Another Day In Court: Samsung Argues Galaxy Tab Predated iPad Annoucement, Bounce Back Patent Invalid, Judge Koh Grows Weary


It’s been a long week for both Samsung and Apple in their legal spat over patents, icons and “copying.” With only 2 days left of testimonies, both sides are scrambling to present witnesses in court, and through depositions.

Apple’s “Bounce Back” Patent is Invalid – Patent Office Didn’t Know About Prior Art

Samsung spent a good portion of today calling upon more “experts” to testify on their behalf, with Dr. Andries van Dam bringing into question Apple’s ‘381 “bounce-back” patent. Andries van Dam argued the patent wasn’t valid due to prior art, demonstrating the UI effect in the both Tablecloth and LaunchTile applications running on an old DiamondTouch Table computer. Just like Apple’s “unique invention,” when scrolling on Tablecloth, the UI displayed the similar effect of overshooting while scrolling, then snapping back to display content properly. Facts: Tablecloth dates back to 2005. Apple’s ‘381 patent was filed 2 years later in Dec. of 2007.

Van Dam went on to testify that the after looking over Apple’s history, he discovered that never once had any of these technologies been made known to the US Patent Office and I think we can all agree, the USPTO doesn’t exactly keep up with tech. Of course Apple split hairs, arguing that the DiamondTouch wasn’t really a “touchscreen device” as covered in their software patent, to which van Dam did a good job of pointing although different from a handheld device, it was a touchscreen device “in every way.”

Work on the Galaxy Tab Predates iPad Announcement

Later, one of the men responsible for designing Samsung’s Galaxy tablets and smartphones, took the stand. According industrial designer Jin Soo Kim, his work on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 began in October of 2009 (he also referenced an email from Jan 2006 also showing work taking place on the Tab). This predated Apple’s unveiling of the iPad 1 in January 2010, and the iPad 2 in March of ’11. Kim said that the main goal in designing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was getting the largest screen on the smallest hardware possible.

When it came to Samsung introducing a newer, slimmer Galaxy Tab 10.1 during the same month as the iPad 2 announcement, Kim acknowledged that Samsung had gone back to the drawing board in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Once again, he pointed out the decision to change the design of the original, thicker Galaxy Tab still managed to precede Apple’s March 2011 iPad 2 unveiling. When asked if he had ever copied Apple’s designs in either his phones or tablets, Kim responded, “I have not.”

Under Apple’s cross examination, lawyers began asking Kim if he had any knowledge of the Google email urging that Samsung change the design of their Galaxy lineup to look “less like the iPhone.” Kim denies any knowledge of the email testifying under oath that he never once had conversation with a supervisor (he’s about 4 levels down in Samsung’s designer hierarchy) regarding Google’s feedback. Samsung’s defense later clarified that the Galaxy Tab referenced in the Google email was their older Galaxy Tab design that never actually made it to market.

The Court Grows Weary

Before closing up shop for the day, Judge Koh once again pleaded with both sides to reduce the number of filings in the case saying, “Please don’t do this to me.” This was after Samsung warned they could have a stack of objections if Apple didn’t narrow its witness list. “There is just a human limit on what a rag tag [group] can do,” she went on, urging one more time for both sides to talk things over and come to a settlement. The judge warned that if left to the jury, both sides were only increasing their their risk for an unfavorable outcome. Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday with both Apple and Samsung getting 2 hours to plead their cases for the last time. Wednesday the jury will finally deliberate and this fiasco will finally be over (but not the last we’ll hear from Apple, I’m sure).

[TheVerge | AllThings D 1, 2, 3]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Apple has in no way invented most of the concepts in their designs, but rather evolved the designs that were already available and simply hired a decent designer to come up with a decent concept for their devices. At least this is all starting to come to light with the patent office. maybe the government should start hiring some tech experts to help look into tech patents? They admitted to not knowing about the prior art… and when you don’t know you should leave it up to someone who does or you should learn. just giving out signatures on patents you know nothing about is absurd.

    1. You left out
      “Or buy inventive companies”

    2. The patent office does have tech experts, but there is a limit to how much time and effort can be sent searching prior art for every single patent application. Especially with software patents, it is quite a daunting task to try to determine out of all the software that has ever been written whether or not a given feature has ever been implemented. Especially since many details of various pieces of software are not well documented and you would really have to actually install it to know.

