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iMac Look Protected by Copyright

timothy posted more than 14 years ago | from the injunction-junction dept.

Apple 281

dublin passed along this CNET article reporting that Apple Computer has settled its cases against both Daewoo and Emachines, filed in response to those companies' release of iMac look-alike PCs. Read below for more.

The settlements mean that the preliminary injunction granted by a Federal judge last November, which halted sales of the Emachines eOne on the grounds that it too closely resembled the industrial design of Apple's iMac, may be a taste of the future.

Apple's focus in these suites has been on violations of their "trade dress" -- essentially, seeking copyright which covers the appearance and design of a product rather than its functional aspect. The CNET article points out that "[h]istorically, the courts have not extended trademark protection to a product's design, but more recently, some have begun to grant trademark protection to 'stylized' items on the grounds that novel industrial design can communicate a distinctive idea or image."

Often, however, manufacturers file design patents as well, especially for products with new or unique industrial design. Given Apple's emphasis on ergonomics, color and ease of use, which concretize the abstract results of years of experimentation and testing, it seems likely that design patents will play an expanding role in the protection of their designs. But by no means will Apple be the only company fighting to establish brand identity with distinctive shapes and colors, and taking on imitators in court over trade dress or design patent violations.

dublin (the person who submitted this article) notes, "This could be ugly, because unlike regular patents (which can be readily challenged on the following grounds), design patents have no requirement for either 'utility' or 'non-obviousness to one reasonably schooled in the art.'" Can challenging or affirming a design patent, especially in the moving-target world of personal computers, be anything other than heavily subjective?

Even if the original decision was jutified, (no one is arguing that either the eOne or the Daewoo machines are based on anything other than the shape and color-appeal of the iMac), does this place us on a slippery slope? As dublin puts it, "Does Apple now have universal first dibs on anything wrapped in clear and aqua plastic? (If yes, then how about lime or the dreaded tangerine?)"

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281 comments

I'm shocked and chagrined, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215639)

mortified and stupified. This is a waste of the taxpayers' money...

Beige computer case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215669)

Im happy that no one patented the beige computer case -- if each company had to make its own design, we wouldnt even recognize computers anymore:

Oh, you mean that red metalic sphere on your desk is your new Athlon?

SFW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215677)

Hate to break the news to you, but the diesel turbine engine, the transistor radio and the Spork are also freakin' patented! I thought it was software patents, or patents on information and algorithms which were an abuse of patent law. Fer crying out loud, if you can't patent a physical object, designed by yourself, then Slashdot should just come out and say "we're against private property and we're proud of it"! Apple is restricting no information or free speech at all by patenting its design. Null. Nada. Nip. Nilog.

This knee-jerk opposition to patents is getting slashdot a bad name. Already, the site is blocked by most filtering software because of the bad language, warez trading (checked out some of those rogue sid= links lately), links to goatsex, etc, etc. As far as I am aware, another, more justifiable objection is that the site keeps espousing the hateful liberal agenda on any topic from private property to parent's responsibilities for their children (which, come to think of ti, is another form of private property -- liberal socialists are nothing if not consistent). Slashdot is run by relativists, for relativists, and the sick joke is that the people visiting it have the temerity to use computers, the very expressions of the true objective nature of the universe (which is capitalism). People like Larry Wall who invent relativist languages for computers ("there's more than one way" WELL THERE SHOULDN@T BE!! YOU SICK PEOPLE!!) are destroying the fabric of our society

Have you noticed the recent spate of black on white hate crimes? It's the fault of liberals, inciting good law abiding Negroes to emulate the hate of the liberal socialists. I admit that nobody on slashdot has advocating the public shooting of white people (in the articles, anyway -- ever set your browser to -1?), but the climate of tolerance is part of the same project of making it OK for liberals to destroy this great country with their hate. BOYCOTT SLASHDOT!!!

Way to go Apple! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215686)

The world needs less crappy ripoffs - like Gnome and KDE - of successful products.

Re:Of course they won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215689)

you left off the and at the beginning and end.

