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Samsung: Apple's Patent Claims Are "Gross Exaggeration"

"It's an attack on Android," says Samsung's lawyer.

Samsung began its opening argument on Tuesday, saying that Apple’s patents aren’t nearly as broad or important as the company claims in seeking $2 billion in damages.

“I’ll prove to you that is a gross, gross exaggeration, and an insult to your intelligence,” Samsung lawyer John Quinn said as he kicked off his opening statement.

Quinn also pulled a page from Apple’s playbook and showed reviews of Samsung products talking about their innovations.

As expected, Quinn characterized Apple’s software features as “small” and “minor” and not the reason why people buy Samsung’s phones. Rather, he said, it is things such as screen size and battery life that prompt people to buy its phones. Apple doesn’t even use four of the five patents at issue in its phones, Quinn argued.

Quinn also noted that none of the software features on the Galaxy Nexus phone were designed by Samsung. Rather, he said, all of the software on that phone was done by the “sophisticated and creative minds” at Google. Plus, he said, “Google didn’t copy” but rather independently developed the features.

Apple is an amazing company, Quinn said, but in many cases Google’s Android software has passed Apple up.

“It’s an attack on Android,” Quinn said. “It is trying to gain with you in this courtroom what it has lost in the marketplace.”

Quinn’s opening followed that of Apple, in which its lawyers argued Samsung deliberately chose to copy Apple’s features.

Update: Samsung’s opening statement is continuing after lunch.

Quinn suggests that Apple was running into the innovator’s dilemma by the time 2010 rolled along. Apple was an innovator, Quinn said, but Google was innovating too.

“They don’t need to copy people,” Quinn said. “They don’t need to copy Apple.”

He notes that the team that produced Android began work two years before the iPhone was introduced, with a vision for a shared, open platform that the industry could use and modify.

“It came to market,” he said. “It is extremely successful.”

Kindle runs on Android, car dashboards are coming. “That success is a testament to the hard work and the ingenuity of the engineers at Google.”

Quinn cited an October 2010 “Top 100” meeting agenda Apple recognized that it was in danger of hanging on to the old paradigm too long and called for a “Holy War” with Google. In addition, Quinn said the document shows Apple’s recognition that Google was ahead in some areas, including cloud services, notifications and voice.

Apple was determined to catch up and “this lawsuit was part of that strategy,” Quinn said.

Quinn pointed to the fact Apple is suing over, among other devices, the Galaxy Nexus for which Google designed all the software.

“The software is pure Android,” Quinn said.

As for Samsung’s innovations, Quinn noted that Samsung has had a host of innovations and the company was awarded the second most U.S. patents last year, trailing only IBM.

“Samsung cares about patents,” Quinn said.

The company has won customers, he said, not through Apple’s specific software features but through things like big screens, as well as its significant investment in marketing.

“Samsung’s brand became as strong as Apple,” Quinn said, citing an internal Apple document. “Frankly, it drove Apple crazy.”

Quinn then shifted his attention to potential damages, blasting a study by John Hauser that Apple used to come out with the amount it is seeking.

“It is the only evidence Apple has to support its claims that consumers make smartphone purchase decisions based on these five small software patents,” Quinn said. “If he’s wrong about that, they don’t have any evidence on this.”

Quinn argues that Hauser’s survey is flawed, asking consumers to choose whether they wanted a particular feature or not, ignoring the fact that there are often other, non-infringing ways to get the same feature. For example, a word correction patent, Quinn said, only protects one method of displaying word corrections and the real choice is between Apple’s patented method and other methods, not whether to have the feature or not.

“It was deliberately and carefully designed to mislead you,” Quinn said of Hauser’s study.

Quinn also noted an Apple study that shows only 16 percent of iPhone buyers did so because of a specific feature. Even of those 16 percent that did cite a feature, most people decided based on things like battery life, weight and screen size rather than software features.

As evidence that people don’t buy for features, he cited the iPhone 5 with Apple’s flawed maps software sold just fine and so would a phone without the allegedly infringed features.

Samsung will also argue that all five Apple patents are invalid and never should have been issued in the first place.

As for its claim against Apple, Quinn said Samsung doesn’t normally sue others for using its patents, but did so in this case to defend itself.

Before Apple’s “holy war” against Android, Quinn noted that companies would typically cross license their patents to others in the field.

“That’s what used to happen,” Quinn said.

Still, he said that Samsung’s patents, at least the one on sending video over cellular, is more important than Apple’s five patents and yet Samsung is only asking for less than $7 million in damages.

“For much more minor features, they are seeking billions,” Quinn said. “It is that simple.”

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