Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Apr 2011 21:29 UTC
Legal Well. Raise your hands if you didn't see this one coming. Nobody is safe from Apple's and Microsoft's legal crusade against Android, not even Samsung, which supplies a lot of chips to Apple. Apple has sued Samsung for copying Cupertino's look and feel in various Samsung devices. This is about as surprising as the tides rolling in. Update: And Samsung's going to strike back. Hit 'm hard, Samsung. I don't like you anymore than any of these other patent trolls, but maybe we'll finally see it all crash and burn.
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Not really:

1) The design is influence by technical decisions, some of them possibly covered by patents. I'm talking about stuff that influence air flow, cooling... If there was a research, it can be transformed into a patent.

For example if they used the touch wheel from a classic iPod there would be (rightly) a patent infringement.

2) This is intellectual property after all (kind of) and is protected by copyright (just like software or photographs). So you are not allowed to copy it, but you can use it as an inspiration. If the differences are below a certain percent is considered intellectual property theft.

3) Some design elements can be registered as trade mark (for example the front grid from a BMW can be registered like that).

But both touch wiz and Galaxy S case design differ more than the minimum required from apple products.
The influence is clear, but there is no copy and I don't think branding materials wore used.

Sure both iPhone 3G and Galaxy S have round edges and silver frame, big touchscreen and a button in the middle. But all modern TV-s have a glossy black frame and LCD screen. And I don't want to get into mouse, video cameras...

The apps on both phones have icons on a grid, on multiple screens. But the grid is arranged just like palm and symbian and nokia S40 and... and old Ericsson phones with monochrome display. But Xerox original GUI had icons, so xerox original design was copied by all modern devices from computers to TV interfaces.

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