SAN JOSE -- Samsung wants you to know it isn’t a copycat.
"Samsung's not some copyist, some Johnny-come-lately that's doing knockoffs," lawyer Charles Verhoeven said during the company’s opening statement in federal court Tuesday.
During his 90 minutes addressing the jury in federal court in San Jose, Verhoeven repeatedly insisted that an average person could tell the difference between Samsung’s mobile devices and Apple's, and said Apple "had no right to claim a monopoly" on a rectangle with a large screen.
He told the nine-member jury that Samsung, just like other technology companies, was inspired by Apple's iPhone but that didn't constitute infringement.
"It's called competition," he said. "There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by someone else's design."
Verhoeven, of the firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, said South Korea-based Samsung had been in the phone business for far longer than Apple and spent $35 billion on its research and development from 2005 to 2010. He appealed to the Bay Area jury by talking about Samsung's San Jose ties and said the company's recent mobile devices simply showed a natural evolution in smartphone technology.
He also told the jury that Samsung's smartphones were fundamentally different from the iPhone, saying the company's phones have four buttons on the bottom of the device (compared with the iPhone's single button) and pointing out that the home screens of Samsung phones also differ from that of the iPhone.
Verhoeven said even Apple's designers had admitted that they had no proof that customers had ever been confused between the two companies' products.
Apple made its opening statement earlier Tuesday, with lawyers for the company telling jurors that Samsung had taken the easy way out by copying its products.
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