motorola Mobility, another maker of Android devices.


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  • jeteye

    And who comes out on top? the Lawyers..