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Apple v Samsung judge quizzes jury

31 Jul 12

Jury selection began in the smartphone patent case with potential candidates asked to list their gadgets as Apple and Samsung prepare to wage war in California.

The long-awaited lawsuit kicked off early this morning (NZT) with U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh telling jurors: "If you are ultimately selected as a juror, it will be an interesting case.”

Judge Koh said the court needed to find 18 jurors who can be ‘fair and impartial’ in making a decision on the case, from 74 possible contenders.

Apple is suing the South Korean company for US$2.5 billion, alleging its rival made ‘a deliberate decision to copy’ their products with reference to iPad and iPhone designs.

Samsung strongly deny the claims, countersuing the American firm for patent infringements of their own and demanding substantial royalties.

Failure to settle out of court has resulted in jurors facing questioning over their suitability for the case – asking if any had previously worked for Apple or Samsung, along with what phones they owned and whether there were any conflicts of interest.

Of the 74, many admitted owning iPhones and iPads, along with Samsung smartphones and other products, while a few declared they had read Steve Jobs biography – where the late Apple CEO said he would go ‘thermonuclear’ in his pursuit of Samsung over alleged copyright infringements.

The first round of possible jurors already caused issues with a current Apple employer and Google interface designer among the candidates.

Finding a jury for such a public trial was always expected to be a difficult process and this has proved no different to expectations.

Judge Koh continued quizzing jurors asking if they had strong feelings about the case, if they feel influenced by any media coverage and if they held shares in Apple or Samsung stock.

A decision is expected to be made today however, with opening statements from both parties likely to follow.

The evidence section of the lawsuit is expected to conclude as early as August 17 but estimates of August 21 appeared more likely given the evidence and witnesses in the case.

This will be the first time a jury has heard a smartphone patent case in the US, with the trial expected to last four weeks in San Jose courthouse, California.

What do you think? Is it impossible to get a fair and impartial jury in this case? Who will come out on top? Let us know your comments below.