2nd UPDATE: Arguments Near Their End in Apple's Lawsuit Against Samsung

Date : 08/17/2012 @ 7:20PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Apple Inc. (AAPL)
Quote : 175.5  3.0 (1.74%) @ 8:00PM
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2nd UPDATE: Arguments Near Their End in Apple's Lawsuit Against Samsung

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--Arguments expected to conclude by end of Friday

--Case between Apple and Samsung nears its end

--Witnesses underscoring Apple's position

(Updates with additional witness information.)

   By Ian Sherr 

SAN JOSE, Calif.--Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) patent case against Samsung Electronics Co. (SSNHY, 005930.SE) moved closer to its final stages Friday, as the two tech titans presented their last witnesses in the high-stakes patent trial.

Apple and Samsung spent Friday bringing up a mix of people to discuss technical details of the patents Samsung claims are being violated and to rebut witness testimony.

Though Apple started the legal battle with its initial lawsuit, Samsung fired back by accusing Apple of infringing on its patents, such as those for handling photographs in an email and one regarding wireless transmissions.

Apple called to the stand Hyong Kim and Edward Knightly, both engineering and technology professors, who discussed Samsung's patents, describing how the patents could even be invalid in some cases and how Apple's own devices don't infringe on them in others.

One flashpoint in the case has erupted outside the courtroom, in an ongoing debate within the technology industry about patents that are part of agreed-upon standards, such as 3G wireless technology. Standards bodies allow companies to claim their patents are essential for creating products that use a standard, but in doing so, the companies also agree to license those patents in a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory way.

Apple alleged that Samsung has failed to follow that agreement, leading to inquiries by regulators in Europe and comments from those in the U.S. as well.

As part of its argument in court, Apple brought to the stand Michael Walker, a former chairman of a European telecommunications-standards body, to discuss Samsung's alleged failure to disclose its patents to standards bodies in a reasonable amount of time. One assertion frequently made by Apple has been that by not claiming its patents in a reasonable time, Samsung had forfeited its place as part of that standard. Samsung lawyers said that wasn't the case.

Apple also called to the stand Richard Donaldson, a former patent counsel at Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN), to argue that Samsung's licensing demands of 2.4% of the net sales of a device were unreasonable. He noted that would work out to roughly $14 per device, more than the $10 Apple pays for the wireless chips affected by the patent. Mr. Donaldson also said he wasn't aware of any other licensees paying Samsung for its wireless-patent portfolio.

Not all of Apple's witness testimony was such intricate discussion of patents and patent agreements. Apple also called to the stand for the second time Susan Kare, an independent graphics specialist who created images used in Apple's original Macintosh computer.

Ms. Kare was asked about arguments made by Jeeyuen Wang, a Samsung designer who worked on some of the products that are alleged to have infringed on Apple's designs. Ms. Wang had said that although the application icons on Samsung's devices bore some resemblance to the ones Apple uses, they weren't copies.

Instead, Ms. Wang said she used images that were fairly obvious objects. For example, she said, Samsung used the image of a phone receiver for its phone application because other icons, such as the image of a cell phone with an antenna or a smartphone, had confused its customers. Ms. Wang also said icons generally needed a square around them to make tapping them easier.

Ms. Kare disagreed, arguing that there are many images that can be used to convey an application's abilities. She also said many phones have successfully displayed icons without squares around them.

Ms. Kare wasn't the only former witness brought back to the stand. Peter Bressler, a designer, and Karan Singh, a computer scientist, also returned to the stand to discuss the different patents involved in the case. Samsung had argued that Apple's design and technology patents were invalid, but both witnesses argued otherwise.

Samsung also recalled some of its witnesses, including Tim Williams, a wireless technology expert and Woodward Yang, a professor, to defend its wireless patents. Both argued that Apple's expert witnesses had oversimplified their arguments, or offered evidence that didn't refute Samsung's claims.

As the arguments wind down, Apple and Samsung will be handing the case over to jurors who at times have had trouble staying awake during more technical discussions, and who might not understand the intricacies of the issues. Closing arguments are expected to be presented next week.

Lucy Koh, the presiding judge in the case, has expressed frustration with both Apple and Samsung as the two companies have filed hundreds of documents as part of the case. On Thursday, Ms. Koh asked both sides to have their respective chief executives meet once more to discuss possible settlements in order to avoid jury deliberations.

Apple and Samsung have locked horns in countries around the globe, seeking injunctions to either slow one another's sales or take some share of the profits.

Write to Ian Sherr at ian.sherr@dowjones.com

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