Samsung vs. Apple Day 9: Andries van Dam Gives Testimony [Liveblog]



San Jose, CA — The Samsung vs. Apple trial continues in the afternoon with testimony from Dr. Andries van Dam, a pioneer in computing graphics and a long-time professor at Brown University. He is here in the Federal courthouse to invalidate the ‘381 Apple patent of “snap-back” touch screen functionality by identifying “prior art” design of gadgets before the iPhone and iPad innovations.

240pm: The Samsung attorney notes Van Dam will testify about the Tablecloth program running on a DiamondTouch system, from January 2005. Tabletcloth is the Samsung touchscreen patent being used as prior art. He will also talk about the similar LaunchTile program that ran on HP iPAQ Pocket PCs  and were released around October 2004.

242PM: Van Dam goes over his credentials. He is the Thomas J. Watson Chair in Technology and Education at Brown and a full professor of computer science. He was also the first chairman of the University computer department.  His job has been to overhaul the patent and invention policy at several institutions. His education consists of an undergrad degree at Swarthmore College (Pennsylvania) in 1960 and Master and a PhDs at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a well-known pioneer in computer graphics, with a focus on novel user interfaces, working primarily on pen and touch interfaces. He has co-authored nine textbooks. Currently, he is working on giant touch screen interfaces. Are there are any current or former Brown CS students reading this blog? If so, let us know in the comments if van Dam has been one of your professors.

Van Dam testifies that he is being paid about $1,000 an hour and has spent 460 hours working on this case. Nice.

248PM: Van Dam explains the 381 patent. He says it allows a user to “over-scroll” where you have to see something that is not part of the document, or the edge of nothingness, where a file or picture “snaps-back” into place. He testifies that in the case of tablecloth program, it’s simple but easily noted when used. So this means it would be easy to spot a copy.

Attorneys request a fifteen minute break.

310PM: Van Dam testifies the Tablecloth program was created by a former witness, Ben Bedersen around 2004 and that the first instance of a public viewing was at New York’s New School, where many people, among them Senator Kerry, saw its use for the first time in 2005. Bedersen earlier explained that this Tablecloth program was a table-sized touch PC, where a projector lies above a table to create a live sensor to form a screen that is easy to manipulate. The projector records X and Y coordinates in order for the software to know where to move the data on the table, as it is used through touch.

315PM: Van Dam then moves to talk about the LaunchTile program in the 2004 HP iPaq PDA gadget. He explains the way you move through the iPaq is through maneuvering the “digital representation”of the multiple icons onscreen. He then goes through a brief schematic of photographs that is included. He is going through the way the tiles in the HP iPaq are set up and shows what happens on the edge of a tile of icons. Guess what it does when you move it to the edge? It snaps back. I saw that one coming.

Van Dam now explains any device with a touchscreen must have a touch screen display, with a processor, with many programs if it is to be labeled a touch screen. After that he goes in-depth into what is an area “beyond the edge.” He explains that it has to be smaller than what appears in the same window.

If you’re a practitioner of the art, he says “it is equally obvious” to know when the snap back feature is being used because “you can see it there easily, [the snap back] and through my analysis, you can see that it is all there.”

330PM: Apple begins his cross-examination. They ask whether he saw the source code or not, and Van Dam testifies that he did not but also mentions he didn’t have to because you can see it easily. Another “I know it when I see it” moment in court.

335PM: After Van Dam noted that any surface could be used as a touch screen if it had the necessary hardware sensors behind it, Apple counsel makes him say that it is the sensor that makes the DiamondTouch system what it is and that only with it can a table become a touch-screen. He agrees.

340PM: The witness is excused.

Photo: Wikipedia