Re:Maybe I should copyright my looks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215691)

... but then I thought "who the hell want to look like me".

Gorf Joystick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215693)

Didn't the really old arcade game Gorf have a translucent blue/see through joystick?

As freedom slips away we find little perks along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215694)

the way.

Sure, people should be free to make and sell anything they want (that's safe), but I won't miss those transparent PC cases.

That transparent case that apple makes is possibly the most hidious thing that I have ever seen (and I live down the street from a VW dealer with those stupid 'new bugs' all over the lot, so I know what I am talking about).

They actually spent money developing the idea for blue-berry-cool-aid-vomit-color transparent cases!? It's like if I filled the case of my microwave with a 50/50 mix of jello and plaster. Mmmmm, now that's attractive!

I think I'll go out and sick pictures of lung cancer on my toaster and get that trade marked. You never know when it'll be the next big craze.

Re:Maybe I should copyright my looks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215695)

Don't bother - looking like you is punishement enough.

Re:Wise move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215698)

> The Imac design isnt a 'hot' thing anymore
Checked the list of top selling computers before posting? Dumbass

>Like all design fads it gets popular for a day then goes away.
How long has the iMac been around - a day??? Retard.

>As far as Apple goes, they should learn that these cases arent really helping them in the public eye.
You mean the 'Slashdot eye' - like Apple gives a shit about the kooks like you who hang out here.

> they would be far worse than Microsoft if they were a dominant player
You're loosing steam, you were on a roll with stupid comments, but now you've drifted off into the inane...

> they could concentrate on doing creative thinking, which they obviously are capable of, rather than litigation they would fare better
Hmm, let's see, the iMac has won various awards for its -creative- design, it has become an icon of computing just like the original Mac, but you say they need to be more -creative-, so dumb it.s really sad.

> potential allies
Bottom feeder x86 companies like eMachines - ALLIES - with Apple???

Later (D)ork.

imac copyright... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215699)

Come on people. imac has a lot more going for it than just color. If imac was just crying about color, it would have been thrown out of court. But they put together a totally different combo A small, all-in-one-piece computer, distinct ergonomic design, bold colors that everyone else was afraid to try, even included a carrying handle. Very original! Now, after 20 years of people mindlessly creating the SAME EXACT look and feel of computers, everyone wants to try this new design because it was such a success for Apple. What Apple did is called "Thinking outside of the box." Personally, I don't like using Apple computers, but you have to give them credit for being able to do that.

Re:New Patent: Beige (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215700)

Computers have happened to be "beige" or grey or whatever for years. But the focus was not on the exterior design. It was focused on what was inside. But Apple had a specific focus on design. So nyah.

apple pizza-box? apple tower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215701)

I don't apple invented the pizza-box design, or the tower design, but apple uses both. Of course, apple didn't invent the GUI either.

Re:Hey Malda... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215702)

Apple pulled a massive advertising campagne for promoting the iMac. The others wanted to ride on that wave for free... Not Fair... It gives you cheaper PC's tough...

Re:And what about the Rowenta iRon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215703)

The Rowenta Surfline iRon existed years before the iMac, so shouldn't Apple rather pay some license fees to Rowenta? And btw, looked from closeby, the iMac is butt ugly.

I'm surprised you don't know the answer to this; don't you read what the Apple apologists have to say?

The answer is that only Apple has the right to rip off ideas from someone else. No one then has the subsequent right to create anything even vaguely resembling Apple's lifted design.

Re:And what about the Rowenta iRon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215704)

Ahh, the Apple visit to Xerox justifies the open source community ripping off the rest of the commercial software world argument.

Yawn.

Re:Wise move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215705)

Oh, Im so impressed by your eloquence and vocabulary. You must be one of those users Apple were afraid couldnt tell the difference between an iMac and a Peecee in a bright case. Well, with a userbase like that, it suddenly makes sense.

Re:SFW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215706)

we've got to face the dangerous Perl issue head on.

I'm with you, brother. Python users, unite!

