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Apple vs. Samsung: Battle royale of smartphone behemoths

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From the beginning, legal experts and Wall Street analysts have viewed Samsung as the underdog. To begin with, Apple's headquarters is a mere 10 miles from the courthouse and the jurors were picked from the heart of Silicon Valley where the company's late founder Steve Jobs is a revered technological pioneer.

And while the legal and technological issues may be complex, patent expert Alexander I. Poltorak says the case will likely boil down to whether jurors believe Samsung's products at issue look and feel almost identical to Apple's iPhone and iPad.

"Most jurors will probably say they look alike," said Poltorak, who is chief executive of General Patent Corp. The judge appears to agree.

The judge in June called Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer "virtually indistinguishable" from Apple's iPad and banned its sale in the United States until the resolution of the case.

"There was some evidence that Samsung altered its design to make its product look more like Apple's," the judge found two months before the trial started.

To overcome that hurdle, Samsung's battalion of lawyers has been arguing that many of Apple's claims of innovation are either obvious ideas or were actually stolen ideas from Sony Corp. and others. Experts called that line of argument a high-risk strategy because of Apple's reputation as an innovator.

"Saying Apple is a copyist is going be a hard sell," said Ellen Brickman, a New York-based jury and trial consultant. "Apple changed the world when it came to computers. Apple changed the world when it came to phones. The fact that the iPhone and iPad are so popular shows people believe the products must be innovative. When you think of tech, you just don't think of Samsung."

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