Samsung attempts to turn tables in patent war

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Samsung attempts to turn tables in patent war

Samsung Electronics moved from attacking the validity of Apple’s intellectual property in a trial over smartphones and tablet computers to claiming the iPhone maker infringes Samsung patents.

Samsung yesterday made the tactical shift on the second day of presenting its case, in the third week of a jury trial in San Jose, California, by calling Woodward Yang, a Harvard University professor of electrical engineering, who testified that versions of Apple’s iPhone, iPod and iPad infringe three of the Korean company’s patents.

Yang focused on one patent that allows a user to scroll through photographs and send an e-mail with photographs contained in the messages. He pointed to Apple’s iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, fourth-generation iPod Touch and the iPad2 as infringing products. Apple products also infringe a Samsung photo-indexing patent and another for methods used in mobile devices to play MP3 music files, the engineering professor said.

Apple sued Samsung in April 2011, accusing it of copying patented and trademarked designs, and Samsung countersued. The dispute is the first to go before a federal jury in a battle being waged on four continents for dominance in a smartphone market valued by Bloomberg Industries at $219.1 billion.

During cross-examination, Apple’s lawyer, William Lee, displayed a chart showing that technology covered by the photo scrolling patent that Yang described wasn’t used in 65 different Samsung smartphones manufactured in the last three years.

“Samsung did not even claim to use this very important patent that you heard about this morning in any of these products, is that right?” Lee asked.

Yang confirmed that was correct.

Earlier, Samsung called two computer scientists to attack Apple’s claimed originality of its software patents at issue in the multibillion-dollar trial.

The testimony was aimed at countering a series of witnesses Apple called over the last two weeks who testified that Samsung has copied the design and technology of its iPhone and iPad.

Samsung returned to playing defense this afternoon by calling a company designer to testify about her role in creating application icons and planning their layout on a grid for the first Galaxy smartphones. Designer Jeeyuen Wang, who spoke through an interpreter translating Korean, was asked about Apple’s assertions that Samsung copied application icons from the iPhone.

“Not at all,” she said. She described a three-month work period working with a design team during which she averaged three hours of sleep a night.

An ex-designer for Apple, Susan Kare, had testified that an icon on Samsung’s Fascinate phone resembled Apple’s - an image of a “retro” telephone against a green background. Wang countered that Samsung has used an older telephone icon referred to at the company as the “dumbbell” phone since before she joined the company in 2002.

Apple is claiming at least $2.5 billion in damages for patent and trademark infringement. Apple also wants to make permanent a preliminary ban it won on U.S. sales of a Samsung tablet, and extend the ban to Samsung smartphones.

Samsung is trying to persuade the jury to find Apple’s patents invalid and to award unspecified damages for Apple’s infringement of its patents.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has limited each side to 25 hours to present their cases.

Koh on Tuesday granted a request by Samsung to exclude infringement claims related to three of its phones - the Galaxy S i9000, the Galaxy Ace and the Galaxy S II i9100 - on the grounds that they were not manufactured to be exclusively sold in the U.S. Bloomberg
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