Jury’s Out, and the Future of Technology Awaits

The nine jurors who will convene this week in the Apple vs. Samsung patent lawsuit may not know it, but their decision will likely have a profound impact on the shape (and many other features) of mobile technology to come.

According to the New York Times, if Samsung comes out on top, we should expect to see a lot more devices on the market with an unabashed likeness to the iPhone and iPad. Without any retribution handed down in a landmark case like this, it may be open season for imitators of Apple’s signature sleek, minimalist design.

As for the other outcome, the Times cites Christopher V. Carani, an intellectual property lawyer in Chicago: “I think what we’ll see is a diversification of designs in the marketplace if Apple wins.” Rather than face similar lawsuits, the burden will be on mobile manufacturers to make products of distinct design and functionality.

But experts say the verdict will likely be a mixed bag. The Times reports that Apple’s case for infringement of design patents—regarding the look of the devices—is weaker than that of their utility patents, which protect functional features. Experts say Apple will likely win-some, lose-some, and ultimately won’t come close to the 2.5 billion in damages they were seeking.

But how’s this for some juicy courtroom tidbits—evidence was presented in which a top-level Samsung executive expressed that the iPhone’s release gave their company “a crisis of design” and that using the iPhone compared to Samsung’s products was a difference like “that of Heaven and Earth.”

Ouch! How will it all shake down? We should know this week!

Apple v. Samsung: The Inside Tweets

Here’s a fun one: we report all the time on the steady stream of Silicon Valley legal imbroglios, but rarely does one get to be a fly on the wall of the courtroom. Here’s an insider look at the latest throwdown, Samsung vs. Apple, courtesy of selected tweets from the peanut gallery:

Feisty start in patent case, Samsung lawyer clashes with Judge Koh over evidence it wants to submit. “We need to move fwd” says Koh sternly

John Quinn, Samsung lawyer: “Your honor, I’ve been practicing law for 36 years and I’ve never begged the court. I’m begging the court now.”

Samsung atty Charles Quinn trying to get judge to rehear an issue, and she just blasts him..”I want you to sit down, please!”

Judge Koh threatens to sanction Samsung lawyer John Quinn in a heated exchange over exhibits.

25 years covering courts, and haven’t seen big name law firm partner eviscerated in court like that….i think i see an intestine on the…

Opening statements have started. Apple lawyer Harold J. McElhinny of law firm Morrison Foerster (which calls itself MoFo) is talking to jury

Apple lawyer arguing that it is “hard to remember what phones looked” like before the iPhone launched in 2007

How did Samsung get from its 2006 phones to its 2010 phones? Apple witnesses will say it’s all about iPhone introduction, Apple atty says.

”Less than 10 miles form this courthouse, that is what this team put together,” says Apple playing to the home advantage


And that’s just the first day… get the rest at Mashable.

Steve Jobs Patent Exhibit at Smithsonian

Though the exhibit was at the USPTO offices for some time, The Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs: Art and Technology that Changed the World has made it’s way to the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian and will be there for about a month longer, ending July 8th.

If a wall of patents doesn’t seem like museum material, consider the impact those inventions had on culture around the world, and the fact that the objects of those patents earned Apple assets that eclipse the national treasury.

And of course, Jobs was known for his artistry as well as his ingenuity. According to NPR, the now seemingly-antiquated design for the first flat-screened iMac, that seems to hover over it’s rounded base was inspired by sunflowers his wife grew in their Palo Alto garden.

And if you can’t get to D.C., here’s a fascinating interactive look at Jobs’ patents at the New York Times, everything from Apple packaging to product prototypes that never made it to the showroom floor.