Evidence in the case included blunt exchanges in e-mails about no-hire arrangements among executives including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and then-Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt.
The jury deciding Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.’s $2 billion patent-infringement case asked the judge for additional evidence about whether Google Inc. was mentioned when Steve Jobs, the iPhone maker’s co-founder, decided to sue.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, in a note responding to the jury’s question yesterday, said the panel can only consider evidence that was introduced during the trial and that no supplemental material will be provided. Yesterday was the jury’s first full day of deliberations following a trial with almost four weeks of testimony.
Samsung argued at trial that Apple’s real target in the lawsuit is Google’s Android operating system. Android is used to run Samsung smartphones, and most of Apple’s claims in its second U.S. trial against the Suwon, South Korea-based maker of Galaxy phones relate to Android functions.
“Reading between the lines, there appears to be some disagreement among jurors about why this case was filed,” Brian Love, a law professor at Santa Clara University, said in an e-mail about the jury’s request. “In particular, the jury seems to be debating whether this case represents a genuine effort by Apple to protect patents it truly values or, instead, is a pretext for a general attack on Samsung and Google.”
Apple and Samsung have fought battles across four continents to dominate a market that was valued at $338.2 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Samsung had 31 percent of industry revenue, compared with 15 percent for Apple, whose share of the market has shrunk as the touch-screen interface became more commonplace and Samsung, LG Electronics (066570) Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. have introduced lower-cost alternatives.
The patent disputes began when Samsung released its Galaxy smartphones in 2010. Jobs, who died Oct. 5, 2011, initiated contact with Samsung over his concerns that the Galaxy phones copied the iPhone. Jobs later vowed to wage “thermonuclear war” to prove that phones running on Android copy the iPhone.
In the current trial, Apple tried to keep the jury’s focus on its contention that Samsung, not Google, made the decision to use patent-infringing features to sell more than 37 million smartphones and tablets.
Samsung presented e-mails to the jury in which Jobs spoke of his Cupertino, California-based company facing an “innovator’s dilemma” and announced a “Holy War with Google,” saying the goal was to “Catch up to Google” in its Android and cloud service capabilities.
Without the jury present yesterday, the companies’ lawyers met with Koh to discuss the panel’s request. Samsung’s lawyers asked her to direct jurors to the e-mail mentioning the “Holy War,” a request the judge rejected.
“There’s no mention of litigation in this e-mail,” Koh said.
Both companies in closing arguments this week addressed the biggest surprise of the trial -- when Apple put on evidence last week showing that Google is backing Samsung’s legal defense, after revealing that the Galaxy maker in 2012 had denied seeking indemnification from anyone.
Apple argued the revelation cast doubt on Samsung’s “credibility,” while Samsung sought to brush the insinuation aside, saying it can’t be used to find the company liable for infringement.
The case is Apple Inc. (APPL) v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-cv-00630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).