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.
Thread beginning with comment 470491
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
thavith_osn
Member since:
2005-07-11

Thing is, it wasn't Palm that started this going, Apple was doing it many years before. Palm took their idea from Apple, and did a much better job of it too.

PenPoint was earlier (at least to manufacturing), so maybe you should have just mentioned them, not Palm.

As for should Apple sue?
I think if someone is ripping off the look & feel, then yes, they have every right to protect that. If they are just copying functionality, then that is another question all together. I think for the sake of everyone, we should never be allowed to sue for that.

If I create a new car, Mercedes shouldn't be able to sue me, but if I create a new car that looks like their SLK, then I think they do have the right to protect that (even if it doesn't drive like one).

(sorry for yet another car analogy - LOL)

Reply Parent Score: 1

umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

If I create a new car, Mercedes shouldn't be able to sue me, but if I create a new car that looks like their SLK, then I think they do have the right to protect that (even if it doesn't drive like one).


Are you sure it's actually illegal? Is this covered by design patent law?

I seem to recall there are commercial kits out there to re-create fancy cars (like a Ferrari on a Fiero chassis for example) - and somehow I doubt they're getting permission from the original car manufacturer to create these kits.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Not only that, have you ever looked at any cars made by Hyundai? They tend to "borrow" design cues from their biggest competitors to the point that on some recent models, you have to squint to make sure it's a lazy "H" symbol as opposed to Honda's vertical "H". Swap the insignias and you'd be hard pressed to tell the two cars apart on first inspection. In the past it was Toyota-inspired styles, and Nissan before that.

As far as I know they haven't been sued for that (yet).

Reply Parent Score: 2

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

If I create a new car, Mercedes shouldn't be able to sue me, but if I create a new car that looks like their SLK, then I think they do have the right to protect that (even if it doesn't drive like one).


I don't know if it is illegal or not here, but I do certainly think it shouldn't be: as long as you don't actually try to sell it as a Mercedes SLK or use their logos you should be allowed to make it downright 100% identical excluding the logos and any possible extra branding.

After all, there are only so many ways of making something and if we allow companies to sue people for creating something even remotely similar we'll sooner or later be in a situation where even creating a simple box is illegal. Besides I just do not support the idea of limiting what one can create as long as they don't try to pose it off as someone else's work.

Reply Parent Score: 5

dragos.pop Member since:
2010-01-08

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.

Reply Parent Score: 1