SAN JOSE -- In a region brimming with software engineers and tech entrepreneurs, the Silicon Valley jury picked Monday to decide the fate of the latest Apple v. Samsung patent showdown has a decidedly non-tech look and feel.
The 10-member federal court jury includes a Los Gatos police officer, a retired schoolteacher, a plumber, a tech company secretary, a clerk at a Big Lots, a Monterey County government worker and an executive for a solar panel company. The jury is bereft of software engineers and other tech wizards who tend to deal with the intricate patents and technology at the heart of the trial.
Most jury members indicated they had only passing familiarity with the 4-year-old patent battle and admitted their homes were filled primarily with Apple products such as iPhones, iPads, Macs and iPods. Samsung had few fans in the jury pool, prompting a Samsung lawyer to worry in questions to them that "Samsung is starting out a little behind."
Lawyers for the two feuding companies will present opening statements to the jury Tuesday morning, with Apple's first witnesses expected to take the stand by the end of the day. Philip Schiller, a top Apple marketing executive, is expected to be Apple's first witness.
Apple and Samsung are squaring off in a second trial over claims the South Korean tech giant has continued to copy signature features in the iPhone and iPad in more recent lines of smartphones and tablets, such as the Galaxy S3 phone. Five Apple patents are in play during the trial, including the Siri voice and slide-to-lock features.
Another federal jury in August 2012 found that Samsung violated Apple's patent rights in older product lines, and Samsung was ordered to pay close to $1 billion in damages. Samsung has appealed that verdict, and Apple has also appealed U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh's refusal to block U.S. sales of the smartphones and tablets at issue in the first trial.
Apple is expected to press for billions of dollars in damages, portraying Samsung as willing to copy iPhone and iPad technology to grab market share. Samsung is expected to argue again that Apple is trying to stifle competition by pressing the legal assault on its chief rival.
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz.