Last week all eyes were focused on a courtroom in California where Apple and Samsung were engaged in a litigation battle. That was only one front in the war between the two smartphone manufacturing giants. Across the country, in an appellate courtroom for the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, Apple and Samsung engaged each other to start this week in yet another Apple v Samsung case.
This particular hearing was the result of Samsung’s appeal of an order from Judge Lucy Koh to ban the sales of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phones until the patent infringement trial takes place in March 2014. Samsung is trying to get the ban overturned, to get Judge Koh’s finding that Apple is likely to prevail overturned, and they are challenging the validity of the patent in question. On that point, the patent is the one that involves the ability of Google search to return “hits” for items both on the device and on the Internet – a unified search result.
Two of the key issues argued during the hearing were whether Apple has to prove it lost market share and whether the protected feature is one that drives sales of the device. Samsung contends both of these points needed to be proven by Apple to justify a pre-trial ban. To counter Apple, Samsung offered up sales numbers for both the iPhone and the Galaxy Nexus, showing the Nexus commands maybe 0.5% of the market while Apple controls about 33% of the market.
In addition to the arguments surrounding market share, Samsung also argued that people change smartphones due to the overall experience provided by either iOS or Android, not the specific function of the search utility. They also made their argument about the problem with invalidating device sales based on a single patent connecting to a single feature on a device which is comprised of thousands of “technological marvels” and how this could potentially halt the sale of all devices.
For their part, Apple made the argument that Samsung was engaged in a “beat-Apple” strategy that included copying key features. Apple’s attorney also argued the comprehensive results were a key factor in consumers choosing an iPhone.
The three-judge panel expressed some frustration with both parties and the rhetoric present in various court filings. They did not indicate when they might issue their ruling.