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Samsung: Apple’s patented software features are as trivial as cup holders in a car

Published Apr 21st, 2014 10:41AM EDT
2014 Apple vs Samsung Lawsuit: Car Cup Holders

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An expert witness called by Samsung on Friday to testify on its behalf in the second U.S. Apple vs Samsung trial challenged an Apple witness who testified earlier, refuting some of his findings and trivializing a study on Apple’s mobile software features performed, CNET reports. Specifically, University of Pennsylvania professor of marketing David Reibstein said that Apple’s survey to determine whether people would buy certain features is like asking them whether they’d choose a car based on its cup holders.

Apple’s witness, MIT Sloan School of Management John Hauser, conducted a study that showed Apple’s patented features found on Samsung devices made them more appealing to customers. Hauser surveyed 507 Samsung handset owners and 459 Samsung tablet owners to measure how many of them would buy devices with certain features, and how much they’d pay to have those features on mobile devices.

Reibstein said that the study was flawed, because it didn’t take into account some major factors such as phone brand, and therefore it generated data that couldn’t be relied upon. Reibstein added that the survey did not ask participants about other important features including operating system and battery life. In a similar manner, he said, a car study could overlook key car features and instead focus on minor things like cup holders to determine what car a buyer would purchase.

“There were several [factors that drove consumers’ phone purchasing decisions],” Reibstein said. “None of them included the … patented features that are the focal point in this case.”

“You’re trying to predict what it is people will buy, and if you just focus on smaller aspects and a couple major factors, you’re going to miss what would drive sales and why people would buy your products,” Reibstein said.

However, a different Samsung witness, NYU Stern School of Business professor Tulin Erdem, found in a study that factors such as the processors, an on-screen QWERTY keyboard or GPS didn’t drive phone sales. Apple attorneys used the opportunity to remark a contradiction between Samsung’s witnesses. Reibstein criticized Hauser for not including in his study the key features Erdem found to be irrelevant for customers when choosing devices. Erdem did not include any of Apple’s patented features in its study

Apple and Samsung are fighting over seven patents in total, with the iPhone maker bringing five patents to the fight. Apple wants over $2 billion in damages from Samsung, while the Korean company asks for $ 7 million in damages for its two patents.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.