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In retrial, Apple and Samsung make final pitches to jury

People walk past a mobile phone store selling Apple and Samsung products in Wuhan, Hubei province April 18, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
People walk past a mobile phone store selling Apple and Samsung products in Wuhan, Hubei province April 18, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

By Dan Levine

SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - Apple Inc tried to persuade U.S. jurors to keep intact a historic verdict it won against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd last year, while the Korean company argued that Apple has overstated its injuries from patent violations.

At closing arguments on Tuesday in a San Jose, California federal court, Apple attorney Harold McElhinny told jurors that their verdict would be important for protecting American companies and maintaining Silicon Valley's innovation economy.

However, Samsung attorney William Price said Apple grossly overstated how integral the five patents at trial actually are to the iPhone's value.

Apple is engaged in global patent litigation against rivals like Samsung, a courtroom battle launched by Apple's iconic cofounder Steve Jobs before his death. The courtroom fight mirrors competition between leaders in the smartphone and tablet markets.

Last year, Apple was awarded over $1 billion after it convinced a jury that Samsung copied various iPhone features - like using your fingers to pinch and zoom on the screen - along with design touches like the phone's flat, black glass screen.

That verdict was a high point in Apple's legal war on Google's Android operating system, which Samsung uses on its phones.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh subsequently rejected Apple's bid for a permanent sales ban against several Samsung products, but in a win for Apple, a U.S. appeals court this week ordered Koh to reconsider that ruling.

When it came to damages, Koh upheld about $600 million of last year's verdict but ordered a retrial on the rest, ruling that the previous jury had made some errors in its calculations.

During the retrial, which has been unfolding over the past week, Apple asked the jury to award $379.8 million, while Samsung argued that it should have to pay $52.7 million.

In court on Tuesday, Apple attorneys William Lee and McElhinny urged the six-woman, two-man jury to focus on internal Samsung documents, especially since no senior Samsung executives appeared on the witness stand.

"Witnesses forget, or in the case of Samsung here, witnesses don't appear," Lee said.

McElhinny added that Samsung was trying to pay a tiny fraction of the $3.5 billion in U.S. revenue it made from infringing products. "That's unbelievable," he said.

Samsung's Price said Samsung is willing to pay what the law demands. But Samsung should not be forced to overcompensate Apple for design touches that any competitor should be allowed to incorporate, he said.

"Apple doesn't own beautiful and sexy," Price said, adding: "What they're saying is, in the market, justice is just us."

The jury is scheduled to begin deliberating later on Tuesday.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc vs. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, 11-1846.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Alden Bentley and Tim Dobbyn)

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