The Apple v Samsung battle continues as Samsung begins its defense to Apple’s claims that it infringed its patents. Samsung’s defense rests on proving that its products don’t infringe the patents, and also that the patents themselves are not valid.
It is generally thought that Samsung will struggle to prove that its products do not infringe Apple’s patents – in fact, when Judge Lucy Koh granted Apple’s motion to ban sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the US, she noted that the devices were “virtually indistinguishable”.
Koh said: "Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly by flooding the market with infringing products."
The jury has been made aware that the Tab has been temporarily banned from sale in the US.
Samsung is therefore trying to persuade at least one member of the jury that Apple should never have been granted the patents in question (the jury needs to be unanimous in its decision). Hence, on Monday Samsung began its attempts to prove prior art to invalidate Apple’s rubber-band (‘381) and pinch-to-zoom (‘915) patents that Apple is accusing Samsung of copying.
To drum this home to the jury, Samsung introduced a couple of witnesses who had worked on technology similar to Apple’s before Apple patented the inventions.
University of Maryland professor Ben Bederson demoed his UI zooming technology, LaunchTile, invented as an alternative smartphone input method that allowed for one-handed operation. Designed for mobile devices such as the Palm Pre, LaunchTile allows navigation of 36 on-screen applications with one thumb, the user can zoom in on thumbnail images of mobile apps.
Samsung had hoped that this LaunchTile app would invalidate Apple’s rubber-band patent. However, Apple’s lawyers noted that the LaunchTile’s snap back feature was not present when the edges of the application tiles were reached.
Apple also noted that LaunchTile uses semantic zoom technololgy that shows more information as a user zooms in, rather than making the text or image bigger.
Adam Bogue spoke about Mistubishi Electric Research Laboratories’ DiamondTouch projector-based display table developed in 2001 that supports multi-touch gestures for manipulating displayed images. In an attempt to invalidate Apple’s pinch-to-zoom patent, Samsung showed one of the gestures of the DiamondTouch display table: FractalZoom allowed single finger scrolling and two finger pinch and zoom. Bogue claimed he spoke to Apple about the technology in 2003, but Apple claimed that he didn’t demonstrate FractalZoom. Apple’s lawyers demonstrated how the tablecloth application worked on the DiamondTouch, showing that images on the table snapped back to the original position, while Apple’s images would bounce back to the closest position that fills the screen.
Could Apple have sold phones it didn’t have?
The sales data that we reported on last week was shown to the jury. It revealed that Samsung sold 87 million mobile devices in the US between mid-2010 and March 2012. Apple witness, accountant Terry Musika, told the jury that 22.7 million of those total unit sales, that’s $8.16 billion in revenue, came from products that infringed Apple patents. As a result Apple is asking for $2.75 billion in damages.
In response, Samsung argued that at the time Apple was struggling to meet demand for the iPhone 4 so it would not have been able to deliver any additional sales.
Questionning Musika, Samsung attorney Bill Price said: "Apple couldn't service its own customers with the iPhone 4, but it could service customers it didn't have?"
Other research documents surfaced during the trial on Monday:
One Samsung research document suggests that Apple’s products are strongest in the big cities.
Another Samsung document suggests that Samsung’s chipmaking arm saw the iPhone as a great opportunity to sell more processors to companies looking to take on Apple’s phone.
Also cited as evidence on Monday was an Apple study from 2010 that found that a significant number of Android users stuck with the platform because they wanted to stick with their mobile phone network. Samsung was using the evidence to prove that some people bought its phones for reasons other than confusing them with iPhones.
Wins and losses
Samsung had a bit of a run in with the judge when one of its attorneys asked her if he could provide a written brief regarding a point of law that Samsung didn’t think Apple had proven: “I never get written briefings on Rule 50. Ever," said Koh. Although she later went on to recognise Samsung’s concerns, agreeing that three of its phones - the Galaxy Ace and the international versions of the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II – should be discarded from the trial. The US versions of the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II will remain in the trial, however.
Apple also had some wins. The judge granted an Apple order to exclude two Samsung witnesses. In the motion, which was filed on Thursday, Apple claimed that Samsung had listed "two witnesses the substance of whose testimony Samsung failed to disclose". Last week Samsung communicated that President of Samsung Telecommunications America, Dale Sohn "may testify regarding Samsung's innovative technology and products". The irony is that Samsung fought to stop Apple being able to take Sohn's deposition, claiming that he had no "personal knowledge that is relevant to this case".
Also excluded from the trial, on Apple’s request is the Samsung F700 designer who claimed her design inspiration came from a bowl of water rather than Apple. Apple argued that the F700 phone isn’t in the list of offending phones and designer Hyong Shin Park didn’t design any of the phones that Apple claims copied the design of the iPhone.
Apple expressed its concerns that too much information is being made public in its trial with Samsung. Apple submitted a request to Judge Koh that its confidential financial data and market research reports should not be made public, because it fears that its “competitions could predict Apple's future product releases and marketing campaigns using certain of the confidential survey information that the Court has ordered unsealed", writes Foss Patents.
Reuters has filed a number of pleadings to defend transparency in this litigation.
Following on from his testimony on Friday, Apple’s patent licensing director Boris Teksler revealed that Apple had licensed design patents to Microsoft with an anti-cloning agreement”, designed to stop Microsoft copying Apple’s devices. "There was no right with respect to these design patents to build clones of any type," Teksler said.
Apple offered to license patents to Samsung in 2010.
Reports have also emerged that suggest that Google is supporting Samsung behind the scenes with advice and searches for prior evidence.