Apple patent trial: Samsung scrutinised iPhone to improve Galaxy UI

A document prepared by Samsung engineers that compares features of the iPhone with the Galaxy S has been admitted into evidence in the ongoing Apple versus Samsung trial in the US
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

The ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Samsung has taken an interesting twist as a document that directly compares the iPhone with the Galaxy 'S1' has been admitted into evidence.

Apple iPhone
An internal document reveals that Samsung closely compared Apple's iPhone with its Galaxy S smartphone.

The two smartphone manufacturers have been embroiled in litigation over alleged copyright and patent infringements in a number of countries around the world, with both companies scoring victories and defeats in different jurisdictions.

However, a translation of a report prepared by the South Korean company in 2010 that directly compares the iPhone to the Galaxy S — referred to as the 'S1' — has been admitted into evidence in the case currently being heard in the US district court of northern California. Apple has already claimed in the case Samsung "slavishly" copied elements of its design for its smartphones and tablets.

Areas for improvement

In the document, obtained by AllThingsD, Samsung compares hundreds of aspects between the two devices, pointing out key differences and areas for improvement in its own product along the way. In identifying the weak points of the Galaxy S1, the company's engineers also proposed ways in which the device and UI could be updated.

Section 5, for example, compares elements of the home screen on the devices, noting that the iPhone does not allow the placing of duplicate icons on the home screen but that the S1 "causes user confusion because multiple icons for the same menu option can be placed on the home screen".

The note at the bottom of the slide concludes that the screen needs to be modified so that duplicates cannot be placed on the home screen.

The document also includes an overall summary comparison of features of the iPhone and S1 side-by-side.

Patent infringement?

While the 132-page document is unlikely to help Samsung's defence team, Apple will still have to prove that the company infringed on specific patents or specific design elements of the iPhone — a decision that will ultimately be taken by a 10-person jury.

In the UK, the patent dispute between the companies resulted in a ruling that Samsung's Galaxy tablet designs do not infringe on Apple's iPad. As a result Apple has been ordered to display a notice on its website stating that Samsung did not infringe upon its tablet designs.

Samsung had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

Updated to include response from Samsung:

"Samsung benchmarks many peer companies.  In fact, these are typical competitive analyses routinely undertaken by many companies in many industries - including Apple. Samsung stands by its culture of continuous improvement and innovation.  We are very proud of the product innovations driven by our more than 50,000 designers and engineers around the world who have made Samsung's products the products of choice," the company said.

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