Apple would make Microsoft look like Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215707)

I thank my lucky stars that Apple never became a dominant player. While their boxes are definately nice, they want to control far more of the computer industry than Bill Gates ever dreamt of. Not only do they want to control the hardware, they want to control the OS, all software and just about everything regarding the computer up to and including its case color! Because, like, you know, Steve Jobs is better than us mere mortals.

Re:New Patent: Beige (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215708)

nope,,, The Australian yellow pages attempted to copyright the contents of the phone book. In an attempt to block a company which was selling Cdrom version of the book in newsagents etc. They only started this when they created a online phone book. I dont know how the case turned out. Good example of electronic copyright in respect to real life stuff.

Re:Of course they won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215709)

Sing it out brother........this is a capitalist world.

Re:It did win awards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215710)

In no way was the iMac a 'risk.' The iMac for the most part is a very straightforward design. It was envisioned as a simple(all in one) and stylish(awesome industrial design) computer.

In no way was Steve Jobs 'lucky.' Ignoring the Steve Jobs is worse than Bill Gates juvinial crap that gets posted here, Jobs has a fanatical drive for excellence, and quality. The iMac is no accident or fluke.

>I'm more concerned with what's inside a computer than how it looks. I stare at a monitor all day, not a case.

I see this assertion quite a bit from pc users. It is exactly the same attitude expressed by dos users when confronted with a Macintosh. I don't need pretty icons, I'm a real computer user! Give me a dos prompt! All those dos geeks are now running an os with (not as)pretty icons!

Do you let your mom dress you? Why care about something so superfical as personal appearance.

Do you drive a car painted with primer? Why care about what your car looks like, if it runs well.

(BTW this was not spell checked, you should'nt care about something as superficial as 'spelling')

Re:What about this the iRon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215711)

My god, why is slashdot a magnet for morons. Is this why most open source software is such crap? The open source community is simply full of dumbshits.

What the FUCK does an iron have to do with a court case between computer makers?

Answer, NOTHING retard.

>Inovate, and build a good product. If you do it well you won't need the lawyers.

So you're saying - laughing at your stupidity as I type - that if one makes a crappy product you will need lawyers to protect your product from being ripped off!!! But if you make an innovative, good product other companies will not try to steal your design.

HAAHAHAHAHAAH Are you fucking stooopid!!!

Re:Of course they won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215712)

Ahem. Which nation would that be? Did you know that WWW in fact stands for World Wide Web? So, incredibly enough, there are lots of people reading Slashdot who aren't Americans!!!

The US of course. What other nation counts here on /.? This is an American site run by American people and aimed at the open-source community here in America. If anyone from the rest of the world uses /. then great, I'm all for that, but it's not the intended purpose of the site.

Petal, did you know that in the USA, a significant part of the population has a life expectancy at birth as low as in the poorest countries in the world? Or that those great corporations that you are so proud of are in fact almost always multi-national entities and have no qualms about exporting Great American Jobs to other parts of the world--India, f'rinstance.

So which significant part of the population is this that has a 25-30 year life expectancy? Not any important or productive part I'm guessing. And let's face it, would you rather live 25 years in the US or 25 years in some third world hellhole?

And as for corporations being multi-national entities that is because US companies are so successful that they are able to buy these foreign companies outright thanks to our economic freedoms. I mean can you imagine a company like Microsoft, one of the greatest contributors to American wealth, coming from the UK or even God forbid, France? I think not.

Companies have every right to employ people wherever they want to in order to ensure maximum profitability. If that happens to be in some country like India where people will work for an extremely small wage then so be it. The success of that company still helps you as an American citizen by providing hard-earned tax dollars that support the services that liberals like you think are essential to America's society.

Re:Who gives a wet one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215713)

Films often come in batches of similar themes. Should the producers of Armageddon be able to sue the producers of Deep impact because they're both about asteroids hitting the earth?

No, but frankly, we should be able to sue the producers of both films for wasting our time.

Design patents should be enforced! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215714)

Look around!
All the computers look the same, all the cars look
the same, everything which should be exciting is
just plain and BORING.