      It is inevitable that prior art will get missed sometimes and things will have to be settled in court. Fortunately Samsung has the resources to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars looking for prior art, so hopefully some of these apple patents will be invalidated.
      Some kind of software patent reform is desperately needed, but I don’t think beefing up the patent office’s prior art searches alone is going to do it.

      1. A lot of apples patents have prior art I can find by simply googling it.. For example the slide to unlock patent apple got had prior art that was pretty easy to find. Are you saying the patent office’s tech experts aren’t as good as me at finding prior art?

        1. Well, it could be that the examiners should have caught more, but you should also keep in mind that the community has found and been talking about lots of prior art once apple started suing everyone and this got to be such a big deal. The information you found with Google may not have been as easy to find a few years ago before all this started.

  2. This predated Apple’s unveiling of the iPad 1 in January 2012,

    I think you have a wrong date there.

    1. “This predated Apple’s unveiling of the iPad 1 in January 2010, and the iPad 2 in March of ’11.”

      Are you sure you don’t?

      1. It was obviously corrected, otherwise I wouldn’t have mentioned it in the first place.

  3. This is getting old. Apple just needs to end this crap. When is Google going to sue Apple for the drop down screen?

    1. Can’t sue Apple sadly as Android is open source.

      1. Yes they can sue apple. Google has patented the pull down they’re waiting for it to get approved. Google it. In due time

      2. Open source doesn’t mean free for all. My very basic understanding of the matter is that if another company used it they would have to release source code for it and give credit stating they are using Open source licences.

      3. The software is open source, but the ideas aren’t.

  4. This now resembles a case for Justice Cocklecarrot

  5. If the jury members are competent and unbiased towards Apple, then I would hope Samsung doesn’t decide to negotiate and settle with Apple, because I have a feeling Apple is going to lose, and that would put an end to Apple and their patent threats. I shouldn’t assume because nobody knows if the jury members are competent and unbiased…

    But any sane person would see that Apple is the bully who actually appears to be violating patents and copying designs themselves.

    Ohhh what a wonderful day if Apple loses.

    1. I don’t think competent has anything to do with it. This is all about the popularity of Apple and how that has swayed the jury. Considering where the trial is taking place, I would guess that Samsung has an uphill battle from that standpoint. The only real hope is after this trial the jury has realized what douchebags Apple really are and noticed hwo they don’t really design anything themselves.

    2. Why do you think the Judge is trying to force a deal with the CEOs? Apple is really looking bad now and now Apple is scared to let the jury decide their fate

  6. So the judge is threatening to PUNISH Samsung for defending themselves against Apple’s onslaught???

  7. Koh is a staunch Apple supporter. She’s growing weary because she knows the case is crap and there’s nothing she can do at this point.

    1. You mean that this case is crapple…. :-)

  8. I think there is enough evidence and history to support Samsung’s case that Apple was not the first to do a lot of things when it comes to smartphones and tablets. Most of the ideas where already there is some form or another.

  9. Recently I was going through my old electronics stacked in the closet and found good old Sony Clie T615. That thing looks a lot like iPhone, and I realized how many of Sony design concepts Apple “invented”. [In Soviet Union, where I was born, we used the verb “to communize” as a jargon synonym of stealing, meaning that if something is there, out in the open, it’s free for you to take].

  10. Why didn’t Samsung get the patent reexamined in light of the undisclosed prior art? Look at what Google did against Oracle. They got most of the patents overturned before they even made it to the courtroom. That seems much safer than leaving it up to a jury.

  11. So Judge Koh is tired? I don’t care! It’s her own fault! She denied so much evidence from samsung so it takes more time. Honestly, how can she complain and blame things on samsung and apple when she is the one who is dragging out this case? She should have looked at the evidence as relevant (refering to samsung showing pictures of designs from 2006) and given the jury time to decide who’s copying who. If it was done that way the trial would have ended after 2 days!

  12. I don’t seee how the judge can say, “please don’t do this to me,” when she was the one who decided to let this thing go to trial. Numerous courts have thrown these cases out. She has no one to blame but herself.

    1. I’m just hearing “please don’t make me do my job!” I really don’t like this judge…

  13. Dang Chris, do you sleep?

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