Samsung's designer testifies: Copy Apple? Never

This week, Samsung's senior designer Jeeyuen Wang took to the stand, dismissing claims of copying the rival firm.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

This week in court, Samsung has gone on the offensive to try and quash claims that it copied Apple's designs, and therefore did not infringe patents that the Cupertino-based corporation owns.

What was on the cards? The design of Apple's iOS home screen, icons and other graphic elements of the system.

In order to convince the jury that their designs are different, Samsung brought out Jeeyuen Wang, Samsung's senior designer. Sister site CNET reports that Wang testified Tuesday afternoon with the help of an interpreter and flat-out dismissed claims that the technology giant copied Apple's designs.

In an attempt to explain away internal Samsung documents, previously submitted as evidence, Wang told the jury why the reports contained suggestions on how to make features on its devices look and function in a similar fashion to Apple's productions -- including the iPhone and iPad.

Wang admitted the company completed research on competing products. "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.

Samsung's senior designer also mentioned that it took the input of hundreds of staff members globally to work on Samsung's phone designs, which resulted in very long hours and sleep deprivation.

But what about the iconography? The designer said that Samsung referred to the phone app icon as a "dumbell" and it was already "in place" before she joined the firm. However, this was not the only graphic in contention; Apple also argued that Samsung's photo app, adorned with a flower, mimicked the sunflower found on iOS devices.

"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 response, through the cross-examination Apple brought out Samsung documents that highlighted changes in the iconography the rival firm used. The documents showed roughly four years of changes, including two iPhone screens set against an Android and Samsung-designed Bada home screen.

Side-shots of the pre-release Galaxy S1 next to the iPhone were then displayed, as part of the 2010 "relative evaluation report". Apple's lawyers asked how Samsung made the transition from the firm's original number pad icon to the contested "dumbell".

Wang responded, saying that she had not seen the original number pad icon before, and it didn't work as an icon anyway. She commented:

"This is a very confusing icon. 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."

In addition to the witness, it appears the judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, has had her fill of 'courtroom theatrics'. She told the court on Tuesday after Apple raised objections to one of Samsung's witnesses, trying to block Tim Williams, Ph.D., one of Samsung's expert witnesses:

"I want papers. I don't trust what any lawyer tells me in this courtroom. I want to see actual papers."

For continual, jargon-free coverage of the saga from the beginning, check out the Apple v. Samsung timeline.

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