As copycat war rages on, Samsung calls scientists
Apple’s multibillion-dollar patent infringement case against Samsung Electronics in San Jose, California, has entered its third week, and it is now Samsung’s turn to call witnesses to the stand to help refute Apple’s claim.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has limited each side to 25 hours to present their cases, and Apple has already concluded presenting testimony. Apple sued Samsung in April 2011, accusing it of copying patented designs.
Two scientists were called as witnesses on Monday to challenge Apple claim that its software patents are wholly original by demonstrating technologies that both resemble and predate Apple’s so-called “rubberbanding” feature, which it released in 2007. This refers to the way an iPad or iPhone screen seems to bounce when a user scrolls to the end of a file.
Benjamin Bederson, a University of Maryland professor, explained the Launch Tile that he invented prior to 2007 as a system of 36 tiles, or application icons, on an interface that allows users to zoom in and out, as well as interact with the images.
As a second witness, Adam Bogue, president of Circle Twelve, testified about his 2001 Diamond Touch, a table of projected images that can be manipulated manually.
The testimonies came after Apple’s final witness, a certified public accountant, testified that Samsung would be liable for at least $2.5 billion in damages for infringement if found guilty. He said his estimate is based on Samsung’s sales of 22.7 million smartphones and tablet computers that are believe to have violated patent laws, and revenue of $8.16 billion, starting from when Samsung’s first Galaxy devices were introduced in June 2010.
Samsung also revealed an e-mail from one of the executives on its design team, Lee Sung-sik. Sent on March 2, 2010, to the company’s User Experience executives, Lee wrote in the e-mail that the designers should take “lessons” from Apple’s iPhone, but not make something identical to it.
Judge Koh barred Samsung from calling Park Hyong-shin, its key witness. Park designed an early touchscreen feature phone that goes by the model name F700, which Samsung claims looks similar to the iPhone but was released one year earlier in 2006.
The judge notes that “Ms. Park did not design any of the accused devices” and expressed concern that using the F700 may confuse the jury, according to Florian Mueller, a trusted patent blogger.
Samsung scored a minor victory in the afternoon, however, when Judge Koh excluded three of its allegedly infringing phones from the case against the two U.S.-based parts of its business. She removed the Galaxy Ace, Galaxy S i9000 and Galaxy S II i9100 on the grounds that they weren’t built to be exclusively sold in the U.S.
Apple claims the three devices infringed its patents.
By Seo Ji-eun, Bloomberg [email@example.com]
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