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Samsung seeks to undermine Apple's 'conjoint analysis'

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Apple? Samsung? Google? patent? infringement?

Samsung called three experts to the witness stand on Friday to convince the jury that the mere semblance of the contested features in Apple and Samsung mobile devices does not constitute patent infringement. One of Samsung's chief targets is the Hauser marketing study that helped establish the monetary award in the 2012 trial.

All three of Samsung's experts were academics, two in marketing research and one a programming expert: David Reibstein, professor of marketing at Wharton School of Business, a specialist in quantitative aspects of marketing, author of seven marketing books; Jeffrey Chase, professor of computer science at Duke University and a 32-year veteran of software development; and Tlin Erdem, professor of business and marketing at NYU School of Business, an expert in the field of consumer decision making and marketing research methods.

Undermining Hauser

David Reibstein's testimony was directed at undermining John Hauser, an MIT marketing professor, and the analytical work he did for Apple for this trial to quantify the damage claim. Hauser used a marketing study, called a conjoint analysis, in which survey takers compare similar features on products and indicate which product they would buy.

Reibstein testified that Hauser's conjoint study cannot be used to predict what phones consumers would have bought unless all major decision drivers were taken into account, not a selected slice as Hauser did.

Reibstein testified that Hauser's results are therefore invalid and do not capture 'willingness to buy.' He described a test survey he conducted that, according to him, shows respondents' confusion or lack of understanding of the features contested in the case. At the conclusion of the direct examination, Reibstein testified Hauser's study would have been rejected by a peer reviewed academic journal.

In cross-examination, Apple's lawyer James Bennett aggressively attacked Reibstein's methodology and execution of his test survey in an attempt to establish an element of bias and lack of statistical validity.

The focus of Tlin Erdem's testimony were her research findings on 'complex markets' as she defined the smartphone and tablet market. She also offered criticism of the Hauser study.

Erdem explained how consumers in complex markets rely on heuristics or shortcuts in their product choices and that the major product features are the primary decision factors. She described a research method used in business and academia that applies eye tracking technology and suggested that an appropriate tool for the research question of consumer choice of smartphones. Her application of the method demonstrated significant information skipping by her research subjects when making a smartphone choice and that major attributes drove the choices.

Erdem concluded with her expert opinion that the features contested in the case do not count when it comes to consumer choice of these products.

Under cross examination, Erdem was asked if she stood by her testimony in deposition that only technos and crazy people cared about the contested features. It was a joke, she retorted.

Source code

Jeffrey Chase testified he analysed Samsung's source code and contradicted the work of Apple's expert Alex Snoeren of UC San Diego. Chase claimed Snoeren made fundamental errors in the analysis of background sync adaptors. According to Chase, Snoeren did not meet the burden of proof as far as the contested features whereas Chase's own analysis found no infringement in the source code.

Chase's testimony included a demonstration of background sync between devices available in Windows Mobile 5 already in 2005 C well before Apple's patent 414 was filed. Microsoft did it first per Chase, both for structured data such as calendar and contacts as well as for email. Microsoft's source code anticipated all the Apple claims in this litigation. Moreover, Novell also offered background sync in Linux before Apple's iPhone.

The technical aspect of Dr. Chase's testimony was a handful for the attorneys. Cross-examination tended to be a rehash of direct testimony and appeared to neither rile or undermine the witness.

- Magnus Thordarson
??EE Times

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