An expert witness called to the stand today by Apple described surveys he'd conducted to determine how heavily consumers identify the company with the look of the iPhone and iPad. Hal Poret, a researcher at ORC International, put together studies for each device in preparation for the trial. He took images of the iPad 2, one from straight on and another from an angled view, and blurred the homescreens in each image. Two non-Apple tablets — also with blurred homescreens — served as a control group.
Poret then conducted his survey, asking respondents to look at the images and state which company they associated the various images with. 57.3 overall survey participants associated the first image with Apple, with the angled version coming in at 75.2 percent. Subtracting the average of those that incorrectly chose the control devices resulted in net association numbers of 40.3 percent and 64.4 percent, respectively.
A similar survey was conducted with the iPhone 3GS, using as image with the device's bezel and one without — again with the homescreen blurred. A BlackBerry Storm and Sanyo Zio served as the control devices. In this case, 69 percent of those questioned linked the first image with Apple, while 61 percent did so with the bezel-free version (the net numbers came in at 64.3 percent and 57.3 percent).
The studies serve as a way to quantify "secondary meaning": as Poret described it, "It would basically mean that people have come to know the look of the iPhone so that when they look at it they can tell it's an iPhone just by looking at it." The argument could play an important part in Apple's contention that the look and design of both devices had achieved a significant amount of market mindshare — mindshare that has been diluted by Samsung's products.
However, on cross-examination Samsung attorney Bill Price was all too eager to point out that the study did not measure whether consumers were actually confused by Samsung's products. He also noted that the angled view of the iPad 2 — which had warranted such high association scores in the first place — did not have its home button covered. The image with the lower scores did, in line with the iPhone survey.
Price then began a lengthy attack on Poret's reliability, accusing him of presenting data that didn't focus on the appropriate group of individuals and didn't adhere to the correct timeframe. He suggested several calculations that would have corrected the first error — and dramatically drop the association numbers in the process. Poret called the assertions "random" and "arbitrary," eventually telling the attorney "I can see that you're confused."
"That's great," Price responded. "But let me ask the question and then maybe over drinks sometime you can tell me how confused I am."