Samsung has countersued Apple in response to the raft of patent- and trademark-infringment lawsuits that Cupertino launched against it earlier this week. But the Korean electronics giant isn't fighting back against Apple's allegations that it appropriated the iPhone and iPad's look-and-feel. Instead, it's mounting its …
Beer and popcorn required for this, could be a good one.
*seconds the popcorn comment*
*wanders off to pop up a large batch of popcorn and watch the fireworks*
Japan? Europe? Korea? LOLOL
It will be interesting to see if apple is prepared to risk two of its biggest markets - Europe and Japan. This really will be a good show, and hopefully clips the wings of Apple's lawyers against any more such silliness.
And apple never copied from anyone else?
The ipad itself wasn't brand new, just rebranded and copied from someone else.
How quickly Steve Jobs forgets.
I've got a Motion M1400
Its a lot older than an iPad but it does roughly the same job. Does this make Apple a copycat? Or is it that with the arrival of thin displays, lower power processors, dense flash storage and so on*** the tablet has finally become less of a lump.
(Not to mention the absence of 'Windows XP for Tablets' -- "We put the Anchor in Boat Anchor")
Does it have rounded corners because if not, y'know, it's missing that mind-boggling bit of original thinking there.
I like to frequently stab people with the pointy corners of devices that don't think to round the corners...
Shame every phone made since 1990 seems to have rounded corners and be of a rectangular shape....Last I checked, they even show rows of icons....
Rounded corners - Siemens SIMpad
I've got a couple of old Siemens SIMpads which have rounded corners, with colour screens slightly smaller than iPads.
However, all Apple's ideas are completely original, like their Mac GUI, which they (and Microsoft) didn't just copy from Xerox PARC.
Look and feel, prior art?
Let's see, a rectangle with slightly rounded corners and a grid of icons as UI... hmm... where did I put that old USR Palm Pilot from so long ago. Oh wait, my Windows 3.1 desktop should do nicely. Can we agree the icony is ironic?
Years ago didn't Apple threaten Microsoft and Microsoft threaten Apple over copying the idea of gui interfaces. I think they dropped the threats when Xerox threatened to take act against them both over the same thing.
Copying is part of the technology arena................
You are missing an important point Eddy
>USR Palm Pilot from so long ago.
Yeah the Palm Pilot (I hate the USR tag, they did sod all for the company) had a rounded rectangular form and a grid of icons (and a better OS IMHO) BUT....
It wasnt a 16 icon COLOURFUL grid.
So y'see the devil is in the detail, Apple are quite right to sue :)
Ah, just what I was thinking... Palm Pilot/PP II
If Palm had gotten a phone in and thinned the device by 1/2, then Apple would not be able to claim this at all.
Rounded corners are not just a look and feel and comfort matter. They are a NECESSITY, Apple. Right-angle edges break easily under stress. Ask ship and airplane designers. Talk to structural engineers!
If an eye for an eye will make the world blind, will a patent for a patent make the world poor?
Waitaminute... it wasn't those dem bankers that got us in recession and financial meltdown, it was patent trolls?
I note that on this thread and on the thread attached to the article that reported Apple's original writ there is a marked absence of "Phanboi" posting. Sure some people have expressed the opinion that there is perhaps a little too much similarity between the Galaxy S and the 3GS although even they usually have also said that they do not see the same with the Galaxy Tab and the iPad. It is almost as if Apple's very loyal fan-base are, at the least, somewhat uneasy about Cupertino's decision to go to war with their largest component supplier over breaches which, on the face of it, do not amount to that much (even if one accepts Apple's story) and certainly have not done Apple's sales any damage! Indeed I think that they are right to be uneasy because I do not believe that this in reality is about any perceived patent breach - this is IMO about the current state of the smart phone market. We are reaching a point where the smart phone market is on the verge of exploding and it is Android (currently) who appear to be riding the wave at a higher rate of knots than (relatively speaking) than the iOS. Samsung's high end offerings are beginning to represent a real challenge for Apple whilst HTC has reached the point where brand recognition in the marketplace is such that ordinary punters are now asking for that company's phones by name. Furthermore I do not believe that Cupertino dismisses the increase in competition that may be provided by future Nokiasoft phones as readily as some here at El Reg do. All in all the future is looking more challenging for Apple specifically because it is not unlikely that at some point they will no longer dominate the high end of the market - and that is what they really care about. They will IMO always sell well, they know what their customers want and how to design and build it. However, they clearly have decided to use every method they can get away with to protect their market position - that is a dangerous place to be in, Apple may come to regret starting this war.
