EE says Apple design patents invalidSAN JOSE – A former senior technologist from Texas Instruments testifying for Samsung said three design patents on the iPhone and iPad are invalid. He cited Japan and Korea patents as well as a Hewlett-Packard tablet and a 1994 mock up from a university researcher.
Apple is suing Samsung for $2.5 billion in part for violating its ‘087, ‘677 and ‘889 patents on the industrial design of the iPhone and iPad. “I concluded all three design patents are invalid based on obviousness in light of prior art and for the elements of these design patents that are functional,” said Itay Sherman, former chief technologist for TI’s mobile group.
Sherman said Japan patents from 2004 and 2005 (JP 1,241,383 and JP 1,241,638) and a Korean patent from 2005 (KR 418,547) as well as the LG Prada handset show similar design features as the Apple ‘877 and ‘677. All four have rectangular shapes with rounded corners and flat fronts with large, rectangular displays and similarly shaped and placed speakers.
In a blast from the past, Samsung submitted a video of 1981 and 1994 mock ups from a digital publishing lab at the University of Nevada Reynolds Schools of Journalism as prior art on the iPad industrial design. The non-working models were created to show media and technology companies such as Apple a vision of the future of the newspaper.
“My feeling was it should be something lightweight, portable, a flat touchscreen to navigate and content would have hyperlinks,” said former lab director Roger Fidler in a video shown to the jury.
Sherman said the mock ups, taken together with the Hewlett-Packard TC-1000 form prior art on Apple’s ‘889 patent on the iPad design. He also testified the elements of the Apple patents were functional and thus not valid as elements for design patents which are limited to ornamental elements.
On cross examination an Apple attorney noted Sherman did not see Fidler’s original mock ups, only replicas, images and videos of them. She also noted neither the Fidler mock ups nor the HP tablet were prior art in themselves, only in combination.
The Apple attorney also took issue with Sherman’s claim the Apple patents covered functional elements, showing examples of different designs—such as a Sony tablet--that has similar functions.
It may not take long to find out how the nine-person jury does sorting through the intricacies of patent law. Judge Lucy H. Koh asked both sides to try to wrap up testimony by the end of the week so that jurors could begin deliberations by the middle of next week.
Fidler's 1994 tablet mock up for a Knight-Ridder lab.
A color mock up, also from ~1994.
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