Apple features worth up to $100 to Samsung buyers, witness says

A controversial witness testimony in the trial between Apple and Samsung suggests users would shell out more to have features covered in Apple's patents.

Josh Lowensohn
Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Late afternoon testimony sent Samsung's lawyers scrambling to come up with a quick way to explain what was unquestionably the shortest time from any expert witness on the stand.

Apple called upon Massachusetts Institute of Technology marketing professor John Hauser to display the results of a survey claiming that Samsung consumers would pay anywhere from $39 to $100 for Apple's patented features -- the same ones Samsung has been accused of infringing in the trial between the two tech giants.

After what was mere minutes on the stand showing just a single slide with the figures and listing off the prices, Samsung attorney Bill Price took offense to the brevity, and attempted to get it excluded, citing a lack of overall explanation. After U.S. District Court judge Lucy Koh denied the attempt, Price was forced to burn up critical trial time getting Hauser to explain what the study entailed.

The move, which was purely strategic on Apple's part, forces Samsung to use up some of its allotted time cross-examining Hauser, effectively getting him to explain -- for the first time to the court -- the methodology of the test, including its size and what types of questions were asked. Both sides get 25 hours to make their case, though Samsung has already surpassed Apple in time spent cross-examining witnesses. Next week the company gets to take its turn with its own witnesses, though is likely to already be past the halfway mark.

As for the study itself, it said that users with $199 smartphones would pay an extra $39 to have Apple's patented pinch to zoom feature, with $499 tablet users shelling out $45. By comparison, smartphone users would spend more than $100 to use a combination of Apple's pinch to zoom patent, along with the "bounce-back" and "double-tap" patents, with tablet users spending a lesser $90.

During cross-examination Hauser said that the data came from an Internet survey with an unmentioned number of respondents. It was also done by outside firm, Hauser said. Price fired back by asking whether it would make sense for computer makers to go out of their way to tack on costs for additional features when the hardware is readily available.

The tension-filled testimony was just the latest between the companies. At one point, after getting fed up with the length and delivery of Hauser's replies, Price made a crack that Hauser was all too happy to talk once it was Samsung's time being used up.

"I'm trying to help you," Hauser said.

"I don't know about that," Price replied.

Samsung spent much of Friday cross-examining Apple's witnesses, at points nearly yelling at them to attempt to convince the jury that they might have left certain key details out, or not have accurately testing some of the accused devices.

The trial continues next week with a continuation of Apple's witnesses, before turning over to Samsung for its own list of witnesses.