Samsung allegedly made a deliberate decision to copy the iPhone because the South Korean company could not compete in the smartphone market on its own, Apple told a US District Court on Tuesday.
Opening statements from both parties triggered the beginning of the high profile US trial between Apple and Samsung. Both sides relied on slides featuring various phone models, internal emails and news reports to make their points.
Apple attorney Harold McElhinny showed slides featuring old Samsung phones from 2006, and compared it to the Korean company's newer smartphones from 2010.
The key question, McElhinny said, would be how Samsung moved from the old phones to "these phones".
He relied on an internal Samsung product analysis to indicate Apple's key rival had made a conscious decision to copy the iPhone design.
The documents showed Samsung had said the iPhone's hardware was "easy to copy" while another document prepared by a Samsung executive said the company was in a "crisis of design" due to the iPhone.
Even though Apple is a successful company, McElhinny said, it must defend its rights when someone steals their property.
"Artists don't laugh that often when people steal their designs," he said.
However, Samsung contended Apple could not claim a "monopoly" over the rectangular design with rounded corners, as it was invented before the iPhone.
"Samsung is not some copyist, some Johnny come lately doing knockoffs," Samsung attorney Charles Verhoeven told the jurors.
"There's a distinction between commercial success and inventing something."
Samsung showed slides featuring various mobile device designs prior to the iPhone that had rectangular form factors with rounded corners.
The world's largest consumer electronics corporations have been waging legal war around the world, accusing each other of patent violations as they vie for supremacy in a fast-growing market for mobile devices.
A similar trial between the companies in Australia is set to recommence next week.
The legal action began last year when Apple sued Samsung in a San Jose, California, federal court, accusing the South Korean company of slavishly copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung countersued.
The Samsung products at issue run on the Android operating system, developed by Google.
Before opening statements began on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh dismissed one of the jurors, a woman who works as an insurance agent. The woman said her employer would not pay her salary during jury service.
The nine member jury is now made up of seven men and two women.