Apple Wrapping Up Patent Infringement Case Against Samsung

The patent infringement trial of Apple vs. Samsung is reaching the halfway point as plaintiff Apple is wrapping up its case that Samsung copied its designs for the iPhone and iPad. Samsung says it studied Apple and other devices but didn't copy them.

Apple attorneys told a federal judge that they expect to wrap up their presentation on Aug. 13 in the $2.5 billion patent lawsuit against Samsung for copying Apple's designs for iPhone and iPad devices in Samsung's smartphone and tablet products.

Testimony in the case on Aug. 10 focused on features in an iPhone that Apples claims were copied in a Samsung product. Computer scientist Raven Balakrishnan of the University of Toronto testified on behalf of Apple about the "rubber band" effect in the iPhone user interface. This is an effect that the user observes when scrolling down the home screen with its full display of application icons. When the user reaches the bottom of the screen, the image seems to bounce back a bit.

Under questioning by Apple attorney Michael Jacobs, Balakrishnan said he examined several Samsung phones and their underlying computer code and concluded that 21 Samsung models infringed on the Apple patent regarding the rubber band effect.

But under cross-examination by Samsung counsel Kevin Johnson, Balakrishnan acknowledged that Samsung could have created the rubber band effect without infringing on Apple's patents.

Another University of Toronto computer science professor, Karan Singh, testified about a Samsung feature that enables users to zoom in and out of an image by touching the screen and pinching or expanding their fingers. Singh said 24 Samsung devices offer that feature, in violation of Apple patents.

Late in the day on Aug. 10, Boris Teksler, the director of patent licensing strategy at Apple, testified that "we were shocked" when Samsung introduced a smartphone that looked so much like the iPhone. He said then-CEO Steve Jobs and then-chief operating officer Tim Cook complained directly to Samsung. Cook later succeeded Jobs as CEO two months before Jobs died in October of 2011.

The testimony about the rubber band effect and finger gestures is consistent with other evidence Apple has presented during the trial held in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose. Apple has presented evidence to support its claim that Samsung didn't just study features of the iPhone and iPad, but directly copied those features in developing its competing products.

Notably, Philip Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, and the highest ranking Apple executive to appear so far, testified earlier that Samsung "has ripped off a number of our design elements," which he added has hurt sales of iPhones and iPads and confused consumers in the smartphone market.

Apple also introduced an internal Samsung document from 2011 chronicling more than 100 side-by-side comparisons of an iPhone and a Samsung phone in development that noted the shortcomings of the Samsung smartphones versus the iPhone.

In its defense, Samsung witnesses have testified that they looked at iPhone and other brands of smartphones in developing their products, which is common practice, but said that does not mean that it copied patented features.

In fact, Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president in charge of the iOS software for iPads and iPhones, testified that Apple also did "teardowns" of competitors' products, but said that was to benchmark rival designs, not to copy them.

Material for this report was obtained from a live blog of trial events posted on the Web site of the San Jose Mercury News.