You can't patent sexy: The Apple-Samsung trial told in tweets

Wi-Fi problems, one-liners, Batkid and lots and lots of numbers: The trial in tweets

For the past five days, eight jurors, one judge and a handful of reporters in a California courtroom have listened to a couple of dozen lawyers argue over hundreds of millions of dollars that Samsung might owe to Apple for infringing its patents.

The jury trial is a cornerstone of the justice system in many countries and most people's access to the process has typically been through the daily dispatches of reporters. These days -- at least in the Northern District of California -- those reporters are often allowed to use laptops and access the Internet. And that means they can tweet.

Here's a look at some of the highs and lows of the trial as told through those tweets.

On numbers

There are a lot of dollars at stake and that means a lot of talk about money. Sometimes the testimony got deep in the weeds. On Friday, as most of nearby San Francisco was absorbed with a little boy having his Batman dream come true, there was a plea from the courtroom for help.

@inafried - 15 Nov - Dear #SFBatKid when you are done saving SF, swing by San Jose. Dozens being held hostage in court listening to mind-numbing accounting talk

@hmintz - 14 Nov - Judge blocks media and gallery types from seeing sealed docs on Apple profit and loss statements. C'mon. I wouldn't understand them anyway..

@daiwaka - 14 Nov - Samsung attorney keeps getting rebuffed on his math by Apple's expert accountant witness. And I thought journalists were bad at math.

On Judge Koh

Lawyers try to get away with whatever shenanigans they can, so it's important that someone keep them in check. Judge Lucy Koh ran a tight ship and didn't tolerate games from either side.

@daiwaka - 14 Nov - "If we're going to get into it, we're GOING to get into it" Judge Koh. If I was allowed a recording device, I would make that my ringtone.

@SFjlove - 18 Nov - Rejection, Judge Koh style. "Alright, that's denied."

On boredom and excitement

There was a lot of sitting, a lot of listening and - very occasionally - a bit of excitement to keep people awake. But most of the trial felt like a long haul to the finish.

@Swiftstories - 14 Nov - Many members of #icourt jury appear to be zoning out as Price projects image of Apple's consolidated financial statements.

@sharatibken - 14 Nov - Man sitting in front of me started snoring lightly. I feel your pain, buddy.

@daiwaka - 14 Nov - We are getting Apple marketing head Phil Schiller today in #iCourt! Reporters rejoice! Finally, something to write about.

@sharatibken - 18 Nov - Sad that the most interesting part of #icourt today is the guy whose phone keeps making noise/talking to him.

@SFjlove - 18 Nov - That moment when the door swings open and everyone begins to rise for Judge Koh.. Only to find it is her smiling young clerk.

On technology

Despite the technology at the center of the case, the courtroom was a low-tech affair. To help with their math, the jury requested calculators and Judge Koh displayed them in court on Tuesday morning. "Any objections?" she asked. It wasn't a joke. Apple's attorneys asked for the brand name. Perhaps they were guarding against Samsung calculators.

@sharatibken - 14 Nov - Judge Koh asking lawyers to turn off some of their computers b/c her Wi-Fi shut down. Network overloaded, she says. #icourt

@KevinNLee - 19 Nov - Staples: The official calculator provider for the Apple-Samsung #icourt damages jury.

On one-liners

Lawyers and their witnesses aren't without a sense of humor, and if they can slip in a one-liner to help make a point, they'll try.

@hmintz - 18 Nov - Lee: Apple asked Samsung, "please" stop infringing our iPhone. Wagner: "I don't recall them ever saying 'please."

@MalathiNayak - 14 Nov - "I'm a little lost in where you are in this": Is Apple's damages expert echoing jurors' thoughts as she figures out Samsung atty's questions?

@MalathiNayak - 15 Nov - Samsung's Will Price asks Schiller: "Apple doesn't own a patent on a product being beautiful or sexy, isn't that correct?"

@swiftstories - 13 Nov - Price says many reasons people bought Samsung phones besides the 5 Apple patents - 4G, screens, Android & you can't patent sexy."

And finally, on bad jokes

The award for the worst joke of the trial goes to Bill Price, an attorney for Samsung. This one drew groans from the courtroom.

@SFjlove - 14 Nov - Burn. Expert says Price's comparison is apples & oranges. "Maybe it's apples & oranges, but I'm talking about Apple & Samsung," he retorts.

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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Tags smartphonesAppleAndroidlegaliPhoneconsumer electronicsintellectual propertypatentSamsung Electronics

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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