By the end of the first day of trial, the courtroom saw the selection of the 10 jurors who would come to a decision regarding the legal battle between the two tech majors, Apple and Samsung. Judge Lucy Koh oversaw the jury selection process, which was even more sensitive owing to the strategic location of the trial. Many people among the pool of 70 potential jurors had some connection to Apple, having worked there or having known friends or family who had or still do work with the firm.
As Koh continued to press for more information regarding neutrality among the 18 prospective jurors, it was revealed that two-thirds of the group had used some kind of Apple product, and that the majority of the group was using iPhones rather than Samsung’s or any other company’s smartphones. Further feedback was taken from the prospects to establish that they were knowledgeable about smartphone technology, but unbiased towards either of the companies.
Among the prospects narrowed down, there was even an Apple employee who was excused when the judge questioned his ability to be an impartial participant in the jury. Yet another prospect was excused when he indicated that he was extremely loyal to Apple, as his brother had been employed there shortly after it was founded, and had his son currently working for the firm as well. However, a woman who claimed to have a friend working at Apple indicated that she could remain impartial through the proceedings, was kept as a prospect.
On the other side, Koh shot down Apple’s request to reject a prospect, who had once designed user interfaces at Google and even applied to patent his work. The potential juror did insist on remaining impartial, but was eventually not selected in the final 10.
Several jurors were excused on grounds of potential economic hardship that they could experience throughout the duration of trial. One of the jurors expressed that his employer would not be paying him during his absence from work and was subsequently excused. Even a school teacher expressed her inability to attend trial after August 22, as she would then end up missing school. As the trial is not expected to start before August 21, she was also excused.
As the day drew to a close, the final 10 members who would be on the jury were finalized and announced. The jury includes a graduate from San Jose State who worked with disk drive companies, then founded his own video compression firm that then went bankrupt, and is currently unemployed after his firm went bankrupt in 2007.
As the trial begins on deciding which of the two firms infringed on the other’s design patents, it promises to be one of the most important trials especially in the technology industry in recent times. At stake for Samsung is a potential loss of at least $2.5 billion in financial damages and the possibility of pulling some of its bestselling smartphone and tablet products off the shelves.