Fight for design patents, and we'll make the world
an enjoyable place!

Re:What is everyone's opinion of Apple at the mome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215716)

> blacklisted by the FSF

Oh my! Apple missed out on all that great FSF software!

Apple Emp #1: "Hey, we've been blacklisted by the FSF"
Apple Emp #2: "FSF???, who the fuck are they?"

Re:Volkswagon beetle -- and the commercials! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215718)

ugh, they both have those annoying hippie-crappie commercials with the damn things gliding around in circles and crap. maybe they are really the same company!

Re:SFW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215719)

While this fellow may be a bit off the deep end, his underlying view is a valid one. This is a capitalist (world) society. Patents are nessary. Why? Who would take the time and money to research new/different technologies/products? Apple is tring to protect revenues, to copyright their idea. Isn't it obvious what emachines/daewoo were tring to do? Weather you like it or not, this is a world driven by money. And in order for this world to progess, there must be insentive to work. Patents simply fortify that insentive.

Copyright on beige boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215721)

I am really pleased that no-one took out a copyright on beige boxes.

Re:Who gives a wet one? (0)

C.Lee (1190) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215728)

>Films often come in batches of similar themes. Should the producers of
>Armageddon be able to sue the producers of Deep impact because they're
>both about asteroids hitting the earth?

If you've seen Deep Impact, the answer of course would be *YES* God, that was a movie that didn't live up to the hype.

Re:It did win awards (0)

C.Lee (1190) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215729)

>In the 80's Yamaha sold their receivers in both silver and black for
>the same price, you could take your pic. But everyone bought black and
>noone wanted silver. After that they only sell black now.

I think that was because the silver model was basically the black model with silver paint sprayed on. Looked pretty nasty once the silver layer got scratched or worn away from use.

Wise move. (0)

Znork (31774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215730)

Well, for Emachines and Daewoo settling was probably a wise move. The Imac design isnt a 'hot' thing anymore and bothering to pursue it in court wether or not the case has any merit would be a waste of money. Like all design fads it gets popular for a day then goes away.

As far as Apple goes, they should learn that these cases arent really helping them in the public eye. They have time after time proven that they would be far worse than Microsoft if they were a dominant player. If they could concentrate on doing creative thinking, which they obviously are capable of, rather than litigation they would fare better. Wasting resources and goodwill from potential allies on useless bickering in court isnt a good idea.

Clutching at straws? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215734)

It's interesting how a look or just a concept can bar people from creating similiar designs, usually if a design is slightly different from the original it can be produced. Would like you like Ford to copyright the concept of wheels on a car ?

I do think this is an obvious sign that Apple is selling computers purely on their looks rather than dealing with the age old issue of proprietary hardware with proprietary operating system with lack of mainstream support.

Apple would be dead a load time ago if it wasn't for it's performance above x86 chips. However every since the G3's Apple's are started to basically base their architecture round the PC, i.e. PCI bus, SDRAM memory, ATA hard drives.

What is everyone's opinion of Apple at the moment? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215735)

I was talking to my other half last night (She's a die-hard Apple fan), over what she liked so much about them. She told me that it was mainly because of the UI, but also stated as a reason "They're not as bad as Microsoft as a company". Does anyone else here think that if anything, Apple is behaving even more pig-headedly than the Redmond boys these days? I mean, Apple have done a lot of good, and I can see why they'd want to protect the iMac design, it was innovative in that it was the first time styled was valued equally with substance. Very few (if any) computer manufacturers have released 6 differnt versions of the machine, with exactly the same spec, the only difference being the colour of the case. Also the pre-rainbow iMac (an Internet-based computer that was truly plug-and-go) was something cried out for by the mass public.

However, on the downside, Jobs' decision to sell downgraded G3's at the same price as the previously announced higher-spec machines smacked of the worst case of arrogance I have seen in the industry in a long time. They also have a firm grip on the supply of the machines, and as a result, can dictate prices at a whim, and frequently do.

