Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) asked Samsung to alter the design of its phones and tablets so they looked less like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices, according to e-mail evidence presented by the iPhone maker. An Apple lawyer showed internal Samsung e-mails from 2010 to jurors in the two companies’ ongoing patent infringement trial in San Jose, California.
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The February 16, 2010, documents describe minutes from a meeting between Samsung “Senior Designer Cho” and Google executives, according to Bloomberg. “Since it is too similar to Apple, make it noticeably different starting with the front side,” the message says, referring to one of Samsung’s tablets. A second e-mail from February 22, 2010, which was sent to more than 30 Samsung employees, asked them to be aware that an item on the list addresses a need to “respond to the issue of design similarity” for the S series. “Google is demanding distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad,” the e-mail said. “Consider design distinguishability for the items demanded by Google while maintaining the current design, and in regards to each carrier’s demands.”
Harold McElhinny, a lawyer representing Apple, also asked Samsung designer Kim Jin Soo during a cross-examination if he recalled the e-mail exchanges. Kim, who was speaking through an interpreter, denied knowing about it. “Whether that is a fact or not, I cannot confirm that for you, and whether such statement was made, if it was the official position of Google, or by someone made” at a different level of the company, “I don’t know such things,” Kim said.
Apple sued Samsung in April 2011 after accusing it of infringing its design patents for smartphones and tablets. Samsung countersued, alleging Apple violated its wireless patents. Apple is claiming at least $2.5 billion in damages and wants to ban several Samsung products from sale in the U.S.
Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the case, encouraged the CEOs of both companies to conduct settlement talks and said a jury verdict posed risk for both sides.
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