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Home / Technology / Eight years later, Apple employees are still annoyed about copying Samsung

Eight years later, Apple employees are still annoyed about copying Samsung



  Richard Howarth, executive director of the Apple design team, testifies that Apple Apple patents have been investigated by Apple lawyer Joe Mueller, US District Judge Lucy Koh is watching.

Richard Howarth, executive director of the Apple design team, testifies about Apple iPhone patents, examined by Apple lawyer Joe Mueller as US District Judge Lucy Koh looks at


sketch by Vicki Behringer

It's been years since Samsung smartphones have been infringed on several Apple iPhone patents but some people are still hurting.

"It was blatantly demolished, trying to steal the essential taste of the iPhone," said Richard Howarth, senior director of the Apple design team and one of the top two iPhone designers, who came to Samsung for a lawsuit. s patent infringement says where Apple seeks a billion dollars. "They tried to strip off some of the iconic nature and say, 'We're cool too,'" he said Tuesday.

Howarth, who has been with Apple for 22 years, is listed as the inventor of two designs that are central to the Apple Samsung patent case: US Patent No. D61

8,677 (D # 677 for short), which describes a black, rectangular, round angular front surface; and U.S. Patent No. D593,087 (D & # 39; 087), which describes a similar rectangular, round-edged front surface plus the peripheral edge known as the skirt.

Samsung lawyer John Quinn, cross-examining, cried Howarth on whether the patents protect the entire phone or only part of it. Reluctantly, Howarth admitted that a phone could be disassembled with the right tools, but argued that Apple's patents were bigger. "The phone is an idea, the whole thing is the phone … you can not just take a part and say" Protect that. "

Apple argues that patents are central to a unified product – a phone – and so Samsung's payment should be based on the profits of all infringing phones. But Samsung, backed by a Supreme Court ruling, argues that it should only be punished for injuries to phone components such as bezels and screen glass.

The jury's decision in this case – the fourth in a series that goes back to Apple's original lawsuit in 2011 – will help shape how powerful design patents really are in the world of technology. A previous jury trial found that several Samsung phones released in 2010 and 2011 violated five Apple patents

Samsung has already paid Apple $ 548 million, but a share of $ 399 million could be reduced or increased , The case focuses on the question of what exactly an "article of manufacture" a patent governs. Apple argues that it should be the entire product – in this case a phone – but Samsung claims that it could only be a component of a phone.

Tony Blevins, Apple's Vice President of Procurement, has largely testified that. In a matter-of-fact tone, he spoke a little bit emotionally about his reaction to Samsung's cell phones.

"A small group of us worked tirelessly for years on this product," he said. "We worked long nights and weekends, we sacrificed family time, we missed birthdays, we filed patents and tried to get things right so we can enjoy the fruits of our work." When the Samsung phones arrived, he said, "It was every negative emotion you can imagine."

A Look at Apple Designs

With Apple trying to show the importance of its design work, the experiment shows aspects of a normally secret process.

Apple rejected "hundreds and hundreds" of iPhone prototypes before the first model was released in 2007, Howarth said. One had an octagonal bezel, one was rounded only at the left and right margins, and one had a light gray front. "It did not represent what we were trying to do, that was kind and understandable," Howarth said. "It looked pretty big and angular from the front, it felt petty – just a lot of bits."

The final design embodied what Apple wanted. "It felt like you could crawl your head around – there were not buttons everywhere," says Howarth.

Apple's designs begin with sketches and models and evolve into 3D-milled prototypes that represent the idea well, Howarth said. "We're there to bring the product to the customer, so we can make sure our idea arrives intact."

Blevins, who had to buy all the components from vendors, said Apple's approach was very different from the rest of the electronics industry.

"The vast majority of companies use a building block philosophy," to find the best components and then assemble them into a product. "Apple did just the opposite," starting with a design and then with components that fit. He spent two and a half weeks in a factory and tried to figure out how to reduce the vibration motor of the iPhone to the permitted size.

First published on May 15, 4:24 pm. PT
Update, 5:01 pm:
Adds details about Apple's design process.

CNET Magazine: View a selection of stories in the CNET Newsstand edition. Hello, People # 39; s Google's Duplex could make the wizard the most lifelike AI.


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