The jury trial between Apple and Samsung has been raging on for four days now, and isn’t expected to conclude for at least a couple of weeks. The trial has already revealed a number of interesting comments, photos, and various bits of evidence and testimony that has caught our attention.
Another interesting tidbit surfaced yesterday in a NetworkWorld article digging through Scott Forstall’s several month old deposition in the suit), in which Forstall revealed that Steve Jobs very directly and explicitly warned Samsung not to steal their inertial scrolling feature introduced with the original iPhone (as Jobs explained during the January 2007 iPhone keynote in the excerpt below).
There are actually a total of three patents at stake: The 381′ patent (the “rubber band” scrolling effect at the end of a document or page), the ‘915 patent (determining whether a user is using one finger, or attempting a multi-touch gesture), and the ‘163 patent related to the tap-to-zoom feature.
NetworkWorld writer Yoni Heisler did an especially thorough job in digging through the deposition regarding the inertial scrolling patent, and made a number of fascinating observations, including the following comments from Forstall:
Returning to the Forstall’s deposition, Apple’s iOS guru is asked about discussions Steve Jobs seemingly had with Samsung over the rubber banding patent…Forstall responded (emphasis added):
I don’t remember specifics. I think it was just one of the things that Steve said, here’s something we invented. Don’t – don’t copy it. Don’t steal it….Rubber banding is one of the sort of key things for the fluidity of the iPhone and – and all of iOS, and so I know it was one of the ones that Steve really cared about… I actually think that Android had not done rubber banding at some point and it was actually added later. So they actually went form sort of, you know, not yet copying and infringing to – to choosing to copy, which is sad and distasteful…
Forstall also discussed the importance of the feature, and noted that the feature wasn’t just discussed with Samsung on a single occasion, but likely in multiple separate meetings.
I asked our people about it [a tablet], and six months later they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our really brilliant UI guys. He got [rubber band] scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, ‘My God, we can build a phone with this.’ So we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the iPhone.
But I can’t give you a specific recollection of – of Steve, you know, going over rubber banding with – with them in those meetings or not… I expect it came up, because it’s one of the key things we talked – you know, he and I talked about, but I don’t know if it came up there.
I do know that there were specific icons that were discussed where they absolutely ripped us off, and these were – some of those were extreme. One was in merging calls.
The entire article at NetworkWorld goes into more depth and covers a number of additional details, and it’s definitely worth a read. But the take-home message is that Samsung chose to copy features from the iPhone, even after being specifically warned not to.
Add this to the already long list of damning evidence against Samsung in the trial…