Samsung gives Apple the 'boot' in defense

To demonstrate the difference between Samsung and Apple smart devices, Samsung makes the case that consumers know what gadget they're using as soon as they switch on.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- One way Samsung hopes to show a jury that its products differ from Apple's is something as simple as turning them on.

The devices, that is.

In the fifth day of trial here today, Samsung spent some time booting up three different devices -- two phones and one tablet -- to make the case that consumers know what they're getting before they even start using a gadget.

That's an important consideration given claims by Apple, brought out in its opening statements and in its complaint at large, which says Samsung's devices are so similar that people could end up mistaking a Samsung device for one made by Apple.

To make its point, Samsung booted up one of its Droid series phones, the Droid Charge, and the original iPhone to show the court how the two differed. Where Apple's first iPhone booted up just like it does today -- with a metallic Apple logo -- Samsung's splashed a title screen with its logo, then went to an animated video with sound that boomed out a robotic "DROID."

Samsung then attempted to point out just how many steps were involved before users would see the home screen of icons, something Apple has accused Samsung of copying. For the Droid Charge, that included turning on the device, unlocking it, and hitting a software button to pull up a list of applications.

"It's only after all these steps that the consumer gets to the application screen," Samsung counsel Charles Verhoeven argued to Susan Kare, one of the designers of the early Mac icons.

Kare had been on the witness stand for Apple earlier in the day, arguing that numerous interface elements, though mainly the iconography and general home-screen layout, infringed on Apple's design patent on the original iPhone's home-screen. Apple says Samsung copied this look in nearly a dozen of the accused devices.

Samsung carried the boot defense to Apple's next witness, Russell Winer, the chair of the Department of Marketing at New York University's Stern School of Business. Russell had been called on to discuss the look and feel of the devices, particularly what Russell referred to as "blurring," where there is a degree of similarity between different devices.

Samsung's Verhoeven countered Winer's claims that Samsung's devices, particularly the company's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, were causing blurring, by pointing out differences. That included the start-up of the device, where once again the tablet flashed up Samsung's logo and the actual name of the device.

One thing that's unclear so far is how many customers would actually turn a device on or off before they purchase it, or somehow make it through packaging without seeing which company the product was from. Apple, for its part, has hung much of that argument on a Samsung-led study of 30 Best Buy stores in three different states, which found that many customers had, in fact, returned some of Samsung's Galaxy tablets, believing they were iPads.

 

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