Switcheroo: Samsung Alleges Apple Infringed Patents

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In a somewhat surprising turn of events in the Apple-Samsung trial, the Korean electronics company claimed today that Apple products infringe on its own software patents. Harvard EECS professor Woodward Yang testified that three different functions in Apple products appeared to be based on those found in earlier Samsung patents.

Apple brought suit on last year by claiming Samsung excessively stole its intellectual property in the iPhone and iPad gadgets. A lot of the evidence has focused on the historical progression of small details of hardware and software design in gadgets, with Apple strictly interpreting innovations defined in their patents.

The three pieces of evidence Dr. Yang focused as infringement possibilities were on code that helped send and receive photos through email, on background music playing while operating other parts of a gadget and on scrolling through photo in a mobile-based album. The latter patent may provide one of the best counter-argument for the jury to consider against ruling for Apple. As presented by the witness, scrolling through an album of photographs seems at first glance to be very similar to the scrolling input and related “bounce-back” effect in evidence from late last week. Apple used the “bounce-back” effect patent to show the differences between pre- and post- gadget design at Samsung, the post- being clearly a copy of Apple design, according to Apple.

Towards the end of testimony, the expertise and thoroughness of Dr. Kang’s analysis was questioned by Apple attorneys. In particular, they criticized his inability to contact the designers of the Samsung patents in question while preparing his analysis for trial.

The Samsung trial continues in its third week and we are covering today’s session in a live blog.