An important component of Apple's legal case against Samsung is demonstrating that its brand suffered dilution due to Samsung's devices, and a survey discussed today found that over 50 percent of respondents associated the design of two Samsung phones with Cupertino.
Apple witness Kent Van Liere took the stand in San Jose today to discuss the studies he'd conducted. In the first, he showed participants images of the Samsung Fascinate and Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch; they were also shown the BlackBerry Storm as a control device. When asked if they associated the devices with any other phone, 52 percent named Apple when looking at the Fascinate, while 51 percent said the same for the S II Epic 4G Touch. 14 percent associated the Storm with the iPhone manufacturer.
The second survey attempted to measure if consumers are confused by the accused devices when seeing them used in everyday situations. Participants were shown a video of an individual using either the Galaxy 10.1 with its front branding removed, or one with the Samsung name intact. A video of the Nook Color served as the control in this instance. The second test revealed a lower rate of confusion; 43 percent named Apple when viewing the unbranded tablet, but that number dropped to 30 percent when viewing the branded tablet. After subtracting the percentage of people that mistakenly associated the Nook Color with Apple — part of the methodology of both studies — the net confusion dropped down to just nine percent and six percent, respectively.
McDonald's makes an appearance
The numbers were enough for Van Liere to conclude that there was confusion in the marketplace, but it didn't stop Samsung attorney Bill Price from aggressively attacking his reports and methodology. Price suggested that due to the stature of both Samsung and Apple in the smartphone industry, it would be natural for consumers to associate Apple with Samsung's devices — and vice-versa. If a consumer looked at a Burger King and associated it with McDonald's, Price said, that wouldn't necessarily constitute any type of copying on Burger King's part. "You don't know that from common sense?" he asked.
Van Liere defended his study, saying that guarding against built-in market awareness is one reason why the study included the BlackBerry Storm control group in the first place. "So if that's true, that would be netted out by the control."