Judge tells Apple and Samsung to settle their own differences

By Graeme Burton
16 Aug 2012 View Comments
An Apple iPad next to a Samsung Galaxy Tab

The trial judge presiding over the patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung has urged both sides to reach a settlement.

Judge Lucy Koh suggested that both companies should seek a settlement before the jury begins deliberating on their verdict next week.

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Apple claims that Samsung infringed its "design patents" on the look and feel of its products and, in 2010, demanded that Samsung pay for licences to make mobile phones because, Apple argued, it was responsible for all the key technologies behind mobile phones today. The licence payment demanded by Apple would have cost Samsung as much as $30 per phone.

Apple even wanted Samsung's licences to cover production of non-Android, non-touch-screen phones, including Windows Phones and Symbian-based phones.

In turn, Samsung is counter-suing Apple for what it claims are breaches of patents that it holds relating to email pictures and for some wireless technology.

Koh suggested that the top executives of both companies should speak to each other prior to the end of the case – despite the breakdown of talks between both companies just prior to the start of the case. That followed earlier mediation attempts presided over by a US magistrate judge.

Koh's plea came on the day that Samsung designer Jin Soo Kim gave evidence.

He denied the Apple claim that Google had briefed Samsung in Feburary 2010, warning the South Korean company that its early tablet designs looked too similar to the first Apple iPad. Kim said that he was not aware of such a briefing – although Apple lawyers claim that internal emails show that Google did correspond at an executive level over the design of the Samsung Galaxy tablet.

Kim said that he had started working on a tablet in October 2009, well before Apple formally launched the iPad in January 2010 – and which Apple had kept top secret until its launch day.

The Galaxy Tab that Kim designed had a 10.1 inch screen to maximise its usability and to keep manufacturing costs down, he said.

More significantly, Samsung witness Stephen Gray, a patent analyst, claimed on Wednesday that a number of patents that Apple is asserting in the case are invalid because of "prior art" – pre-existing examples of methods to carry out the same function.

In particular, said Gray, two products called DiamondTouch and LaunchTile predated Apple's demonstration of "pinch and zoom" and "tap to zoom" on the touch-sensitive iPhone screen, invalidating the intellectual property claim asserted by Apple against Samsung on these features.  

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