Apple and Samsung: You can't make this stuff up

Wacky claims aside, Cringely says patent trial affects more than iPads, iPhones -- the whole notion of tech innovation is at stake

The Apple v Samsung patent battle is the gift that keeps on giving. It's right up there with the landing of Curiosity on Mars and Usain Bolt's amazing Olympics performances on my short list of things to watch this summer.

My favorite trial moment so far: Apple veep Phil Schiller's admission that when the iPhone came out, Apple didn't need to spend any money on marketing because the press and blogosphere were doing such a fine job of promoting it all by themselves.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Cringe says the Apple-Samsung battle shows that the truth shall set us free. | For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. | Get the latest insight on the tech news that matters from InfoWorld's Tech Watch blog. ]

The media is obsessed with all things Apple? I am shocked -- shocked -- to discover this. (In related news: More than 100,000 Apple fanboys are trying to dumping their old iPhones on eBay because they caught the whiff of a rumor that the iPhone 5 is being announced on September 12.)

My second favorite part: Samsung was prevented from introducing evidence showing how Sony's designs influenced Apple, so instead it released them to the court of public opinion.

Then Apple filed a motion saying because Samsung released this information, the judge should send the jury home and declare Apple the winner of the case and, like, the totally coolest company of all time. Fortunately the judge didn't go for that, though she did verbally spank Samsung legal beagle John Quinn.

Thanks to this trial, we've snuck a peek at dozens of early iPhone and iPad prototypes, including curved and hexagonal-shaped models. (Sadly, none were shaped like a Hello Kitty doll.) And we learned that Apple considered building its own car. What stopped the company? My guess is it couldn't figure out a way to force people to park the thing in iTunes-compatible driveways.

Meanwhile comes news from down under that the court in a different Apple v. Samsung case has decided to hear expert testimony via the "hot tub" method. Sadly, that doesn't mean the experts will take the stand while slowly parboiling in 104-degree water; it means that all experts appear in court at the same time, so if Apple's expert makes some grandiose yet unlikely declaration, the attorneys can call on Samsung's expert to counter it, and vice versa. (The more boring name for this is "concurrent evidence.")

Still, that gives me a great idea for a new invention or possibly just a Hollywood sequel, "Hot Tub Truth Machine." The tagline: "You can sit, but you cannot lie." Quick, get me John Cusack on line one.

The worst thing that could happen in these cases would be for one side to win, especially if a jury decided that Apple invented every cool device on the planet and now gets to own Samsung.

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