Apple and Samsung, who have been waging a high stakes patent battle over smartphone and tablet technology for years, continued to place significant value on expert witness testimony throughout their recent patent infringement lawsuit. In the latest case, Apple filed suit for violations of five patents while Samsung counter-sued for violation of two of its patented technologies. Both companies have used technology and business expert witnesses in an effort to convince the jury that their competitor not only infringed on patented designs, but profited as a result.
Apple Expert Witnesses Claim Patent Infringement
Both Apple and Samsung relied almost exclusively on expert witness testimony in an effort to clarify how the jury should rule on the variety of patent claims in dispute. Early in the case, Apple produced several computer science expert witnesses to support the company’s claim that Samsung had committed patent infringement by using Apple technology to build Samsung smartphones and tablets. Professors from esteemed universities, including the University of California and Carnegie Mellon University, provided expert witness testimony on behalf of Apple to identify the similarities in technology between the company’s iPhones and tablets and the Samsung counterparts.
Apple also called the engineers who invented the slide-to-unlock iPhone feature and the company’s quick link search technology, two of the patents at issue, to testify that their designs were used directly and copied by Samsung. Finally, Apple called an economist expert witness to explain to jurors that Samsung’s infringement cost Apple an average of $33 per infringing smartphone and tablet sold – concluding that Apple is due over $2 billion in total.
Samsung Expert Witnesses Deny Apple’s Claims
Samsung countered with its own set of computer science expert witnesses to attack Apple’s claims on three fronts:
- Apple’s patents are limited, and Samsung did not infringe;
- There is no evidence customers purchased Apple products because of the patented technologies; and
- Apple’s patents were invalidly granted by the US Patent Office.
Computer science professors from MIT and UNC took the stand to testify to the differences between Apple’s patented technology and the software that Samsung employed. Samsung attorneys made sure the computer experts were able to offer clear reasons why Apple’s claims were not justified, asking the professors to identify distinctions between the technologies and the limitations on Apple’s patents.
Samsung also called a Google engineer as a technology expert witness to testify that Google’s Android platform, the operating system in Samsung phones and tablets, invented much of the technology in question before Apple patented it. Finally, in response to Apple’s damage claim, Samsung countered with its own economist expert witness to argue that even if Samsung did infringe, the damages would average 35 cents per device – entitling Apple to only $38.4 million.
Expert Witnesses Key in Patent Cases
As the jury deliberates the latest Apple v Samsung trial, they will need to consider which side made best use of its expert witnesses. The latest chapter in the high stakes legal battle provides example of the need for experts from a variety of different fields to not only argue whether or not a patent was infringed, but also to provide analysis that helps jurors determine the value of a damage award. Both Apple and Samsung relied on technology and economic expert witnesses to cover all aspects of their legal case, and the lawsuit demonstrates how experts are used at the top level of civil litigation.
In trials involving highly complex questions about technology patents and the economic impact of patent infringement, jurors rely on expert witnesses who can clearly explain difficult to understand material.