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Samsung Hammers Apple's Damage Claims

Samsung attorneys question Apple's calculations; cite evidence of prior touchscreen devices that may have influenced iPhone, iPad designs.

There are plenty of models left on the jury cart, the little four-wheeled carts that look like they were purloined from a university library. There are 175 phone exhibits in use in the trial. Apple has issued four iPhone models since its launch. It's not clear how many iPhone exhibits there are, but most of the remaining 172 phones are Samsung's.

Samsung then brought into court two witnesses to testify to the existence of prior art to Apple's touchscreen graphical user interface. It was a moment of revelation for those who like to see how major developments in the industry evolve, and it may have made an impression on the jury.

Ben Bederson, professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, showed off his Zoomable user interface, which had a somewhat iPhone-like capability of "zooming out for context, zoom in for detail."

Bederson started working on his zooming interface in 1993, and wrote an academic paper on it in 1994. He incorporated it into the LaunchTile user interface in 2004 that was put on a Microsoft Pocket PC and an HP iPaq handheld device. His research was sponsored by Microsoft, which had exclusive rights to the source code for an undisclosed period in 2004.

The interface gave a mobile device screen a six-by-six grid of tiles (icons) with three viewing options: a "Worldview" overview of all tiles; an intermediate or Zone view, where more information was visible on a section of four tiles; and a third view, Application, where the user went into a selected application. In May 2005 Bederson was clear of Microsoft's restrictions on disclosing the interface and discussed it in a talk at the Conference on Human Factors In Computing Systems (CHI Conference) in Portland, Ore. Afterward, he and one of his graduate students handed out Pocket PCs with TileLaunch on them.

"People loved this stuff. At the time, we were all running around, working on a Pocket PC with a stylus. This allowed you to navigate with one hand," he told the jury.

The interface even had a quasi bounce-back feature, where if a user dragged his finger one-sixth of the distance across the screen without reaching an activation icon, the screen snapped back to where he started. The idea behind the feature was that user finger movements would be imprecise, and if they missed a target, it would be best to get the user back to where he started on the screen than hung up somewhere in between tiles. It didn't have an edge indicator, however. Instead it used a blue bar across the screen with a marker where the user was in relation to the edge of a document.

The second witness, Adam Bogue, president of Circle Twelve, showed his firm's early DiamondTouch collaborative light table, around which four workers could work together using a touch sensitive, graphical user interface. The table had a top that reacted to touch, using the same principle as the Galaxy's or iPhone's capacitive resistance screen. It was developed by engineers at the Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab (MERL) in Cambridge, Mass., in 2001.

Bogue was in charge of business development for the device. He kept one on display in Mitsubishi's lobby and "made 100 and gave them away to universities." In 2003 he took the device on the road to show it wherever he could get an audience. One of his stops was at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where he recalled the names of two Apple engineers who were part of a group that watched a demonstration of the touch interface, which included two-finger gestures for zooming in on an image detail or zooming out again. It also had a single finger, scrolling gesture.

Samsung attorney Ed Defranko asked Bogue whether he required Apple to sign a confidentiality agreement. He said he hadn't, but that Apple had required him to sign an agreement that anything he showed them was not confidential.

A later version of the table had a Fractal Zoom feature that allowed a viewer to zoom in on details or zoom out for a wider view.

Samsung attorney Ed Defranko used a demonstration of the interface to claim the existence of prior art to Apple's iPhone touchscreen.

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User Rank: Apprentice
8/14/2012 | 5:21:21 PM
re: Samsung Hammers Apple's Damage Claims
Seems to me that this has all been a colossal waist of taxpayer money. Purely an entertainment excercise. I only hope the jury sees the same thing and throws this thing out on its ear.
User Rank: Apprentice
8/14/2012 | 5:56:34 PM
re: Samsung Hammers Apple's Damage Claims
What's next? Chrysler suing Ford, G.M., Honda et al because they all "copied" mini-vans? Ooh, ooh, isn't the steering wheel a "user interface"? TV remotes? Locks that use keys? Do the descendents of Sholes and Glidden (first commercial typewriter for you history buffs) sue Apple because they use a qwerty keyboard (talk about a copied user interface)? Apple is coming across worse than sleazy patent trolls on this one.
User Rank: Apprentice
8/14/2012 | 7:36:56 PM
re: Samsung Hammers Apple's Damage Claims
Good Job Samsung. Hit them where it hurts. They stole that touchscreen idea, just like they stole their Mac OS UI. It's funny how this iTHIEF Cupertino company steals from others, but they BITCH like little girls when it comes to theirs. I disliked Apple for whining so much, now I HATE THEM!
User Rank: Apprentice
8/14/2012 | 8:32:05 PM
re: Samsung Hammers Apple's Damage Claims
This is the most unbiased article I've read about the case - good job. Everything else I've read has been very biased and in favour of Apple.

If you really want a laugh, type in "Apple sues" into a Google search.- they sued just about everyone except God, whom I imagine the Apple cult will sue next so they install Steve Jobs as iGod, and the ultimate ruler of the universe.

There's about 27,800M citations for "Apple sues"!!

I imagine they they have a case in the works to sue over the word "apple" claiming that it their intellectual property and people confuse Granny Smith apples for iPhones thus causing a loss in sales. Even using a image of an Apple is an infringement of Apple's trade mark and suable.

I wonder if Apple will sue claiming the word "Sue" s their intellectual property, they seem to have the corner on that market.
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