An epic patent infringement case is about to be decided by nine non-experts
FORTUNE — After 50 hours of testimony, hundreds of exhibits, millions in legal and expert witness fees, 84 instructions and four hours of summation, the patent infringement case that Apple AAPL filed against Samsung on April 15, 2011 is now in the hands of seven men and two women with no prior expertise in patent, contract or antitrust law.
When the jury returns to the San Jose, Calif., federal courthouse at 9 a.m. Pacific Time, they will be faced with an excrutiatingly detailed 20-page verdict form that asks them to decide whether, as Apple claims, Samsung illegally “ripped off” the iPhone and iPad. Or, as Samsung claims, Apple is trying to get them to do to its strongest competitor what it couldn’t do in the marketplace.
Precedent-setting principles about the value of design, invention and intellectual property are at stake — not to mention billions of dollars in damages and other penalties.
Cases as complex and important as this are almost always decided by a judge, or settled out of court before they go to a jury.
I can’t wait to see how this one turns out.
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