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Apple sues Samsung over design of phones, tablets

updated 04:20 pm EDT, Mon April 18, 2011

Claims products copy look and feel of iPhone, iPad

Apple is suing South Korea's Samsung over the look and feel of some of its products, says the Wall Street Journal. Court documents were originally submitted on April 15th in the Northern District of California, and allege that several products in particular are violating Apple's intellectual property rights. These include the Nexus S, Epic 4G and Galaxy S 4G smartphones, as well as the Galaxy Tab, the first tablet considered a serious iPad competitor.

"Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple's technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products," the lawsuit complains. Neither Apple nor Samsung have so far commented publicly. The Journal notes that the lawsuit could potentially complicate the companies' already conflicted relationship, in which Samsung supplies drives and chipsets to Apple while also making competing devices.

All of the products are notably based on Google's Android OS. Apple has come under increasing pressure from the platform, which by January this year had grown to seize 29 percent of the US smartphone market, putting it ahead of both iPhones and BlackBerries. Android tablets like the Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom have not had much impact so far, but an increasing number of products are expected by the end of the year.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If you can't innovate...


    >>>Apple is suing South Korea's Samsung over the look and feel of some of its products

    Look and feel? Pleeese.
    Touchscreens have been around longer than Apple's products. UI may have evolved but that's about it.

    That's like Benz trying to suit everyone for making an automobile with a steering wheel, seats and four wheels. After all, they all copied the "Look and Feel" of the Benz.

    Another useless lawsuit.

  1. chas_m



    Wrenchy has no idea what he's talking about

    as usual. It's pretty clear he hasn't bothered to, you know, LOOK AT THE COMPLAINT or anything ... and claiming Apple can't innovate is just laughable. That's all you've got? Pathetic.

    It would of course never occur to you that Apple might feel they have a clear case of being ripped off? I can imagine of course the hypocritical position you'd take if the suit's litigants were reversed.

    That said, Apple has not had a great track record when it comes to "look and feel" lawsuits. They're quite difficult to win unless you can find a very specific patent that Samsung is violating. It will be interesting to see how far this goes.

  1. Herod

    Joined: Dec 1969


    good for apple

    about time they stand up for itself and their products.

  1. facebook_Timothy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2011


    Apple has become M$

    Hate to say it, but Apple is quickly becoming the Microsoft of the 21st century.

  1. chippie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sour Grapes That Will Come To Nothing: Tablets

    look like tablets, Mobile phones probably only have 3 or 4 basic shapes, monitors look like monitors, evian, perrier and faucet water look the same in the same glass. Shame on Apple, when they start losing market share they go running to the biased U.S. courts. I hope the case is summarily thrown out! After all isn't it the Ios/OSX and the apple emblem that gives apple products their difference? The fabulous R & D and free advertising from sycophantic press and user forums?

  1. bazaarsoft

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nothing to do with actual patent violations

    This has nothing to do with IP - and everything to do with leverage for better component pricing. Samsung is a big component supplier for many Apple devices. If Apple can force them to make changes to hardware/software designs through this litigation (which could cost Samsung a lot of $), then they can cut a deal for better pricing by trading licenses on the violated patents.

    In fact, just the threat of litigation may be enough. Apple has a LOT more money to spend on this kind of stuff than Samsung. I suspect Apple did a financial analysis and decided that the $$ they'd spend on litigation would end up giving them better component pricing in the long run.

    Apple is all about micro-managing the supply chain even more than it micro-manages the user experience and App Store submissions. It's why the iPad still can't be beaten on price.

  1. sportmac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    oh wrenchy and chippie

    if it's not that big a deal than why don't they stick with the phones they've had all these years? why is everyone jumping on apple's way of doing things?

    you can pi$$ and moan all you want (and you have and you will, i'm sure) but that doesn't change the fact that they're copy cats with no innovation of their own.

    and wrenchy, aren't you the total tool that made some tasteless remark about jobs health? why, yes you are. nobody gives a f&ck what you think, you've shown your true colors.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. chippie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @sportmac- Foul Language Is For People Who

    can't express themselves clearly due to lack of vocabulary!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @ sportmac

    Ahhh sportmac. Never once have I made a "tasteless remark" or had ill-wishes towards Steve Jobs and the fact that he has cancer. That is simply just not cool. I dare you to prove me wrong.

    You must have me confused with some other Steve Jobs hater.

  1. ASathin8R

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I can't wait for Apple to...

    go after Google and end all this pre-amble with HTC and Samsung (mind you, at least HTC has adopted a more original design approach to its hardware than Samsung).

    Android is a blatant rip-off of the iOS interface, and I'm not just talking about the way the icons are laid out on the homepage. The whole way of navigating through the device, the way the applications work with their reconfigurable interfaces etc.

    The truth of the matter is that before Apple arrived on the scene with iOS and the iPhone, there was nothing like the way it worked out there. Nothing.

    It was several years ahead of its time. The length of time MS took to develop WP7 highlights how long it takes to come up with an original solution. Android, on the other hand, looks like a photocopy of iOS, hence why it only took Google 12-15 months to come out with Android.

    First came the wave of the Android smartphone clones, and now comes the wave of the iPad clones.

    If it wasn't for Google's plagiarism, Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola would be NOWHERE in the smartphone business.

    They'd have been relying on Windows 6.5 to keep them going until WP7 came along. At least Microsoft, much to its credit, developed a phone OS that looks and works in a relatively unique way, proving that you don't need to steal other people's ideas.

    If I was involved in designing and developing the Apple iPhone and iPad, as well as iOS, I would be absolutely livid with the way that my ideas had been stolen. There is nothing wrong with Apple protecting their IP and their years of hard work.

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