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July 31, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Observers and lawyers packed a California courtroom today as the blockbuster patent trial got underway involving two of the world's technology titans, Apple and Samsung.

Jury selection began with a pool of 70 people in the courtroom, who faced questions about whether they or their friends or family work for Apple, Samsung, Google, or Motorola.

Google is not directly involved in the case but its Android operating system is used on Samsung devices and will figure prominently in the case. Google recently acquired Motorola Mobility, another maker of mobile devices.

Before proceedings began, a line packed with dozens of people stretched far outside the federal courthouse in San Jose, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

With the courtroom at capacity, some journalists were required to sit in an overflow room to watch pre-trial motions and jury selection by video.

With US District Judge Lucy Koh presiding, members of the jury pool were brought into the courtroom for selection of a 10-member panel, to be followed by opening arguments.

Apple is seeking more than $2.5 billion in a case accusing the South Korean firm of infringing on designs and other patents from the iPhone and iPad maker.

Samsung counters that Apple infringed on its patents for wireless communication, so the jury will sort out the competing claims.

This is one of several cases in courts around the world involving the two big electronics giants in the hottest part of the tech sector, tablet computers and smartphones.

While the results so far have been mixed in courts in Europe and Australia, Samsung is clearly on the defensive in the US case.

Koh, who will preside in the jury case, has issued two temporary injunctions against US sales of Samsung's 10-inch Galaxy tablet and the Galaxy Nexus smartphone developed with Google.

To make matters worse, a magistrate in the case ruled last week that Samsung failed to retain key evidence in the case by allowing emails to be destroyed after learning of the lawsuit.

That will mean Judge Koh can issue an "adverse inference" instruction to the jury.


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