SAN JOSE – Mountains of design and legal details bubbled into frustration as Samsung attorneys tried to discredit an expert witness for Apple and the judge wrestled with attorneys.
Apple attorneys asked design consultant Peter W. Bressler to read excerpts of a Samsung report before he concluded his testimony. The August 2011 report tried “to determine why a larger number than usual of [Samsung] Galaxy Tab 10.1 [systems] were returned” to Best Buy stores in North America, said Bressler.
The “greatest number of customer return types were those who purchased [the Galaxy Tab] thinking it was an Apple iPad 2,” Bressler read from the Samsung report.
Bressler also showed examples of non-infringing commercial tablets and smartphones. “None of the elements in the [Apple] design patents were dictated by function, every function can be designed with a different appearance,” he said.
In addition to infringing three design patents, Apple alleges the products violate elements of the so-called trade dress of its iPhone and iPad.
Under cross-examination, Samsung lead attorney Charles Verhoeven pointed out several small but noticeable differences between Apple products and the allegedly infringing Samsung ones.
For example, none of the Samsung phones use the distinctive single button at the bottom of the iPhone. Some Samsung handsets use larger or smaller speakers at the top of the phone that are not centered like the speaker in the iPhone.
Some Samsung products do not use metal rims, called bezels, around the face as does the iPhone. On some Samsung handsets the bezels protrude rather than remain flush with the display glass as on the iPhone. And some use corners that—unlike the iPhone--are not uniform in their roundedness.
Bressler bristled several time under Verhoeven’s repeated questions about the differences between the products.
“People’s perception is not so precise,” Bressler said. “The ordinary observer gets an overall impression, they do not look at the details,” he said.
“This is a distorted view of how one should read a [design] patent,” he said when asked to examine a single view of a set of phones.
“You’re asking me to compare peanut butter to turkey,” he said on another occasion. “I’m getting frustrated by the level of detail you are asking me to compare,” he added.
Bressler admitted he has no first-hand knowledge of any users who bought a Samsung product thinking it was from Apple. He said he earns $400/hour from Apple and has testified twice in the current case, earning $75,000 to date.
Apple iPhone (left) and allegedly infringing Samsung handsets.