The Apple v Samsung battle continues as Samsung begins its defense to Apple’s claims that it infringed its patents. Samsung’s defense rests on proving that its products don’t infringe the patents, and also that the patents themselves are not valid.
It is generally thought that Samsung will struggle to prove that its products do not infringe Apple’s patents – in fact, when Judge Lucy Koh granted Apple’s motion to ban sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the US, she noted that the devices were “virtually indistinguishable”.
Koh said: “Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly by flooding the market with infringing products.”
The jury has been made aware that the Tab has been temporarily banned from sale in the US.
Samsung is therefore trying to persuade at least one member of the jury that Apple should never have been granted the patents in question (the jury needs to be unanimous in its decision). Hence, on Monday Samsung began its attempts to prove prior art to invalidate Apple’s rubber-band (‘381) and pinch-to-zoom (‘915) patents that Apple is accusing Samsung of copying.
To drum this home to the jury, Samsung introduced a couple of witnesses who had worked on technology similar to Apple’s before Apple patented the inventions.
University of Maryland professor Ben Bederson demoed his UI zooming technology, LaunchTile, invented as an alternative smartphone input method that allowed for one-handed operation. Designed for mobile devices such as the Palm Pre, LaunchTile allows navigation of 36 on-screen applications with one thumb, the user can zoom in on thumbnail images of mobile apps.
Samsung had hoped that this LaunchTile app would invalidate Apple’s rubber-band patent. However, Apple’s lawyers noted that the LaunchTile’s snap back feature was not present when the edges of the application tiles were reached.
Apple also noted that LaunchTile uses semantic zoom technololgy that shows more information as a user zooms in, rather than making the text or image bigger.
Adam Bogue spoke about Mistubishi Electric Research Laboratories’ DiamondTouch projector-based display table developed in 2001 that supports multi-touch gestures for manipulating displayed images. In an attempt to invalidate Apple’s pinch-to-zoom patent, Samsung showed one of the gestures of the DiamondTouch display table: FractalZoom allowed single finger scrolling and two finger pinch and zoom. Bogue claimed he spoke to Apple about the technology in 2003, but Apple claimed that he didn’t demonstrate FractalZoom. Apple’s lawyers demonstrated how the tablecloth application worked on the DiamondTouch, showing that images on the table snapped back to the original position, while Apple’s images would bounce back to the closest position that fills the screen.