Apple v. Samsung, part deux, week two: Money talks...and talks some more

Apple wraps up its testimony, fueling hopes that this trial might really wrap up by the end of the month.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

It's week two in the second installment of Apple v. Samsung, and this is where the long-haul of the trial really sets in. (At least before we see how long it takes the jury to come up with a verdict, but more on that soon.)

To recall, last week the two mobile tech giants met back up again in court to commence on a redo of their 2012 trial.

As the plaintiff, Apple got the ball rolling with its opening arguments and initial witnesses last week, headlined by appearances from Apple veterans Phil Schiller and Greg Christie.

Surprisingly, it was Christie who remained in tech blog headlines this week following reports he handed in his resignation. Apple subsequently confirmed.

Christie was one of the engineers on the design team members behind the original iPhone, which was released in 2007. He is credited with inventing iOS's "Slide to Unlock" function, among other now-familiar features.

Tech blog 9to5Mac suggested on Wednesday that Christie's departure comes amid a significant internal leadership shuffle after coming at odds against Apple's senior vice president of design, Jonathan Ive.

Nevertheless, Apple said in a statement to CNET that Christie was planning to retire later this year.

That aside, Apple moved proceedings along with more experts, turning the San Jose federal courthouse room into a crash course in advanced mobile programming.

But this being a patent trial involving the two largest smartphone manufacturers in the world represented by the best (or at least most expensive) legal teams in the business, there were still some dramatic elements.

The most eye-catching (or maybe hair-raising) one this week arguably has to do with money, which is really what this trial is all about in the end.

Sure, both sides would likely go on the defensive and attest this is about intellectual property. But when Apple ups the ante against Samsung from $2 billion in damages sought to $2.191 billion (which at that point, who's counting anymore?), any thoughts about artistry go out the window.

Apple sourced that request to an estimate drummed up by Christopher Vellturo, an economist and principal at Quantitative Economic Solutions. Vellturo testified on Tuesday that he reached that figure by calculating estimated royalties as well as lost sales and profits.

Back on the stand on Friday, Vellturo also acknowledged that he is being paid $2.3 million for his work on this case. Parties on both sides of the courtroom often pay boatloads to technical and financial experts. Last week, at least one expert witness for Cupertino admitted under oath he was being paid upwards of $500 per hour for his contribution to the case.

(Meanwhile, the jurors in this trial are receiving just $50 per day.)

However, Vellturo retorted during cross-examination with Samsung's point lawyer, John Quinn, that he is not a "professional witness" for Apple.

Vellturo's testimony took up the bulk of the week's proceedings, but he wasn't the only expert Apple had on deck.

John Hauser, the Kirin professor of marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management, was called to back up Apple's demand for more than $2 billion.

On Tuesday, Hauser described an extensive survey he undertook, asking hundreds of Samsung tablet and smartphone users to determine how many people were buying select devices for specific features. Eventually he came to the conclusion that fewer consumers would have bought the Samsung devices at question in this lawsuit if certain features were missing.

Samsung attorneys took issue with that methodology, speculating that brand name and operating systems hold more weight for consumers when making purchasing decisions.

Apple wrapped up its case by mid-Friday, leaving the rest of the day to let Samsung get started with its list of witnesses. That was immediately followed by a kerfuffle over a number of motions, summary judgment, and most questions directed at Samsung's first witness, Hiroshi Lockheimer, engineering director for Google's Android team.

Lockheimer's testimony will likely be pick up again next week, but the few points he made on late Friday afternoon are critical.

For starters, Lockheimer recalled how he was “blown away” by initial demos of Android as far back as 2006, predating the release of the iPhone and iOS. He also helped out Samsung's argument that Apple's wrath is misdirected at the manufacturer rather than the company fostering the ecosystem: Google.

Like many of the high-profile intellectual property trials inundating federal courthouses in and around Silicon Valley over the last few years, there is a dedicated pool of tech journalists covering live each day -- many of whom are frequently live-tweeting updates.

If you don't have the time (or patience) to follow along each day, check back here on ZDNet next Friday for another installment recapping the week in Apple v. Samsung, part deux.

Editorial standards