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Apple’s Billion Dollar Storytelling

Apple’s victory over Samsung in a recent smartphone patent brawl netted the company over a billion dollars in damages and, more importantly for Apple, might have strategically slowed the rise of the Korean tech juggernaught that today provides phones to 26 percent of all U.S. mobile subcribers according to comScore.

But what clinched Apple the win, one of the largest patent awards ever on record? Storytelling, according to juror interviews by the Wall Street Journal.

For Samsung, the story it had to get across was that Apple’s patents weren’t as crucially innovative as Apple claimed them to be, and Apple had to tell the story of a Samsung copycat. ”The Apple lawyers were better at presenting their case,” juror Manuel Ilagan said to the Journal.

Of particular strength was a visual that showed Samsung phones before and after the iPhone came out.

The Journal quotes presiding juror Velvin Hogan to say that it seemed that Samsung didn’t tell a narrative that rose to their intellectual level of its audience. “It was just thrown out there to cause what they perceived to be an unschooled jury,” said Hogan, an engineer and patent holder.

Hogan reports to have “essentially ignored” paid experts and “saw through some of Samsung’s courtroom gambits.”

The storytelling device stood out the most: A chart.

Juror Ilagan says they were pursuaded by a visual comparison of Samsung devices before and after the iPhone was introduced. “It was obvious there was some copying going on,” he told the Journal.

The Apple/Samsung showdown is a reminder of the trumping power of storytelling — a power you don’t have to bill $582 an hour to wield effectively.

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