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Friday, July 20, 2012, 06:57 pm PT (09:57 pm ET)

Judge denies two more Samsung proposals ahead of jury trial

Judge Lucy Koh on Friday denied two Samsung-proposed definitions of disputed Apple patent tems, and instead ended up using wording taken directly from the iPhone maker's original patent filing to describe the claims.

As FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller points out, Judge Koh's supplemental claim construction order, adds to the mounting number of unfavorable pre-trial decisions for Samsung ahead of the company's upcoming jury trial against Apple.

Samsung asked the court to define the previously disputed terms regarding Apple's U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381 for "List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display" and No. 7,864,163 for a "Portable electronic device, method, and graphical user interface for displaying structured electronic documents."

Apple is asserting claim 19 from the '381 property which is commonly referred to as the "overscroll bounce" or "rubber-banding" patent.

From claim 19 of the '381 patent:
[…]instructions for displaying a first portion of an electronic document; instructions for detecting a movement of an object on or near the touch screen display; instructions for translating the electronic document displayed on the touch screen display in a first direction to display a second portion of the electronic document, wherein the second portion is different from the first portion, in response to detecting the movement; instructions for displaying an area beyond an edge of the electronic document and displaying a third portion of the electronic document, wherein the third portion is smaller than the first portion, in response to the edge of the electronic document being reached while translating the electronic document in the first direction while the object is still detected on or near the touch screen display; and instructions for translating the electronic document in a second direction until the area beyond the edge of the electronic document is no longer displayed to display a fourth portion of the electronic document, wherein the fourth portion is different from the first portion, in response to detecting that the object is no longer on or near the touch screen display.

Samsung sought to define "electronic document" as "content having a defined set of boundaries that can be visually represented on a screen." Apple countered by saying no extra definition is necessary, though noted it could be beneficial for the jury if the term was defined as ""a document stored in a digital format; for example, an 'electronic document' could be a web page, a digital image, a word processing, spreadsheet or presentation document, or a list of items in a digital format." The Cupertino-based company's description pulls from other claims in the '381 patent which were backed by dictionary definitions.

Judge Koh's order sided heavily with Apple's definition and described an "electronic document" as "a document stored in a digital format. An 'electronic document' includes, but is not limited to, a web page; a digital image; a word processing, spreadsheet or presentation document; or a list of items in a digital format." She went on to note that Samsung's proposal lacked clarity, saying the company's description would "not guide the jury in determining whether something is an electronic document."

Rubber-Banding Patent

Illustration from Apple's '381 "rubber-banding" patent. | Source: USPTO


As for the '163 patent, Samsung proposed the definition of "structured electronic document" should be "an electronic document that includes at least one visual structural element." Apple argued the original wording would suffice, adding that if the court wanted to elaborate it could define the term as "an ‘electronic document,’ as previously defined, that is formatted to differentiate particular blocks or boxes of content in the document from one another," clarifying "a 'structured electronic document' could be, for example, a web page, an HTML or XML document, or a document in which the blocks or boxes of content are defined by a style sheet language."

For the '163 patent claim Judge Koh ordered that no construction is necessary.

Mueller notes that the Korean company already lost the initial claim construction round in April and has been overall unsuccessful in its proposals and pre-trial requests though it remains to be seen whether the court trial will bear the same results.

The Apple v. Samsung jury trial is scheduled to begin on July 30.