The ongoing legal battle between Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. has turned into a protracted opera of sorts, with every bit of drama any scriptwriter could churn out. At the base of the matter is Apple’s claim that Samsung is little more than a company that lives off making copycat devices based on Apple’s popular design cues.
Apple has been seeking massive damages from Samsung largely due to their opinion that the Korean company’s devices were so similar to Apple’s that consumers were ostensibly deceived. This in turn led to Apple losing out on considerable sales revenues for its own products.
In a hearing at the US District Court in San Jose, California a couple of days back, Apple called on a ‘survey research expert’ as a witness. The expert’s name was Kent Van Liere, and he was asked to reveal the findings of a set of polls conducted on mall visitors. The polls essentially wanted to ascertain whether Samsung’s devices (that is, its Galaxy Tab series of Android tablets, and Galaxy series of smartphones) could be associated/ confused with Apple devices.
Sure enough, he responded in the affirmative. Van Liere said that 38% of the respondents associated images of the Samsung Fascinate smartphone with Apple. 37% of the same group associated an image of the Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G with the Cupertino company.
The responses for Samsung’s Android tablets were a lot more positive though. Only 6% of the respondents associated the branded version of a Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet with Apple, compared to 19% of them for an unbranded version of the Tab.
Samsung’s legal team contended that Van Liere’s study had omitted a crucial question – that of whether the surveyed respondents would actually consider buying the devices that they’d been shown. Moreover, the fact that none of the respondents were shown the devices physically, and that the tablet sample group only contained a Barnes & Noble Nook ereader, apart from the Tab 10.1 and iPad, made it a lot easier for the respondents to associate the Samsung tablet with that of Apple.