Top Samsung designer: We didn't copy Apple

Samsung taps one of its own designers to counter Apple's claims that it ripped off the look and feel of the iPhone's OS.

James Martin/CNET

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- In an effort to rebut allegations that it copied the design of Apple's iOS home screen, icons, and other visual features, Samsung brought out one of the people in charge of designing the software in its phones.

Jeeyuen Wang, Samsung's senior designer, testified this afternoon with the help of an interpreter, and flat out told the court that the company did not copy Apple's designs.

Samsung brought out Wang to counter copycat claims made by Apple earlier in the trial that put the Samsung's iconography and features side by side. That offense also included outing multiple internal Samsung documents where the company had made suggestions on how to make some of the features in its devices look and function more like Apple's.

With that said, Wang explained that she did, in fact, look at what other companies did, as well as signage.

"I also look at the icons that come up on Web sites or Webs, and airport signing systems, so I'd pay attention to all these things," Wang said.

Wang said that hundreds of people across the globe had come together to work on the designs of the phones, many of them putting in long hours. On average, Wang said that she got about two to three hours of sleep a night, which ultimately affected her physical health and left her unable to feed her newborn child.

Wang took aim at one design claim in particular, the iconography behind the phone app. According to her, Samsung referred to it internally as a "dumbbell," and it was in place before she got there in 2002, and that it had a green color because of the action, with green meaning go.

Samsung also used Wang to help counter Apple's argument that it had ripped off the look of its photos app with a flower, mimicking the sunflower found on Apple's app.

"At the time, there was a wallpaper that was in the image of flowers for an AMOLED LCDs and everyone in our team kind of liked the image," Wang explained. "We had come to a conclusion that we would adopt this image for the icon."

In cross-examination, Apple brought out multiple internal Samsung documents, one of which highlighted changes in iconography. That included a section called "how did we do" showing four years worth of changes, as well as a separate section depicting two iPhone screens next to a stock Android and Samsung-designed Bada home screen. The latter pointed to an "icon guidelines" document, which was actually Apple's OS X desktop operating system. A separate section linked to Apple's iPhone human interface guidelines document.

Apple once again brought out the March 2, 2010 "relative evaluation report" comparing side by side shots of the pre-release Galaxy S1 next to the iPhone. Wang said she had never seen that document before. Apple's lawyers then asked how Samsung had gone from a number pad icon for the phone to what Wang had referred to earlier as the dumbbell phone design:

Apple

Wang replied by saying that she had not seen the particular calculator-like icon, and that doesn't really work as an icon anyways.

"This is a very confusing icon," Wang said. "When I looked at it for the first time since geting here it looked like a calculator to me, so it's hard for me to recognize it as a phone."

Wang's testimony was a response to claims made by Apple regarding its '305 patent, which covers the design of the iPhone's home screen. That's the first screen Apple filed a patent for immediately after releasing the iPhone in June 2007, and was later granted for in November 2009. In this trial, Apple has aimed the patent at numerous Samsung devices over what it says are design similarities, claiming that consumers could be confused.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. PT with additional details from Wang's testimony.

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