Apple v. Samsung timeline: The guide to what's happening

Summary:Legal jargon aside, what is actually going on in the high-profile Apple v. Samsung case, and how did it start? Let's take a look at the timeline.

August 2012 .. until now:

The second week of hearings begins. Samsung counsel Katrina Howard  accused Apple  of meeting with 3G patent experts that provided evidence to  previous court cases  in Australia, and convincing two to "change their minds".

Who said what?

  • A Samsung executive testified that the company has as many as 100 different smartphones available in the U.S. market at any given moment, many of which are and look "distinctly different".

  • During the cross-examination of Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, Samsung's attorney tried to get the executive to talk about a product that hasn't been announced yet. He asked whether Apple's next iPhone model would look anything like existing versions, or if changes were in store. 

  • Peter Bressler -- a former president of the Industrial Designers Society and the founder and board chair of product design firm Bresslergroup -- said numerous Samsung designs infringed on Apple's patents, implying it is possible that consumers may confuse the two devices.  

  • Samsung chief strategy officer Justin Denison denies that the company is copying anything, finding the idea "offensive". 

     "At Samsung, we're very very proud of the products we produce, of all the hard work that goes into bringing those products to market. What we would like to be able to do is simply compete in the market, continue what we've been doing for the last 15 years in the market."

  • An Apple expert acknowledged that even if Samsung's products are similar enough to Apple's to confuse consumers, it doesn't stand to follow that Apple's sales are harmed. 

  • Apple called upon the testimony of Massachusetts Institute of Technology marketing professor John Hauser to explain survey results claiming that Samsung consumers would pay anywhere from $39 to $100 for Apple's features --  the same ones being fought over in court. 

  • The testimony of one of Samsung's key designers was scrapped by Koh. Lead designer for Samsung's F700 phone, Hyong Shin Park, was barred after an Apple request. Park had previously said that the designs were inspired by a "bowl of water" rather than copied technology. Apple argued her testimony was irrelevant.  

Evidence points of note:

  • Some of Apple's entered exhibits seem to show that Samsung's phones only began looking similar to an iPhone in 2010. Other slides were submitted but had to be changed following objections by Samsung. 

  • A piece of evidence which is submitted to court is obtained by AllThingsD, which is a translation of a report prepared by Samsung in 2010 that directly compares the iPhone to the Galaxy S. In the document, the firm compares hundreds of aspects between the two devices, noting key differences and  areas for improvement .

  • Following on, one of the first iPad prototypes is excluded as evidence in the trial, despite it having been shown to jurors. 

  • In addition, another report produced by Samsung at court, contained Apple's internal research data. It suggests that most U.S. phone shoppers bought an Android device instead of an iPhone in order to stick with their carrier.
  • A consumer survey Apple sponsored and completed in 2008, shown as evidence, found there was confusion about whether the Galaxy Tab was a Samsung product or an iPad. In reprisal, Samsung used the simple function of turning different device models on -- two phones and a tablet -- to contend the idea that consumers could become confused looking at each model.

  • During the testimony of Ravin Balakrishnan, a professor in the department of computer science at the University of Toronto, Apple brought out two of Samsung's internal usability studies -- one for a smartphone and another for a tablet. Direct instructions were found within to "mimic" Apple's software

  • An internal memo raised at court, addressed to Samsung's "UX [user experience] executives," makes it clear that designers and developers should take "lessons" from the iPhone, but not copy it

    See also: Apple's original 'copying' presentation to Samsung

.. anything else?

A wealth of sensitive company data concerning both companies has been released, despite both firms  pleading for exclusion  from the public domain. Since the iPad launched in Q2 2010, Apple has sold 32 million iPads in the United States. In comparison, within the timeframe, Samsung sold only 1.4 million tablets.

Apple has also accused Samsung of stealing their icons, in addition to the original patent complaint. Apple's director of patent licensing and strategy also said that the firm approached Samsung in 2010 over patent infringement. 

