Apple design expert Peter Bressler recreates Roger Fidler’s tablet prototype to point out major design differences

Wed, Aug 22, 2012

Legal, News

Well the Samsung/Apple trial has certainly had its share of interesting moments. And though both parties rested their case last week, this final tidbit of news is worth covering.

As part of Samsung’s defense, they called up Roger Fidler to the stand. Fidler is a tablet visionary, so to speak, and Samsung argues that Fidler’s tablet prototypes from the early 90s serve as prior art to Apple’s iPad patents.

Samsung is countering by saying that the 1994 video of Mr Fidler discussing his tablet- which looks noticeably similar to the iPad- shows that the idea of a tablet was public knowledge for many years before they even created their version.

As a result, they argue, there is no way that they are in breach of the patent that Mr Jobs filed for the device in 2004.

But interestingly enough, Apple’s expert design witness Peter Bressler went through the painstaking effort of creating an exact replica of the tablet device Fidler worked on back in the early 1990s when he headed up the Knight Ridder Information Design Lab. Note, though, that the prototype in question never made it to market.

In any event, the lengths to which Bressler went to recreate the tablet are worth mentioning and were first detailed by CNET.

“I went to Missouri with a model maker laser scanner and digitized the surface of (the) model, photographed them, measured them so that we could fabricated it to be exactly the same…right down to the scratches and the paint,” Bressler testified.

Bressler, with the recreated tablet in hand, explained that it differs quite significantly from Apple’s iPad and associated design patents. For one, Bressler explained that Fidler’s tablet prototype does not have edge to edge glass like the iPad. Further, Bressler pointed out that the Fidler tablet “had cutouts for memory cards and a stylus”, something which the iPad obviously does not have.

Closing arguments in the case were today and jury deliberations will begin on Wedndesday.

And quickly, below is a promo video detailing Fidler’s efforts to get a tablet computer up and off the ground. ┬áThe video below was created by newspaper publisher Knight Ridder and describes a tablet housing an interactive newspaper capable of blending text, video, animations, audio and graphics together.


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