Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Aug 2012 22:14 UTC
Legal "The web has been alight these past few weeks with the details of the Apple v. Samsung lawsuit. It's been a unique opportunity to peer behind the curtain of how these two companies operate, as the trial seeks to answer the question: did Samsung copy Apple? But there's actually another question that I think is much more interesting to the future of innovation in the technology industry: regardless of whether the courts say that Samsung copied Apple or not, would we all be better off if we allowed - even encouraged - companies to copy one another?" This is very relevant.
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Why would you want to defend exact copying? The point the original article was trying to make had to do with how Samsung's copying was beneficial. I don't see how exactly copying something is beneficial to anyone. Let's see competitors do their own spins on things rather than making cheap "KIRF" designs -- that'll actually cause innovation.

Note that Samsung didn't associate Green and a Phone, they picked the same sort of silhouette of a phone and set it on a green background. What about a gray background with a green handset? Or a different style of handset? The point is, there are lots of ways to design the icon, Samsung picked to essentially mirror Apple's icon, other many other manufacturers have not.

There isn't any real reason to suspect that Samsung would have come up with that same icon had Apple not designed it first. In some flavors, Samsung's icon even had diagonal stripes behind the handset, just like Apple. Some copying is logical, yes, but at some point you cross the line from "this is the most logical thing to do" to "this is just because we don't feel like coming up with something of our own."

This sort of reminds me of Hyundai-Kia's penchant about a decade ago of copying other makes of cars. One model looked a lot like a Jaguar, another was a riff on a Saab. Many of the design ideas where obvious enough that you could say "well, of course they'd use chrome in that way or slope the roof that way, it's obvious!", and yet no other manufacturer needed to do it to make a decent car. It didn't help innovation, but it did manage to tarnish formerly premium design elements. Thankfully, at some point they stopped doing that and started making some really nice looking cars on their own right. Now, instead of being a cheap knockoff maker, it isn't uncommon for people to talk about how, say, the Sonata has a nicer design than its nearest competitors.

I'd like to see Samsung learn something from its compatriot. Once it does, then we will see more innovation. I'd wager this even: many of the things Samsung has copied from Apple are things that some other design could be better than Apple's. Why not find that better design option by doing real R&D?

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