Samsung designer: We didn’t steal Apple’s precious gestures

A "slide to unlock" doormat inspired by the iPhone's unlocking mechanism.

Above: A "slide to unlock" doormat inspired by the iPhone's unlocking mechanism.

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Locked in a legal tussle with Apple, Samsung strongly denies swiping patented features from the iPhone maker.

Yesterday in a San Jose, Calif. court, the two tech giants butted heads over five Apple patents, including one covering Apple’s slide-to-unlock feature, reports Recode. Apple is suing Samsung for more than $2 billion because it believes Samsung is using its patented technology in its devices. Samsung denies those claims, and it is countersuing Apple for infringing on two of its own patents in its iPhones and iPads.

Asked if Samsung ripped off Apple’s unlocking gesture, a veteran Samsung designer replied, “Absolutely not.”

“If we were to work on the same thing as Apple, that would not give us any advantage in terms of differentiating our products, so that would not make any sense,” Youngmi Kim, who has worked on Samsung’s design team since 2004, said through a translator.

One internal Samsung document, uncovered for the trial, recommends that Samsung make its finicky unlock system more like the iPhone’s slide-to-unlock system — complete with a side-by-side pictures of the Samsung Galaxy Victory and the iPhone. But Kim dismissed the document because Samsung had already implemented a fix by 2009, while the document is from 2010.

Another internal usability study recommends adding text or images so people more easily understand how to unlock their phones. But Kim said Samsung never implemented this Apple-inspired feature.

The trial roars on today in the heart of Silicon Valley, continuing a long-running series of lawsuits between the two tech giants. Apple is demanding Samsung pay a $40 royalty for each Samsung device running software infringing on its patents, which could total $2 billion.

“Apple revolutionized the market in personal computing devices,” Apple attorneys wrote in court filings. “Samsung, in contrast, has systematically copied Apple’s innovative technology and products, features and designs, and has deluged markets with infringing devices.”

“Samsung has been a pioneer in the mobile device business sector since the inception of the mobile device industry,” Samsung attorneys countered. “Apple has copied many of Samsung’s innovations in its Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad products.”

Two years ago, a federal jury determined Samsung was infringing on Apple patents and ordered the Korean tech giant to pay Apple around $900 million. Samsung is appealing that decision and has been allowed to continue selling products using that technology.

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More information:

Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous subsidiaries and affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest Sout... read more »

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