Apple’s expert witness says the magic words: “substantially the same”

Aug 6, 2012
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Apple’s expert witness says the magic words: “substantially the same”

In the Apple vs Samsung court case going on this month it appears that the iPhone company has struck a heavy blow with expert witness Peter Bressler. This man is a former President of the Industrial Designers Society of America and a current fellow of that group, a co-author of over 60 design and utility patents, and an active faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania where he teaches integrated product design classes. Because of this list of achievements and accolades, Bressler's words as witness in this court case will certainly ring true to the jury. In this case, Apple calling Bressler to the stand to testify is very, very bad news for Samsung.

What Bressler has been asked is whether the devices Apple is presenting are similar enough to the patents they own that they'd could be considered infringing. Some of the devices brought up in the questioning are the following - each of these device names are linked back to our reviews of said devices so you can get a closer look if you'd like:

the original iPhone
Samsung Galaxy S 4G
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE
Samsung Infuse 4G
iPad 1 and 2

You can also see some comparisons between the original Samsung Galaxy S and the iPhone 4 here: iPhone 4 hands-on Review as well as here: white iPhone 4 hands-on.

When questioned by Apple, Bressler "walked the jury through" three iOS device patents and described the patents in detail to the jury according to The Verge. One patent showed off the iPad's flat face, rounded corners, and black border under the tablet's front glass panel. Another of the three patents described the flat front face of the iPhone, while a third described the rounded corners and bezel that existed in the first iPhone released to the market.

Bressler's testimony compared the iPhone patents to the Samsung Galaxy S 4G. Bressler made it clear that he felt Samsung's design to be not so fabulous when it comes to originality when it comes to being viewed by "regular consumers." Bressler noted specifically:

"It's my opinion that this phone, the design of this phone would be considered substantially the same" - Bressler

Similar connections were made when Bressler continued while Apple's representation showed their iPad patent set side-by-side with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE specifically. Bressler pointed out a number of "alternative designs" for tablets (a collection of tablets that we're trying to get a list of now - hold tight), showing how each of them were "clearly different" from Apple's iPad and each of the patents that surround it.

Samsung was allowed to cross-examine Bressler, showing the industrial design expert at least four different examples of "prior art" that they felt were similar to the iPhone's front face. Bressler did not agree with Samsung's line of questioning, saying Samsung's comparison was an "improper analysis." Bressler noted that these comparisons (we must assume they looked something like this) could not be taken with only one single, straight-on image as Samsung appeared to be relying on.

Samsung then spoke (represented by Charles Verhoeven in this case, by the way), about the flat, flush glass face of the iPhone as well as the original iPhone's unique bezel. He showed the jury two devices at the same time as questioning Bressler about them: the Infuse 4G and the Galaxy S 4G.

For the Infuse 4G, Samsung showed that the glass face is not completely flush as each iPhone has been since the first (as seen above.) For the Galaxy S 4G, Samsung contended that the device's bezel "flares" when viewed from the bottom or the top of the phone.

Bressler was having none of it, saying that the patents at hand did not work in the way Samsung was suggesting. Instead, Bressler said, they had to take into account the "ordinary observer" - aka the "regular consumer" as well as the "overall impression" the devices presented.

Stay tuned as the Apple vs Samsung case continues and millions (if not billions) of dollars are held up in the air, ready to drop into the wallet of the winning manufacturer of lovely smart devices. Check the timeline to see several stories leading up to this point in time as well - don't miss a thing!


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