SAN JOSE – Half of consumers who viewed two Samsung handsets thought they looked like iPhones, according to a survey conducted for Apple. In a separate study six to 19 percent of consumers viewing videos of someone using a Samsung tablet thought it was an Apple iPad.
The surveys were presented in testimony for Apple in its $2.5 billion patent infringement suit here against Samsung.
In one survey, 52 and 51 percent of consumers shown a Samsung Fascinate or S II Epic 4G, respectively, thought it looked like an iPhone. The figures went down to 38 and 37 percent respectively when researchers subtracted the number of consumers who had similar associations with a Blackberry Storm handset used as a control.
“Those percents suggest it likely consumers would associate the Samsung handsets with Apple and that’s evidence suggesting [market] dilution,” said Kent Van Liere, a survey research expert testifying for Apple.
Separately, as many as 30 percent of consumers shown a video of someone using a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 thought it was an Apple iPad. But those numbers declined to about 12 percent on average when the percent of consumers confused by a Barnes & Noble Color Nook were subtracted as a control check.
“The results suggest there’s a substantial portion of consumers likely to be confused when they see a Samsung Galaxy Tab in a post-sales environment that they are actually viewing an iPad,” said Van Liere.
Samsung attorney William Price took issue with the surveys for several reasons. For example, the tablet survey failed to show the backs of the Samsung tablets which clearly bear the company’s name and not the Apple logo used on iPad.
“It was my understanding the back of the device was not at issue, it was the front and side views that were part of the alleged infringement--that’s why we did not show the back,” said Van Liere. “I didn’t know the Samsung name was on the back of all their devices,” he said.
The tablet survey was the first post-sales survey Van Lier has done, It was not done to show any possible confusion at the point of purchase, a type of survey has done as many as 50 times, Van Lier said.
Price noted in the smartphone survey, consumers were asked what other phones they associate with the Samsung handsets. He suggested it would be natural for consumers to think of Apple.
“You understand Samsung and Apple are the two largest competitors in this market,” Price said. “They are the two biggies just like Burger King and McDonalds or Coke and Pepsi,” he said
Price also took issue with the selection of the Blackberry Storm and Color Nook as control devices because they clearly do not look like Apple’s products. They also have some distinguishing features that identify them.