SAN JOSE – The Apple v. Samsung case now starting here has already raised two broad questions: What’s the line between aggressive benchmarking and copying of a competitor’s product? And what’s the line between filing patents that are relevant to evolving standards and ones that are intentional submarines?
In opening statements this morning, Apple attorneys showed detailed Samsung reports extending over more than 100 pages. They compared existing Samsung handsets to the iPhone on a feature-by-feature basis making recommendations on each page suggesting Samsung adopt iPhone techniques.
“The evidence will show Samsung has taken our property,” said Harold McElhinny, Apple’s lead attorney.
“Samsung will say we didn’t copy, we benchmarked and everybody in electronics benchmarks--even Apple benchmarks, but benchmarking had a very special meaning at Samsung,” McElhinny said.
“Samsung sold more than 22 million infringing phones and tablets in the U.S. using Apple’s inventions,” he claimed. “Samsung has taken sales away from Apple and will generate more than $2 billion in profit for Samsung that they made using our intellectual property,” he added.
Specifically Apple will seek $2.5 billion in damages, said to be a new watermark in infringement cases. It claims Samsung infringed utility and design patents on the user interface and product look and feel of both the iPhone and the iPad.
Separately, Apple also contends Samsung broke rules in industry standards groups by not declaring patents covering standards work until after the standard was completed. Specifically it claims two Samsung 3G patents were filed before ETSI standards were frozen, then not disclosed until two years later.
For its part, Samsung showed Apple’s detailed internal teardowns of Samsung S1 and Galaxy Tab products. In addition, it showed an email to Apple’s lead designer, Jonathan Ive, suggesting changes to the look of the iPhone before it was released based on the look and feel of a Sony handset.
“Being inspired by competing products and trying to develop better ones is not copying its competition and everybody does it,” said Charles Verhoeven, Samsung's lead attorney.
Samsung showed examples of handsets and tablets released before the first iPhones and iPads but having a roughly similar look and feel.
“If you make something popular it doesn’t mean you can exclude other people from doing it,” Verhoeven said. “Apple didn’t invent the rectangular form factor you see, it didn’t invent the large touch screen,” he added.
He claimed as much as 26 percent of some iPad and iPhone bill of materials are for Samsung components. That includes the Retina display Apple heavily markets and is made exclusively by Samsung. “Who’s the innovator,” he asked.
Samsung’s opening statements conclude this afternoon.
Apple’s head of marketing, Phil Schiller, and its head of mobile operating systems, Scott Forstall, are both expected to testify.
I have no doubt that there is plenty of more evidence to be presented. But it doesn't surprise me that Samsung (or anyone else) would conduct a detailed analysis of the iPhone's features etc. in the course of creating a product to compete with it. Sounds like a standard practice.
C'mon guys... Apple won a patent for a, please hear this: "A system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data"... it is the troll jargon for a web search. How on earth they granted that?
Patents are supposed to protect the development, not kill it.
And then... copy what: the aspect ratio? or the touch screen? or a higher screen definition? or the BOM? So, I would not be able to use an ARM?
This is getting ridiculous...
Its not patent on a rectangle. Its a "DESIGN" patent of a tablet device. Its a valid form of patent which is used to protect ornamental designs, Aesthetic appearances of devices etc. Samsung is just downplaying the value by calling it a rectangle patent, even when they cant even come up with their own design. And again, as all patents, design patents can be invalidated if there is a prior art. If its just rectangle, why cant samsung bring a prior art and invalidate the patent?? A typical eg of a design patent is a coke bottle. You cant go and copy a coke bottle and fill it with xyz cola and say this is just a cylinder to the jury.
@eewiz I think the big fat button on the iPad and iPhone invalidate your argument, so clearly they did not copy the front. Same goes for sides and back. Design covers the whole device (positions, connections, keys), not just the bit you choose to look at. A patent is granted if it has a clear novel element to it, something a lay person could not dream up. I just don't see it in the design of Apple's products. Sure there is a ton of novelty in their manufacturing and how it is all held together, but then Samsung went entirely their own way by making the back cover removable (hint: useful). How can you call that a copy?
Samsung may have designed and manufactured the Retina display to specifications given by Apple. If that's the case, then Apple isn't copying anything by using it. The processor is manufactured by Samsung to Apple's specifications. Again, that's not copying by Apple. Those are normal customer / supplier arrangements.
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