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The Samsung versus Apple lawsuit keeps getting weirder: Graphic designers are testifying that they got confused between the iPhone and the Galaxy S3, and Samsung tried to use sci-fi movies to prove that Apple didn’t invent tablets. No matter what side you’re on in this case, you can’t help but admit that the whole thing seems a little bit ridiculous as both sides argue over tiny details and use unconventional evidence.
Samsung was trying to use sci-fi movies as evidence in court, but the judge decided that they couldn’t do that. The footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey and a British television show called Tomorrow People was introduced as background in 2011. Samsung didn’t reveal their intention to use it as evidence with enough time for Apple to develop a counter argument, so Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal decided that the scenes could not be used in court. Judge Lucy Koh upheld Grewal’s decision. The footage from the movie and television show depicted characters using tablet-like devices, which would prove that Apple did not create the idea for tablets (which is one of the points that the lawsuit argues.) It would be considered prior art, which The Verge defined as “pre-existing creations the would call into question the originality and validity of Apple's design patents.”
Samsung’s lawyers also introduced the Knight Ridder (also known as the 1994 Fidler), a tablet from 1994, and the Compaq TC1000 tablet as part of their case that Apple’s patent is invalid, but The Verge says that Samsung changed their minds and wanted to use the old tablets to prove that they hadn’t infringed on any patents. Because they changed the way they planned to use the evidence, it was thrown out.
Apple has brought in a string of graphic designers to testify that Samsung’s Captivate, Epic 4G, and Galaxy S3 look similar to the iPhone. Susan Kare is an independent graphics specialist who created icons for the original Macintosh computer. She took the stand to tell the court that there are many similar elements between Samsung and Apple’s phones, so much so that she mistakenly picked up a Samsung phone from a bunch of phones on a table – she thought it was an iPhone.
The judge in this case is facing the same frustrations as anyone who buys a new phone, only to have the updated version released immediately after. The lawyers on both sides are constantly arguing whether the phones being shown in the courtroom are a specific version, or if they are running certain revisions of the software. The presiding judge, Lucy Koh, is getting exasperated with the many versions and updates. “How many versions and revisions of these phones are produced?” she asked the court. “Give me a break!”
Tell me about it, your honor. It feels like phones become outdated by the time you get them out of the box.
Right now, both sides are going back and forth squabbling over minute details. Judge Koh has even demanded that each side limit themselves to one set of objections and responses to evidence. As both sides argue over bezels and the rounded edges of square icons, I can only imagine the headaches the judge is getting. No wonder she is limiting the objections.