1) Your post is very long 2) Don't assume things which don't exist
Maybe consider summarising your ideas a bit better, just a suggestion to help your readership.
Yes, Apple may come to regret starting this war. However they also may not, who knows? I suspect you're not in a position to know so, or are you a US patent lawyer?
Would they be better off letting Samsung copying the whole iPhone ideas down, not only shape, similar icons, even down to the packaging? Just look at how Samsung's phones changed before and after the iPhone. They even change the stock Android interface to make it look more the iPhone. Should Apple just turn a bilnd eye on that? For the sake of what?
This is also the same Samsung that apparently went back to their drawing board with their tablets right after the release of the Ipad 2. It's pretty obvious they're copying off a lot of ideas.
You also complain "use every method they can get away with to protect their market position". Well as a company with investors on I'd fully expect them to do so! The investors would be suing the CEO and the board otherwise.
this shows that the iphone or was it Iphone is only design. As such a start up in phones, as Apple is, they must have infringed a hell of a lot of patents. Perhaps Apple feels it it better to be the first to start the war, now when there is this feeling that it is all about design.
I cannot deny it, but Jobs is damned good at a number of things, indeed.
"I cannot deny it, but Jobs is damned good at a number of things, indeed."
I agree, he is. Indeed it would be idle to pretend otherwise. That in fact makes me very curious to know to what extent he was involved in this decision and in what degree he actively (in his heart of hearts) supports it. If there ever was a CEO who understands the market it is S. Jobs, he cannot fail to be aware that this is *potentially* a very dangerous move. I would really love to have been a fly on the wall in the Apple boardroom when they took *that* decision!
The question is...
When all the other companies produced new and interesting interfaces on top of Android...
Why did Samsung slavishly rip off the iPhone?
Yes, I agree, seems to me that Apple is doing a "Microsoft", going from offence to defence.
Seems to happen to all big "leaders" when they achieve the number one pole.
I remember Nokia having a similar case against some French company "copying" their candy bar design years ago. I do not think that case saved Nokia anything in any respect.
Perhaps going from offence to defence signals the start of something "big".
Sometimes I do wonder if the lawyers in big companies have to much power and nothing "clever" to do.
Apple's Ego really has got the better of them this time. Fighting a patent war is one thing, but now taking on a component manufacturer, and not only that a component manufacturer that you rely on is whole new level of stupidity.
All it would take is Samsung to pull the supply of some key component and suddenly Saint Steve would have no Jesus Phones / Fondleslabs ,or what ever Samsung decided to hit, to sell.
If Samsung interfered with component supply then Apple will re-source very quickly elsewhere and Samsung then get a competitor that is $8bn a year better off.
Samsung will also demonstrate to the rest of their customers that they will cut their customers throat at a moments notice if it suits them. Their component customers will start investigating alternatives should Samsung cause any problems for Apple. Why risk going with Samsung if they might take your business down? (That's after they've copied everything of course).
None of this will be good for Samsung's bottom line. And frankly, I'd reckon the CEO of the components business at Samsung is going absolutely ape at the board right now about this.
Not so easy with second sources....
Apple is using customized parts from Samsung. It is not easy for a third party to jump in, as Apple most likely has only the design rights, with no access to the semi mask set or the manufacturing process details. Having the design done in VHDL/whatever is a starting point for a custom part, and you need to run a lot of simulations and optimizations which are linked to the specific library you are using (process specific, ST and Atmel will give you a separate set of libraries to link your design to, for example, and you start the optimization and critical path analysis from scratch each time you move to a new vendor / fab / library). Even with the mask set in hand, moving a product to different fab for the same manufacturer, it is not trivial and takes time until you get qualification data (minimum of three wafer lots processed all the way, with statistical parametric data fully analyzed before you can turn on the volume at the new plant).
