Sun, Aug 12, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Samsung takes on Apple over phone features’ value

Reuters, SAN JOSE, California

An Apple Inc expert witness testified on Friday that consumers would be willing to pay US$100 for three patented smartphone features that are at issue in its high stakes trial against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

John Hauser, a marketing professor at MIT, said he surveyed consumers over the Internet about how much they would pay for some of the technology in the lawsuit, like scrolling and multi-touch, which Apple claims Samsung stole from the US company.

However, Samsung hammered Hauser on whether his study actually relates to real world customer decision-making.

Additionally, Apple patent portfolio director Boris Teksler described the company’s licensing strategy, saying he could count “on one hand” the number of instances it has permitted other companies to use its design patents. Teksler did not name those companies.

Apple and Samsung are going toe-to-toe in a patents dispute mirroring a struggle for industry supremacy between two rivals that control more than half of worldwide smartphone sales.

The US company accuses Samsung of copying the design and some features of its iPad and iPhone, and is asking for a sales ban in addition to monetary damages.

The South Korean company, which is trying to expand in the US, says Apple infringed some of its key wireless technology patents.

As the second week of trial drew to a close in a San Jose, California federal court, most of the testimony focused on technical patent features.

Samsung attorney William Price asked Hauser why he didn’t tell jurors what consumers would pay for features like additional computer memory on different tablet models. Those could be compared to the real world prices that Apple charges, Price said.

Teksler took the stand after Hauser finished. While Apple is open to licensing certain categories of patents, Teksler said, it is highly resistant to giving other companies access to technology it deems core to its “unique user experience.”

All of the patents in Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung fall into that special category, Teksler said.

After Samsung released its Galaxy S phone in the summer of 2010, Teksler said, former Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook, personally contacted Samsung to complain.

Apple is one of Samsung’s biggest customers for smartphone and tablet component parts.

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