August 13, 2012

Case Between Apple And Samsung Gets Down To The Nitty Gritty

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

If broken down, feature by feature, how much would you be willing to pay for an Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S III? According to John Hauser, a marketing professor at MIT, consumers are willing to pay $100 for the patents at stake in the California courtroom drama between Apple and Samsung.

Hired by Apple. Hauser took the stand on Friday to explain the results of an online survey he conducted to determine the value of smartphone features, such as multi-touch and springing scrolling, as he testified against Samsung.

Samsung was less-than-impressed, asking Hauser how many consumers take into account these kinds of specific features when purchasing a smartphone or tablet.

There were many public revelations and high-profile testimonies during the first week of trial, including appearances by Apple Senior Vice President of iOS software Scott Forstall and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. Last week, during their second week of the trial, the debate returned from “who copied whom” to a more patent-focused one as technical specifications became more involved.

Apple hopes to win $2.5 million from Samsung in this case.

When talking specifically about tablets, Hauser said consumers would be willing to pay $90 for the same multi-touch and springing features, $10 less than what they´d pay for these features in a smartphone.

A Samsung attorney, William Price, asked Hauser why he didn´t consider the price consumers would pay for other, technical features of these devices, such as extra memory.

Hauser then said while he was confident in his work and the way he carried it out, his results did not directly correspond with what consumers would actually pay for a tablet.

Following Hauser, Apple patent portfolio director Boris Teksler took the stand, describing Apple´s licensing strategy, saying he could count “on one hand” the number of cases in which the Cupertino company has allowed other companies to use their design patents, though he did not point out these companies by name.

According to Teksler, Apple isn´t quick to hand out any technology they deem critical to their “unique user experience.”

"We do so with rare exception knowing we're not enabling someone to build a clone product," said Teksler.

Following the 2010 release of the Samsung Galaxy S Phone, Teksler said late CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook placed personal calls to Samsung´s top brass to schedule a meeting to discuss just how similar the S Phone looked to the iPhone.

“We were quite shocked,” Teksler said. “They were a trusted partner.”

Two months after this meeting, Teksler said Apple approached Samsung with "a number of options for obtaining a cost-effective license to our patent portfolio.”

A number of these patents, however, were quite limited and restricted Samsung from making smartphones which adopted any of Apple´s “distinctive industrial design, software platforms, or feature sets."

While Apple is suing Samsung for “ripping off” their design patents and trade dress, Samsung has returned fire, accusing Apple of infringing upon some of their wireless technology patents.

The case continues this week, with Teksler taking the stand once more today.