Apple, Samsung patent case jury selection begins

The trial is scheduled to continue for several days each week through August

Lawyers for Apple and Samsung Electronics have begun choosing the 10 people that will make up the jury to which they will argue claims of patent infringement.

The jurors are being selected from a pool of people called in to the U.S. District Courthouse in San Jose, California. Each side will get to question prospective jurors and dismiss those they don't want on the jury.

Among those likely to be excluded is anyone with connections to the two companies or their witnesses, those that have already been closely following the case in the media, and those with strong views on Apple, Samsung or the U.S. patent system. The latter might be excused because there are some people that view a recent increase in patent infringement lawsuits as an indication that the patent system is granting overly broad patents and not working as it should.

Jury selection is expected to take less than a day, after which both companies will launch into their opening arguments.

Before the jury selection got under way, the court held a housekeeping session. The two sides argued over several items including the admission of testimony by Shin Nishibori, a former Apple designer that worked on "Sony-style" cell phone designs. Also under discussion were Samsung prototype designs from 2006 that Samsung says show phones similar to those in dispute were being worked on by Samsung before Apple revealed the iPhone in 2007.

The crux of the case is whether Samsung too closely copied Apple's iPhone and iPad designs when producing its own cell phones and tablet PCs. There are a number of additional arguments over the design of on-screen icons on Samsung products and whether Apple utilized technology in its products to which Samsung holds patents.

Apple is asking for damages of $2.5 billion, and has also requested a judge triple the award due to wilful infringement.

The two sides have been arguing for weeks in the same court over what should and shouldn't be included in the trial. Judge Lucy Koh, who is overseeing the case, has pushed both companies to whittle down their fight to core disputes and set a limit of 25 hours on each company to make their arguments.

The trial is scheduled to continue for several days each week through August.

The case is 11-01846, Apple vs Samsung, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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