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Apple and Samsung Go At It Again with Patent Wars

After this whole litigation you’d probably agree with me when I say that Apple is one of the world’s secretive and mysterious companies. Android users and even some iOS users will rejoice as Apple has found out that there’s a price to pay when pushing its grievances against its current rival, Samsung Electronics in the federal court.

In the first few days of the patent trail this week, Apple has openly discussed how the company created both the iPhone and iPad, they continued to show early designs of both devices and described “intimate” information about its product team. Surprising isn’t it? The marketing chief of Apple, Phil Schiller, went into the court in San Jose, California on Friday to testify about the companies advertising budget (I honestly don’t know why this was necessary if it was just over a patent).

After Phil Schiller testified, it also showed glimpse into their marketing and customer strategy. An internal survey showed that 78% of iPhone owners purchase a case. People who are following this case closely began discussion on the survey through twitter and various blog posts. I think that the world’s quite surprised at their “supposed” internal studies.

Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of world-wide marketing, revealed on Friday how much Apple actually spent on marketing the devices at the center of the case. He said that according to an internal document, Apple has spent over $647 million on advertising alone for the iPhone just in the United States when the device first released in 2007 to the first fiscal year in 2011. He went on to say that they spent around $457.2 million for the iPad when it released in 2010.

So far, a whole lot of the trial has concentrated on how Apple’s design teams came up with the idea for iPhones and iPads. Since Samsung brought up the documents that proved Apple copied their device off of Sony’s, it’s only obvious that this would be the center of attention. This whole litigation is about Apple trying to prove that Samsung had copied its designs (there’s a huge difference between the two) while Samsung is trying to prove that Apple was inspired by Sony’s designs. I’m honestly surprised that Sony hasn’t gotten in this yet.

Also on Friday, Scott Fostall, a senior vice-president who oversees the software used on Apples mobile devices, testified that in January of 2011, an Apple executive was in favor of the company creating a tablet with a 7-inch screen. As most know, Apple has generally been against anything that is smaller than its 9.7-inch iPad despite the reports that Apple is creating a smaller model.

Mr. Fostall said that Eddy Cue, head of Apple’s Internet service efforts, used a 7-inch Samsung tablet (oh the irony) for a while and sent an email to Tim Cook, Chief Executive of Apple, saying that he believed “there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one.” Fostall also testified that Apple in 2004 placed unusual rules on how it would be assembling a team to create the iPhone which was also known as “Project Purple” back then.

Fostall continued to say that the co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, told him that he couldn’t hire anyone outside of the company to work on the user interface, or the buttons and images that would appear on the screen. With that said, Steve Jobs found “superstars” from within the company and stated that he was to begin starting a “secret project” and wanted help. He remembers telling them that, “If you accept this role, you will work harder than you have ever worked in your entire life.” Now, this seems silly, but with the innovation that Apple had back then, I think it seemed necessary. Fostall continued to describe that they actually locked down one floor of the company building. It at first, had camera and keycard readers to increase the security regarding “Project Purple.” After the project was code-name he took it to himself to call the floor the “Purple Dorm.” What’s funny is that he also had put a sign up on the front door with the words “Fight Club” written on it which referred to the hit movie in which the characters were not allowed to take about what they were doing at all.

Fostall said that there were numerous challenges to creating and developing the iPhone because his teams had until then only worked with keyboards and mice, which was really the standard for most developers. “Every single part of the device had to be rebuilt for touch,” Fostall said. He also had told the court that the team working on “Project Purple” consisted of 1,000 people who would directly report to him. He said that when he holds “all-staff meetings” that number rapidly increases to around 2,000. That’s got to be one big conference room.

He continued to say that he invented a patent for “double-tapping” on Web pages because he was using a Prototype of the iPhone to surf the web when he realized that he was using a lot of time zooming and pinching the page to fit text on the screen.

“I realized that I had this incredibly powerful device, why can’t it figure out the right size for me?” he stated. With that, he challenged his team to make the iOS software automatically size the text to the center of the screen when he or anyone double-tapped around a Web page. I feel like this is a really silly patent. Sure, he invented it but is patenting something like that really necessary? I’d almost be happy to let people use that technology just because of its ease of use.

Earlier this week a 99-page document filed in the case revealed the earlier iPhone prototypes considered by the company. They dated back to as early as 2006. It showed a lot of bulky backsides and angled edges. Thankfully they crossed those out. Some other documents showed different variations on the iPad design too.

Christopher Stringer, the company’s first witness, walked through many of the different prototypes on Tuesday. He said that that the design team works around a table in a “kitchen,” translating different ideas to sketches and computer designs and then ultimately to 3-D Models. After Apple was asked how they got the final iPhone design, Stringer said that, “it was the most beautiful of our designs…When we realized what we got, we knew.” The iPhone almost didn’t get off the ground though. Stringer said even Steve Jobs had doubts Apple would be able to deliver the “Unprecedented” design.

In another part of Phil Schillers testimony, he discussed a customer survey of various iPhone purchasers. The issue of market research has been of a special interest to both Apple fans and watchers because of how Jobs maintained that the company didn’t rely on tools like Focus Group in figuring out how to create a new product.

Long before the trial opened, a May 2011 survey of iPhone owners was filed as evidence for some reason. The document showed, among various other things, that trusting in the company’s product or brand was a factor in buying decisions in countries that include both the United States and China. Schiller had testified that these surveys are very important “trade secrets” because while it is fairly easy to survey its own customers, it’s very, very difficult to survey a competitor’s customers. Information that wasn’t shared with the jurors is what has triggered a lot of the red lights and such. District Judge Lucy Koh told Samsung earlier this week that they were not allowed to introduce any documents that shows that the iPhone was inspired by Sony products which was an attempt to weaken Apple positions that the iPhone was an original design copied by Samsung.

This is all pretty ridiculous. I mean honestly, how does Samsung’s phones even remotely look like an Apple product? I think they’re just trying to eliminate their competition through backside ways instead of making the better product. In fact, they probably know that their product is becoming worthless because of how advanced the Android phones and tablets are becoming. I really can’t wait for them to start bullying ASUS now. Apple seriously needs to back off and let the people who are innovating the market get the spotlight. They haven’t been able to make something better than current Android phones because iOS isn’t an open platform.

I’m sure if they were to make it an open platform there would be a lot of things coming out of the wood work making some court cases irrelevant. I really don’t understand why this company is so focused on getting money out of supposed “damages.” People have preferences and a simple double tap on the screen shouldn’t be patented or have any right to be patented. Talk about limiting the creativity in the industry.

What do you think? Has this litigation finally gone off the deep end? Is it a worthless cause? Do you think that the court will rule in Apple’s favor or Samsungs?

source: NY Times