Imagine the longest, most complex government form you've ever had to fill out and you start to have an idea what jurors will face as they begin to consider their verdict in the patent infringement case between Apple and Samsung.
The verdict form, a tentative version of which was filed to the San Jose District Court on Monday, runs to 22 pages and has 36 main questions. But the devil is in the details: Because there are so many patents, products and company subsidiaries involved, there are more than 700 individual questions to consider.
The first few ask whether Apple has proven that Samsung infringed on the several Apple patents at the center of the case. Simple enough, right? Wrong.
Jurors will have to decide not only if Samsung Electronics infringed on the patents, but also whether its subsidiaries, Samsung Electronics America and Samsung Telecommunications, did so as well. And they will have to do so for up to 24 individual handsets.
That means that question one alone -- "For each of the following products, has Apple proven by a preponderance of the evidence that Samsung Electronics Co. (SEC), Samsung Electronics America (SEA), and/or Samsung Telecommunications America (STA) has infringed Claim 19 of the '381 Patent?" -- has 57 individual boxes that need to be filled in.
The form indicates the complexity of the arguments that have been made in the case over the past few weeks. Closing arguments are set for Tuesday, after which the jury will begin its deliberations. There's no indication how long that may take.
Also on the form are several questions relating to monetary damages, and they too are not necessarily straightforward.
Question 24 is simple enough -- "What is the total dollar amount that Apple is entitled to receive from Samsung on the claims on which you have ruled in favor of Apple?" -- but question 25 asks the jury to list a breakdown of any damages awarded by each of 28 models of cellphone.
The case is 11-01846, Apple v Samsung, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is [email protected]