Ina Fried

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Judge Refuses to Toss Most of Apple’s Suit Against Samsung

With Apple having finished its primary case, the court took time on Monday to hear Samsung’s arguments that the Cupertino-based company failed to meet its legal burden and that the case should be dropped.

Judge Lucy Koh heard about an hour’s worth of arguments from the lawyers on both sides before ruling that the documents and testimony presented by Apple were enough to form the basis for a reasonable jury to find infringement. Apple is seeking billions of dollars in damages from Samsung, arguing a number of its phones and tablets infringe on Apple’s intellectual property.

The judge did cut a small piece from the lawsuit, dropping three phones not broadly sold in the U.S., at least as the suit applies to Samsung’s two U.S. subsidiaries. Apple can still pursue its claim on all other phones in the case as well as its claim against Samsung’s Korean parent company with regards to the Galaxy Ace and global variants of the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II smartphones.

The ruling doesn’t apply to the U.S.-specific models of the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II, which represent the bulk of the Samsung sales at issue in the case.

Earlier in the day, an Apple-hired accounting expert testified that Apple is owed between $2.5 billion and $2.75 billion if the jury finds infringement of all of the patents and trade dress claims at issue.

Before that, Apple patent licensing executive Boris Teksler testified that Apple’s offer to license patents to Samsung did not include those covering the iPhone’s unique user interface.

With Koh’s ruling allowing the case to continue, Samsung must now make its case to the jury. The company argues both that it isn’t infringing on Apple’s patents and trade dress and that Apple shouldn’t have been granted the patents in the first place.

First up on the witness stand for Samsung is Ben Bederson, a University of Maryland professor and among the creators of LaunchTile. LaunchTile, created in partnership with Microsoft’s research arm and a start-up called Zumobi, was designed to allow one-handed use of a smartphone through zooming.

The technology was originally designed in the summer of 2004 and intended to work on Pocket PC devices such as the Compaq iPaq.

Samsung is trying to show LaunchTile as an example of prior art for one or more of the Apple patents involved in the case. If Samsung can show that any of Apple’s patent are invalid because its inventions weren’t new, it can’t be held liable for infringing any such patent or patents.

On cross-examination, Bederson is showing the differences between the way that program worked and how Apple’s iPhone and related patents work. First of all, LaunchTile used so-called symantic zoom. That means that as one zooms in the content they see doesn’t simply get bigger, but rather that more information becomes available.

Also, as it relates to a bounce-back feature that was part of LaunchTile, Apple pointed out some ways that it differs from the “rubber band” feature that is part of one of Apple’s utility patents at issue.

Update, 3:56 p.m.: Following Bederson, Samsung called Adam Bogue, a former Mitsubishi researcher who helped with the creation and marketing of DiamondTouch, a multitouch tabletop computer reminiscent of an early Microsoft Surface device (the old Microsoft Surface table computer, not the forthcoming tablet).

Developed in the early 2000s, DiamondTouch had a capacitive touch screen.

The company, Bogue said, gave away a few hundred of the devices to university research teams to come up with applications. Bogue said that DiamondTouch even demonstrated the tabletop to a half dozen people at Apple in 2003.

Bogue showed the jury one app in particular, FractalZoom, which he said shows off the computer’s multi-touch capabilities. Samsung is trying to use this as an example of prior art for using a single finger to move an object and a two-finger gesture to zoom in and out.

One of the Apple patents at issue in this case covers using a single finger gesture for scrolling and a second, two-finger gesture for zooming in and out.

Bogue later showed another app, “tablecloth,” that has a snap-back feature that appears somewhat similar to Apple’s patented technology. Apple’s patent specifically covers using the rubber-band feature for use when people reach the end of an electronic document.

4:22 p.m.: On cross-examination, Bogue testifies that he sold two DiamondTouch systems to Quinn Emannuel, Samsung’s law firm. Apple’s lawyers ask that it be produced and Samsung’s lawyers are wheeling it in.

Apple’s lawyer is making a big deal over the fact that the system uses a projector to put the image onto a white tabletop. Of note, the first Microsoft Surface tabletop computer worked similarly, but the projector was on the inside of the system.

4:33 p.m.: Jury done for the day, but guessing there will be some legal matters between lawyers and the judge now. There usually are.


Apple versus Samsung Full Coverage

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus