SAN JOSE – A former senior technologist from Texas Instruments testifying for Samsung said three design patents on the iPhone and iPad are invalid. He cited Japan and Korea patents as well as a Hewlett-Packard tablet and a 1994 mock up from a university researcher.
Apple is suing Samsung for $2.5 billion in part for violating its ‘087, ‘677 and ‘889 patents on the industrial design of the iPhone and iPad. “I concluded all three design patents are invalid based on obviousness in light of prior art and for the elements of these design patents that are functional,” said Itay Sherman, former chief technologist for TI’s mobile group.
Sherman said Japan patents from 2004 and 2005 (JP 1,241,383 and JP 1,241,638) and a Korean patent from 2005 (KR 418,547) as well as the LG Prada handset show similar design features as the Apple ‘877 and ‘677. All four have rectangular shapes with rounded corners and flat fronts with large, rectangular displays and similarly shaped and placed speakers.
In a blast from the past, Samsung submitted a video of 1981 and 1994 mock ups from a digital publishing lab at the University of Nevada Reynolds Schools of Journalism as prior art on the iPad industrial design. The non-working models were created to show media and technology companies such as Apple a vision of the future of the newspaper.
“My feeling was it should be something lightweight, portable, a flat touchscreen to navigate and content would have hyperlinks,” said former lab director Roger Fidler in a video shown to the jury.
Sherman said the mock ups, taken together with the Hewlett-Packard TC-1000 form prior art on Apple’s ‘889 patent on the iPad design. He also testified the elements of the Apple patents were functional and thus not valid as elements for design patents which are limited to ornamental elements.
On cross examination an Apple attorney noted Sherman did not see Fidler’s original mock ups, only replicas, images and videos of them. She also noted neither the Fidler mock ups nor the HP tablet were prior art in themselves, only in combination.
The Apple attorney also took issue with Sherman’s claim the Apple patents covered functional elements, showing examples of different designs—such as a Sony tablet--that has similar functions.
It may not take long to find out how the nine-person jury does sorting through the intricacies of patent law. Judge Lucy H. Koh asked both sides to try to wrap up testimony by the end of the week so that jurors could begin deliberations by the middle of next week.
Fidler's 1994 tablet mock up for a Knight-Ridder lab.
A lot of design patents such as the one Apple is using to sue Samsung are either obvious or have been demonstrated in labs else where, as is shown here.
The real innovation in packaging, the software and the others are stronger contenders and these should be explored.
A common theme lawyers use in patent lawsuits is called interference: they pick apart elements of the claim by using "prior art," such as previously published patents, papers, other articles etc by pulling out similarly sounding names, something that is close and then claim that a combination of all these elements where ever they maybe... invalidates the specific element in the claim, the claim or the patent itself.
However in this case, the Jury is not educated in nuances of patent law and is obvious to any any one the picture of the Knight Ridder tablet is the same as an iPAD.
One has to look at a lot of patents issued such as for folding a napkin, mounting nuts on board etc etc... double clicking or using finger gestures to size and re-size things should not be patentable...at this rate my 3 year old son who use his finders to pretend he is sizing and re-sizing his imaginary space ship is infringing on the patents in some realm.
A lot of patents filed are useless and big companies are guilty of it too.
So it will be interesting to see how this turns out. Do not always believe it when big companies cry foul about patents and patent laws, they do not give anything for free either!. You infringe on any of their patent they come after you with a vengeance... you copy something of theirs they cry mommy and use all their resources to quash you.
Very interesting to see the likeness on the "prior art". If jury is applies common sense, and thier attention is focus on product look only, I find it hard to believe that Apple's claims would go far on the form-factor front.
I think Apple's legal team should be forcing the focus on the GUI software and other techincal merits, IMHO
I wonder how long it will take to reach a verdict? If memory serves (could be not remembering correctly), didn't they have something like the tablet on some of the early StarTrek shows? It seems to me that patenting the obvious should be off limits and stopped at the patent office prior to issuing the patent.
Apologies to the jury, but it is absolutely bizarre that they are not patent experts when the case revolves around infringement and the odds are $2,5 billion. It is not only the patent system that is broken, but the legal system looks about as ethical as the banking sector. It's all about money, but I hope the patent system starts to clear out the trolls, like the Moore portfolio microprocessor patent as a start.