In court, it was revealed that Apple offered to license patents to Samsung based on fees of $30 per smartphone, and $40 per tablet.

A long-running patent deal between Apple and Microsoft came to light next at the trial, which acknowledges there's no cloning of the iPhone on the Windows phone model. Specific rules  are in place to prevent  "clone" products. 

Three of Samsung's allegedly infringing phones were excluded from the trial yesterday. The Galaxy Ace, Galaxy S i9000, and Galaxy S II i9100 are now no longer under contention.


"I want papers. I don't trust what any lawyer tells me in this courtroom. I want to see actual papers."

We may be seeing more new details appearing which include business dealings between both the rival firms and other corporations enter the public domain soon. In a court ruling issued by Koh, taking into consideration many appeals of privacy have been ignored, the judge wrote:

"Although the Court has generally allowed royalty terms of licensing agreements to be sealed, Samsung is seeking to seal a proposed royalty rate between the two litigants. This information is important to the parties' damages calculations and therefore important for the public's understanding of this case."

So far in the high-profile battle, information has been made public that the two firms probably both regret. However, as the trial is highly unlikely to finish any time soon, these facts will not be the last we learn about the two technology giants. 


14 August: Samsung's senior designer Jeeyuen Wang  takes the stand , and attempted to quash claims that Samsung's phone and photography app iconography was a copy of Apple's. 

14 August: U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh seems to have had her fill of 'courtroom theatrics' (think back on Apple appeals and Samsung releasing information to the press). She told the court on Tuesday after Apple raised objections to one of Samsung's witnesses, trying to block Tim Williams, Ph.D., one of Samsung's expert witnesses from testifying:

15 August: Koh told the CEOs of the two firms to lock themselves in a room and fight it out before the jury decides, talks in court resulted in a discussion of a low-level cellular-communications chip in Apple's iPhone, and one of Samsung's head designers says the company was working on tablet design well before the iPad's debut.

See also, just for fun: CNET's Chris Matyszczyk acts the clueless consumer in Best Buy to confuse Apple and Samsung products.

16 August: It seems the judge's patience is wearing thin, after asking if Apple was "smoking crack" when handed a last-minute witness list -- all 75 pages of it. Hours afterwards, Koh questioned Samsung's strategy, saying it may have burned up too much of its time cross-examining Apple's witnesses -- using 14 of its 25 hours -- rather than presenting its own case. 

Samsung rested its case after putting witnesses on to the stand that said the iPhone maker may owe as much as $421.8 million in royalty payments.

17 August: Apple and Samsung today both ran through the last few hours -- or in Samsung's case, just minutes -- of their allotted 25 hours for rebuttals and clarifications. Still ahead are closing arguments in which the two companies get their last chance to convince a jury of nine that the other company is infringing on its technology. 

20 August: Samsung CEO Kwon Oh Hyun had a chat with Apple CEO Tim Cook, but failed to reach a deal. In addition, Motorola Mobility filed new patent infringement claims against Apple, and wants its range of desktop and mobile devices banned from U.S. sale .

In court, one of Apple's experts recreated a 1994 tablet prototype.

Facing disclosure to a jury that both Apple and Samsung failed to uphold document retention laws, the two companies struck a deal to keep the matter of lost emails private. However, Koh had her own problems to deal with -- believing that the jury will have trouble tallying up damages for the two rival firms.

In a separate case from the one in San Jose, Apple began arguing for an appeals court to go through with a ban on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus.

See also: Mutually Assured Destruction: Google/Motorola vs. Apple

21 August: Interested in seeing sketches from the courtroom? 

22 August: The closing arguments are in. Apple relied on Samsung's documents to try and prove patent infringement, whereas Samsung argued that siding with the rival firm would change the "way competition works in this country".

Deliberations begin on Wednesday.

25 August: The verdict is in .

Topics: Apple, Samsung


Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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