Ina Fried

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Samsung Designer Testifies She Didn’t Copy Any of Apple’s Icons

A Samsung Electronics designer testified on Tuesday that she didn’t copy Apple when creating the icons for the Galaxy line of products.

“Not at all,” senior user experience designer Jeeyuen Wang said, through an interpreter. Wang testified that, for example, Samsung considered many different possible phone icons for the Galaxy, including a picture of a cellphone or smartphone, but settled on an image of a traditional phone because that resonated best with users.

Wang, who began working at Samsung as a college intern, is the first official from Samsung’s Korean operations to testify in person at the trial. Until now, its witnesses have been either outside experts, U.S. subsidiary employees or have testified via video deposition.

Samsung, which began its case after Apple rested on Monday, is trying to prove several things in its part of the trial. First, it is trying to show that Apple’s patents shouldn’t have been granted and are therefore invalid and/or that Samsung’s products don’t infringe on Apple patents.

In addition, the company is trying to make its case that Apple products infringe on the patents over which Samsung has countersued.

Samsung’s lawyers also had Wang testify about the work she did on the Galaxy, aiming to lay the foundation that it is not just Apple that strives for compelling design. Wang testified there were hundreds of designers from different parts of the company working on the original Galaxy S1.

“I slept perhaps two hours or three hours a night,” she said. “That was about it.”

Wang added that she had recently given birth but couldn’t breastfeed regularly because of the demands on her time.

“Those were difficult times,” she said.

Apple has sued Samsung for more than $2.5 billion over that company’s alleged infringement of patents and designs related to the iPhone and iPad. Samsung has denied those charges and has sued Apple for infringing on its patents.

Update, 2:26 p.m.: On cross-examination, Apple’s lawyers questioned Wang abut several internal Samsung documents that compare the icons used by Samsung with those used on the iPhone.

In additional questioning, Samsung’s lawyers had Wang reiterated that she sought to create icons that were specific to Samsung, though noting that she believed all designers were striving to create icons that were simple and not confusing to users.

2:39 p.m.: With Wang excused, Samsung is now playing the videotaped testimony of Roger Fidler, who created several prototype tablets for displaying an interactive newspaper.

Although essentially mock-ups rather than working devices, some of Fidler’s designs have features resembling the iPad. Among the similarities are the lack of physical buttons, a large touch screen, a black bezel and a rectangular shape with rounded corners.

3:26 p.m.: After a break, Samsung calls Itay Sherman, a consultant and former Texas Instuments executive. He is now CEO of DoubleTouch, a multitouch company. Sherman is being called to bolster Samsung’s contention that Apple’s design patents should be invalidated.

Sherman testifies that the design patents should be invalidated both because of the existing “prior art” that predated Apple’s patent as well as because the elements Apple has patented are not merely ornamental, but rather functional in nature.

Among the evidence of prior art, Sherman testified about a Japanese design patent that was issued on June 6, 2005, and bears some resemblance to the iPhone. Both have a rectangular shape and rounded corners and a lozenge-shaped earpiece at the top.

The Japanese patent, Sherman said should invalidate two iPhone-related design patents invalid because it “renders both of these designs obvious.”

3:47 p.m.: Sherman also pointed to another Japanese patent along with a Korean patent and LG’s Prada device and said cumulatively the prior art renders Apple’s design obvious and therefore not patentable.

3:54 p.m.: Talk now turning to Apple’s iPad-related design patent. Sherman is saying he looked at the Fidler tablet design from 1994 and Compaq’s TC1000 tablet (Not to be confused with the evil T-1000 from the Terminator) in evaluating that patent.

Both are overall rectangular in shape with rectangular corners with a relatively narrow profile, Sherman noted, adding that the 2002 Compaq tablet also had similar proportions to the iPad patent.

The combination of the two patents, Sherman said, renders Apple’s patents obvious.

4:01 p.m.: Sherman noted that elements of Apple’s design patents are not merely ornamental and really speak to the function of the device. That, Sherman said, isn’t what a design patent is for. “It is not intended to protect functional elements,” he said.

The iPhone and iPad design patents all make reference to rectangular displays. Sherman said that a rectangular display is actually functional since that is the best way to view movies and Web pages, which are rectangular.

This is part of the argument that Samsung laid out in its opening that essentially what Apple is trying to lay claim to is the right to rounded corners and a rectangular display.

4:08 p.m.: Samsung introducing an email from Apple’s Richard Howarth to
design chief Jony Ive in which he notes that the rounded corner design might be better than the “extrudo” design that Apple had also been considering for the iPhone.

Samsung also got a very brief mention in about Apple’s “Sony Style” design work but, at least according to the court’s earlier rulings, that is as much as they can get in on the subject. The judge had already barred Samsung from introducing the work of former Apple designer Shin Nishibori as evidence Sony influenced the iPhone.

4:12 p.m.: Apple now cross-examining Sherman, noting he is an electrical engineer and not a designer.

Apple’s lawyer also pointing out that the Compaq tablet has multiple physical borders rather than just one border under the transparent glass as in the iPad-related patent. Apple also pointing out that Sherman never saw the original Fidler tablet mock-up. Instead, he has seen a video and a replica of the mock-up.

Regarding Sherman’s contention that the iPad design is functional, Apple argues there are alternative designs that would work. It looks like they are about to hold up Sony’s teardrop-shaped Apple tablet.

Apple’s lawyer is noting that it has a rectangular display and rounded corners but yet doesn’t look like the iPad or Apple’s design patents.

4:27 p.m.: On the phone side, Apple’s lawyer is noting that the LG Prada does not have a completely flat front screen given that it has a raised button.

Apple’s lawyer also pointing to a slide of the Samsung smartphones that were introduced in 2008 and 2009–designs that were far different than the iPhone or later Galaxy devices. Not all of the devices have rectangular shape and they have different amounts of rounding.

4:35 p.m.: Court is going a few extra minutes today because Sherman has a plane to catch. Apple lawyer showing additional smartphone designs that differ from Apple’s design patent. Among the designs are Nokia’s Lumia 800 and the ruggedized GzOne phone from Casio.

Sherman agrees that the Lumia and Casio phone have different designs from Apple, with the Lumia having curved glass and minimal rounding.


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