Patent News | "Ex-Apple Designer Testifies at Samsung Patent Trial"

By: Joel Rosenblatt
Category: Patent News

Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Former Apple Inc. graphics designer Susan Kare, who invented the smiling computer icon for the original Macintosh, was called to testify in the company’s patent infringement trial against Samsung Electronics Co. in federal court in San Jose, California.

Kare began her career at Apple in 1982 as a screen graphics and digital font designer, according to her website. Now at Susan Kare User Interface Graphics in San Francisco, she has done images for Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp., according to the site.

Kare, in a June court filing, said Apple asked her to testify about “visual appearances of design” depicted in an Apple patent to support the claims, or elements, of the company’s intellectual property. She was asked to explain possible alternatives to the protected design, and the relationship between functionality and visual appearances of designs, according to the filing.

Apple and Samsung are the world’s largest makers of the high-end handheld devices that blend the functionality of a phone and a computer. The trial is the first before a U.S. jury in a battle being waged on four continents for dominance in a smartphone market valued by Bloomberg Industries at $219.1 billion. Each company is trying to convince jurors at the trial that its rival infringed patents covering designs and technology.

Apple may use Kare’s testimony today to advance its claims that Samsung phones infringe the software design of the iPhone - - an argument the company started making last week with Scott Forstall, the company’s senior vice president in charge of iPhone and iPad software. He gave jurors the first detailed testimony about one of the software patents at issue.