Never has the question “Do you use an iPhone?” been so important.
In a Silicon Valley court today, Apple and Samsung are facing off in one of the most significant trials of the extensive iOS-Android legal battles. Apple is seeking damages in the billions for, primarily, what it says is patent infringement on its style and design. In return, Samsung is suing Apple over patents that it says infringe on Samsung inventions that are essential to the operation of a mobile phone.
Meanwhile, the two combatants can’t even agree on where to sit.
Since some experts believe that 85 percent of cases are won or lost in jury selection, the process is notoriously challenging. Lawyers from both sides will be seeking any evidence of bias in an attempt to stack the jury with as many favorable members for their clients as possible, while blocking any who might side with their opponents.
One problem for Samsung is location. The Korean company is fighting Apple on its home turf, in Silicon Valley. Apple is an iconic company in the U.S., but especially in the tech-centric San Francisco area. How this will affect potential jurors is an open question.
And lawyers for both sides will have to wrestle with questions such as whether iPhone use makes a jury member more likely to believe Apple, like Apple, or favor Apple. Or, conversely, if Android use might predispose jury members to side with Samsung.
Since smartphones are so personal, it’s a difficult question. Battle lines could already be drawn in jurors’ minds, because for many, they have already made a decision for one platform and against another.
A possible solution?
Only feature phone users need apply. Which would mean, of course, that people who know the least about modern smartphones would decide one of the most key cases between the two companies that make almost half of all smartphones sold globally.
It’ll be a difficult case, lasting at least four weeks.
But perhaps not as difficult as finding 10 jury members in San Francisco who don’t use smartphones.