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Apple Samsung patent attempt brings designer to the hot seat



  Susan Kare, creator of the icons on the original Macintosh, testified for Apple in an attempt to investigate Samsung's patent infringement claims.

Susan Kare, creator of the icons on the original Macintosh, testifies to Apple's patent infringement damage at Apple's trial


Vicki Behringer

The verbal sparring began in earnest Wednesday between Samsung lawyers and Apple witnesses, as the two tech titans central to their dispute over how much Samsung has to pay Apple for patent infringement.

Two Apple experts ̵

1; industrial designer Alan Ball and graphic designer Susan Kare, who designed the icons for the original Macintosh computers in the early 1980s – agreed with Apple's view. But Samsung's attorneys managed to get some limited acknowledgments from the two, which the lawyers no doubt hope will help guide the judges in their own way.

A previous seven-year trial has already established that Samsung violated three Apple design patents that cover ornamental elements of a product, and two functional patents that govern how a product works. The key issue remaining is whether Samsung's compensation payments are based on winning all-phones, Apple claims, or just a few components, Samsung believes.

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The issue is whether design patents that regulate ornamental aspects of products are powerful tools to keep competitors in check or to keep their power relatively low. Apple – where good design job is 1, company executives said on Tuesday – urges power. It claims more than $ 1 billion worth of damages from Samsung for violating the three designs.

The key issue is an old and abstruse legal term, the "article of manufacture", which incorporates the patented design. A 2016 Supreme Court ruling has opened the door to damage components, not the entire phone, but ultimately the jury's decision will be in the US District Court in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley. In the CNET FAQ you will find the complete background to this case.

A law professor who is not involved in the case sees things from Samsung.

"Apple's theory would lead to a distinction that is completely out of all proportion to the damage actually suffered, and while Samsung can afford to fight this type of claim, not every accused violator can," said Sarah Burstein University of Oklahoma is studying the article of manufacturing issue, said in an interview.

"I agree with Samsung here," she said. "After looking at the historical meaning of the term 'article of manufacture', it is clear that Congress did not intend anyone to patent a design for a screen and get the profits out of the whole phone."

Designer at the booth

Ball reviewed the article on the manufacture of two Apple design patents, US Patent No. D618,677 (D # 677), which has a black, rectangular, round-edged front U.S. Patent No. D593,087 (D & # 39; 087) which describes a similar rectangular, round-edged front surface plus the peripheral edge called a bezel. Kare has made the same assessment, but for U.S. Patent No. D604,305 (D # 305), which describes a raster of colored symbols.

  Alan Ball, an independent industrial designer, testified in the US California District Court in San Jose about Apple's iPhone design patents, which Samsung found unconstitutional.

Alan Ball, an independent industrial designer, testified in US Northern California District Court in San Jose about Apple's iPhone design patents Samsung was found to be hurting.


Vicki Behringer

"No question for me – in any case, the D & # 39; 305 [patent] was applied to each of these finished phones – the whole phone," said Kare.

And for the D & # 677 and D # 087 patents, Ball said the Samsung products were "the whole smartphone".

Yes, Phones Are Made Of Components

But Samsung lawyers worked hard to prove to witnesses that phones are made up of components, even though these components are not usually something a person could buy.

"I understand that a screen is a thing," an article of manufacture along with other components, said Kare. And she accepted that in the illustrations of the design patent, some elements of the phone drawn with dotted lines are not part of what Apple claimed in the patent.

  An illustration from Apple's U.S. Patent No. D604,305 (D & # 39; 305), a design patent describing a grid of icons

An illustration from Apple's U.S. Patent No. D604,305 (D & # 39; 305), a design patent which discloses a grid of Icons describes


screenshot of Stephen Shankland / CNET

But she stuck to her general position that it is an "organic, holistic design" that violates Apple's D & # 39; 305 patent. And asked if the icons controlled by D & # 305 appear on the screen of a phone, she said, "Honestly, I would say that you see it on the phone."

Ball also pointed to "unitary or monolithic" phone designs. He acknowledged that phones could be dismantled with the right tools, "but we have to see if it was intended," he said. "Just because you can take something apart does not mean it was designed that way, and when you replace [a component] you're trying to get back to the thing you bought."

What about a medical device?

Samsung lawyer Bill Price asked Ball to imagine a medical device that looked just like one of Samsung's infringing cell phones, but was actually a revolutionary scanner that could detect cancer and was worth millions of dollars.

"Using your logic would be the incredibly expensive medical device of the article, right?" Price asked.

Ball replied, "No, not necessarily, it's a hypothetical situation."

To determine what exactly the article of manufacture is, he would need to apply the four-factor test previously provided by US District Judge Lucy Koh. These factors are the extent of what is actually patented, how important the design throughout the product is, whether the design is conceptually different from the overall product, and whether the patented product can be physically separated from the overall device.

It will be up to the jury to judge Ball's views on medical devices and Samsung phones. The final arguments should be presented on Friday with the deliberations of the jury on Monday.

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