Changing the parts (and PCB) to get something compatible in the same form factor with full software backwards compatibility is not a weekend affair either, and is likely to require new FCC/CE/UL certifications plus internal tests to check for issues (add a couple of weeks at a minimum) before the new rev can go into production.
"Hello, Steve? Sorry to inform you, but we had a contamination problem in our CPU wafer fab, and it will take 10 weeks to resolve...." could be a serious issue for Apple. Steve did not really think this one through - I agree it is time for popcorn :)
Icons in visual range unite us!
As well as a 'popcorn' icon I'd probably go as far as a 'pram with toys flying out it' icon? Or even a 'lawyer' icon? Reminds me - I heard a joke the other day, it's probably ancient:-
What's the difference between a lawyer on the road and a snake on the road?
Skid marks in front of the snake.
Here's the thing...
The point that the commenters here and elsewhere seem (to me) to be missing in all of this "My Grandma's Morris Minor thad round corners LONG before the iPhone, so THERE!" is that, once you get past functional design (You can't design an efficient airplane with both wings on the same side, for example) aesthetic design and trade dress are common ways that you differentiate your product from someone else's.
In the cellphone design space, there are a LOT of ways to make your product look DIFFERENT from someone else's and ONE way to make it look the SAME.
Looking at other cellphones, you can see that some are taller than the iPhone, or wider, or have visibly larger- or smaller-radius rounded corners, or concave or convex tops or sides, or trim/detailing placed here or there, or different styling to the interface (vis. WinPhones), or any number of ways to differentiate and make any particular product stand out.
...And then there are ones with essentially the same physical proportions, essentially the same diameter corner rounds, essentially the same detailing and styling, and essentially the same styling to the icons as used on, and identified in the public mind with, the iPhone.
In the one case, the manufacturer is trading on the reputation and appeal of its brand and its particular engineering and style to sell its product. In the other the manufacturer is trading on the reputation and appeal of another company's popularly-desired product, saying "You can get something that's JUST LIKE that but cheaper, from us!"
If Ford made a car that, except for the badge, was physically identical on the outside to a Mercedes or a Ferrari, you can bet that those makers would be taking Ford to court over it. That styling is what sets their products apart to the casual observer. If you turn to stare enviously as a Ferrari drives by, you are extrapolating everything that you identify with the concept of "Ferrari" -- power, speed, hot babes, and the money to afford all of them -- with the external appearance of that car going by. This is why companies defend their appearance and trade dress so vigorously.
From what I've read, Apple is not saying that all your round-cornered rectangle are belong to them -- they're saying that they will aggressively defend their designs from any efforts to make a similar product that is visually indistinguishable from theirs to the average observer.
I don't really see that as being unreasonable.
Similar styling doesn't always lead to litigation...
@ Mike Moyle....
Similar scenario about 15 years ago when the same design studio ( Pininfarina) designed the Ferrari 456 and the Peugeot 406 Coupe. No one at Fiat / Ferrari sued over the 'look and feel' of their 2 door coupe being ripped off, but then Ferrari probably weren't that worried about losing customers to a downmarket version of a very similar product.... unlike Apple. IMO suing is the biggest compliment they could have given samsung.
So I go and stare at the photo.
Which takes me back to 1978/79 when the VW Golf was launched, followed very quickly by the Mazda 3 hatchback. Since Golf was basically inventing a new shape of car, how come they didn't sue Mazda for taking their shape and rounding all the corners? (or industrial espionage, for that matter ...)
Do you mean the Mazda 323?
If so well that's a good example since it shows how a similar shape of car can be made to look quite distinctive from the competition. Which is, however, quite the opposite of what Samsung does.
Don't know about the Mazda issue, but the Golf wasn't VW's first hatchback, that honour belongs to the Sirocco.
Why not a 'hubris' icon?
Oh wait, it's OK, I've found it!
The Full MS vs. Apple Story
If you are going to comment you should have the facts straight.
This legal lunacy just goes to show just how bad the patent system has degenerated.
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