Apple's epic lawsuit against chief rival Samsung is coming to a close, as both sides' lawyers use the last of their remaining time today to present last minute evidence against. The last few weeks have been a wild ride, full of accusations and private internal documents, but now comes the tough part: the verdict.
The jury's decision making process will be long and complex. Each side has submitted a document detailing the tech design patent's it claims its opponents have infringed on. Samsung's is 17 pages long, while Apple's is nine pages. The documents consist of a series of questions asking each jury member to check off which devices infringe on which patents (Apple's form includes 225 checkboxes). The documents also come with a 100-page instruction manual. You can see the most up to date verdict documents from each company here.
So who's gonna win? In most similar cases, matters are generally settled out of court. Judge Koh has practically begged Apple and Samsung to reach a settlement, but Apple isn't interested. There are two possible reasons for this. First, Apple knows it has a stronger argument, and second, all Apple cares about is getting Samsung's devices banned from sale in the US, like it already did with the Galaxy Tab.
"Apple appears to have the stronger hand, although disputes like this generally end in licensing agreements," writes Simon Hill for Android Authority. "The difference here is that Apple isn't looking to settle. Mediation didn't work, and it appears that Apple's ultimate aim is actually to get Samsung products banned. Samsung is fighting back as aggressively as possible."
Considering the complex verdict process, and the vast amount of evidence on both sides of this lawsuit, it seems unlikely that either side will walk away with a clear victory.
"There's no way either company will win an outright victory, because they both hold a big range of patents and they're probably both right to some extent," Hill continues.
The truth is that both sides have made both solid arguments and ludicrous claims. Apple has gone as far as claiming that the shape of the Samsung Galaxy S smartphones is too similar to the iPhone, but can Apple's really patent the shape of a rectangle? They can't really patent basic touch-screen technology either, considering that Sony designed similar technology before Apple got around to it.
At the same time, it's pretty clear that Samsung's icon's are often identical to Apple's. In some cases both companies appear to have used the most obvious shapes, in other cases the argument that Samsung is guilty of being a copycat seems indisputable.
If history is a good predictor of how this trial will resolve, than the smart money is Apple to prevail. The company previously won against Samsung, successfully banning the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from being sold in the US (although Samsung recently released the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1). Apple has also won several cases against Samsung in European courts, although a UK judge ruled against Apple, and the company has been unsuccessful in getting the Galaxy S3 smartphone banned.
Don't bother asking Siri to predict the outcome of the case. The Washington Post already did, and although the electronic assistant had no opinion on the trial, she did state that the "best phone" is "the one you are holding." When asked what Siri thought of Samsung, the computer responded, "you are not supposed to ask your assistant such things."
Whichever way this trial goes, it will likely have a major impact o the future of tech and gadget design. As the New York Times's Nick Wingfeld argues, this case may "change how the world's smartphones and tablet computers look and work."
Wingfield writes that if Apple wins Samsung and other smartphone companies will "have a much stronger incentive to distinguish their smartphone and tablet products with unique features and designs to avoid further legal tangles," creating a diverse range of devices.
However, if Samsung wins the rest of Apple's rivals may have free reign to pump out imitations of the iPhone and iPad, "creating a consensus around Apple-like designs for years to come."
Finally, Seeking Alpha contributing writer Paul Zimbardo argues that regardless of which way the jury votes, Apple and the company's investors will emerge victorious.
"Regardless of the ultimate outcome for the lawsuit, Apple investors should rest more easily at night knowing that the iPad is clearly dominant," he writes. "The Galaxy Tab tablets are one of the primary competitors to the iPad and the disappointing sales are only getting worse... Apple investors should take advantage of the elevated volatility and optimism that the trial is supplying. There are abundant opportunities for both new and existing Apple investors."
As the Apple-Samsung lawsuit nears it end the verdict remains unclear and murky. Both sides have presented an overwhelming amount of evidence with still more to come today, and the jury clearly has its work cut out for it. If we had to guess, we'd say Apple has a better chance of winning, based purely on some strong evidence as well as precedent, but don't be surprised if Samsung emerges victorious. We'll continue to provide daily coverage of the trial as it winds down.