Apple Vs. Samsung: “Overall Design” Is What Confuses Customers, Not The Details

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A major factor of the Apple v. Samsung case has been whether consumers are confused when purchasing a Samsung device, believing it to be one of Apple’s iThings.

Peter Bressler, Apple’s expert witness in the Apple v Samsung case, just took the stand and cooly confirmed all of Apple’s claims against Samsung. But during cross-examination, Samsung’s counsel started throwing some punches with regards to prior art. Bressler had originally said in his testimony that the prior art he had analyzed has no bearing because of minor differences, such as a curved front rather than a flat one, as on the iPhone.

To combat this testimony, Samsung counsel introduced four different versions of prior art, including the 2005 Sharp design and LG’s Prada smartphone. With each example, Samsung counsel went through a checklist of questions: Is it rectangular? Does it have rounded corners? Does it have a balanced screen (centered both horizontally and vertically)? Does it have a speaker grill?

Bressler answered “Yes” to most of the questions presented to him, but not without throwing out objections to the way patents and prior art were being analyzed. Samsung counsel was only showing the front view of each piece of prior art, rather than showing all eight views of the devices.

“This is not how you review figures in patents,” said Bressler. “I believe this is a distorted view of how one should analyze a patent.”

Then Samsung counsel moved to specific Samsung handsets with regards to Scott Stringer’s July 31 testimony on one of four design patents Apple is asserting, ‘087. Stringer said that it was important that the bezel be of uniform thickness all the way around, that it should be nominally flush with the front glass, that the corners all have equal radii and that the losenge shaped design of the speaker grill be centered both horizontally and vertically on the phone. He also brought up Stringer’s testimony on the iPhone’s “black oily pond,” which is a reference to the minimalist black front face.

Samsung counsel then tried to go into very detailed, minute differences between this patent’s embodiments (specific features in patents are referred to as embodiments) and both the Infuse 4G and the Galaxy S 4G. He said the Infuse 4G doesn’t have a bezel, and if the casing it does have were to be called a bezel, it’s much wider than the iPhone’s (and the ‘677 patent). He mentioned that the radius of the corners on the Galaxy S 4G aren’t actually equal — the top has a 10mm radius and the bottom 13mm.

He went on and on, showing various buttons on Samsung’s handsets to show a distinction between Apple’s black oily pond and Samsung’s buttoned, branded front face on the Infuse.

To almost everything that was asked of him, Bressler explained, “I believe the ordinary observer gets an impression of an overall design,” he said. “The ordinary observer doesn’t view one element of the design at a time.”