Kare: Samsung Copying Apple Was a Choice, Not a Requirement

Posted in Apple, Apple News on 17/08/2012 by Chris Hauk


Former Apple employee and Mac icon designer Susan Kare took the stand in the Apple vs. Samsung trial last wek, and was called back by her former employer today to counter testimony from one of Samsung’s designers. Kare was asked about the testimony of Jeeyeun Wang, who had described some of Samsung’s design choices as functional necessities. Ms. Kare disagreed.

The Verge:

“What’s important on a touchscreen is that there’s a target for your finger,” she said when asked about the containers. “That doesn’t need to be enclosed in a fence… It’s an option, not a requirement.”

Kare’s statement was in response to Wang’s testimony that Samsung’s design choices — icons with background image “containers” around them, and the use of a green phone icon — were functional necessities.

Apple’s attorney, Reachel Krevans delved into the shape of the containers. iOS uses boxes with rounded corners, something that the company says Samsung copied. Kare said choosing that shape was not the only option. Containers were often used as “a metaphor for a real-world button,” she said, and there are “all kinds of ovals and circles and squares” on real-world devices.

Kare said she didn’t think a classic handset was the only way to represent a phone either. She said it “could be a pad of numbers, could be a shape of a generic mobile phone.” Wang has testified that Samsung did try options like that during the design process, but came back to the handset graphic because it was the most recognizable option for users.

Samsung attorney Charles Verhoeven attacked Kare’s opinions on usability. “You didn’t consider how they worked, did you?” he asked about her icon study.

Kare, whose original testimony had focused on whether Apple and Samsung’s icons looked alike, concurred. “Not to compare whether there was substantial visual similarity,” she said.


Chris Hauk

MacTrast Senior Editor, and self-described "magnificent bastard," Chris Hauk owns Phoenix Rising Services and writes for everyone's favorite "bad movie" website, Big Bad Drive-In.

His first Apple product was an iPod Classic 9 years ago, and he has since added a MacBook Pro, a number of iPads, iPhones, and multiple Apple TVs to his collection.

He lives somewhere in the deep Southern part of America. Yes, he has to pump in both sunshine and the Internet.