U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, Northern District of California. (Jason Doiy)
SAN JOSE — Apple and Samsung finally settled on a jury of four men and six women to hear their next patent trial, though a lawyer for the South Korean company lamented the swarm of iPhone users in the San Jose courtroom.
During a daylong selection process, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh grilled prospective jurors about their familiarity with the companies’ long-running spat over smartphone and tablet technology. As in the tech titans’ previous trials, Koh asked each potential juror on Monday to state which devices they owned, which company made them and whether they planned to buy another.
Samsung lawyer William Price fretted that the high proportion of prospective jurors with iPhones and iPads might put his client at a disadvantage. Most of the Samsung users in the jury pool owned devices such as televisions and cooking ranges.
“Samsung has sold a lot of smartphones,” said Price, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. “Looking out amongst you folks, it’s hard to believe I’m hearing Apple, Apple, Apple, Apple, Apple.”
In their second case and third jury trial, Apple and Samsung are trading allegations of patent infringement and invalidity over the later versions of their products, such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3.
Samsung is asserting a pair of patents that it acquired after litigation with Apple began. Apple accuses Samsung of infringing five patents that cover well-known features such as the slide-to-unlock gesture and autocorrect, which fixes typos in messages. Most of Apple’s infringement contentions relate to technology that is woven into the Android operating system, lending Google an outsized presence in the trial.
One prospective juror, an engineer for LinkedIn, summed up the trial as “basically an ‘Apple v. Google case.’” But he had harsh words for Samsung, too.
“Neither company is a particular favorite of mine,” he said. “Both have been bullies with their patent libraries.”
In a rare moment of unity, both Samsung lawyer John Quinn and Apple lawyer William Lee of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr moved to disqualify the engineer, but Koh initially overruled them. However, the man was later excluded with three other jurors who owned stock in Apple and other Silicon Valley companies.
Price was heartened when no prospective jurors indicated that they would have a hard time giving Samsung a fair shake. But he pressed one Cupertino lawyer about her affinity for her hometown company.
“I just grew up with Apple,” she said.
Price then tried to cash in on a bit of Google’s goodwill for his South Korean client.
“I understand what you’re saying,” he said. “Mountain View is not far away either.”
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