It seems to me that Jobs learned a few tricks during his tenure at Redmond, and it scares me to think that a company set up to redress the balance of technology in favbour of the user has developed practices that would not look out of place in the companies they used to vilify.

Finally, score one for Apple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215736)

They deserve it. The spent thier time and money on an origional design (the difference between Amazon and Apple) only to have it ripped off. Besides, the PC cases are horrible. All you iMac haters: A tablet is great for photoshop/gimp, but the iMacs mouse works pretty well too. And the iMac holds to it's roots of being an all-in-one portable!

What about this the iRon? (1)

CyberSnyder (8122) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215750)

Think this was posted awhile back, but this iron - Rowenta Sufline [rowentausa.com] - was around before the iMac. I'm sure there are other similar looks. What's next? Rectangular computer copyrights? Inovate, and build a good product. If you do it well you won't need the lawyers.

It did win awards (1)

coreman (8656) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215751)

It was the winner of design of the year awards. I think it was unique enough to justify the patent. Anyone else could have taken the marketing risk and done it first. Why do you think Jobs announced it as "Insanely Great!"?

Re:SFW? (1)

the_demiurge (26115) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215758)

"People like Larry Wall who invent relativist languages for computers...are destroying the fabric of our society"

That's got to be one of the funniest things i've seen on slashdot in a while. Forget about violent crime and the growing gap between the rich and poor, we've got to face the dangerous Perl issue head on.

Re:Who gives a wet one? (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215762)

Actually, this case had nothing whatsoever to do with patentable designs. It is a (sortof extended) trademark issue.

Apples design may in some way be new. Then again, packaging electronics in shiny curved transparent cases isnt exactly a new thing, so who knows. What we do know is that Emachines and Daewoo didnt consider it worth the trouble to find out.

Re:What is everyone's opinion of Apple at the mome (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215763)

Apple has always been worse than Microsoft in that specific aspect of behaviour, at least dating back to their famous look and feel lawsuit. They were during that time blacklisted by the FSF who asked people not to port GNU applications to the Macintosh platform. Microsoft is bad, mostly because they fight dirty, but Apple would be far worse because they love suing to the right and left. Of course, Sun would probably be on par with Apple, altho Sun is suffering from a bit of a split personality when it comes to litigation.

Re:I'm shocked and chagrined, (1)

Sun Tzu (41522) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215770)

A total waste, indeed. A key consideration of cases resulting from this precedent will be opinion, not objective fact. Therefore, these cases are likely to be longer and more expensive than comparable cases involving more fact and less "feel".

Thank you Lotus, now of IBM, for giving us the "Look and feel" copyright lawsuits -- which blazed the trail for this.

Re:Copyright, artistic,... (1)

commbat (50622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215775)

No, no monitor and system combos. Before apple, the most popular combo was made by compaq - in fact, two of them. One was designed before the MPC2 craze and didn't have a sound card or cd-rom, and the second one integrated speakers, sound card, cd-rom, voice modem... etc. Unisys did it before them with the ICON 2 and ICON 3.

Maybe Jack Trammel should sue them all for copying the Commodore Pet. He could sue IBM, too... I just looked over at my PS/2 model 25. (Hey, this is fun... let everybody sue everybody else... who was the first to put a computer on the desktop?)

Re:Clarifications & Distinctions between real and (1)

javatips (66293) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215782)

> No machine before the iMac had any design similar to it

That's not true. If you take appart the color and the shape, the original Mac has all the elements an iMac have.

They offer the same kind of functionnality (if you look at the technology availlable when the first Mac came to the market), the same easy of use (plug it an turn it on and it work).

The iMac is just an update of the original Mac concept. There is nothing new in that design.

They just added nice colors. Even the shape of the box is not new, we've seen similar shape in computer case for long (they just has no monitor embeded).

Re:Of course they won (1)

Patton (70344) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215783)

Ok now put down the flag for a second and join the rest of us in the modern era. Overhyped nationalism died a long time ago, just some apparently won't let it RIP.

Patents weren't meant to be a tool of world domination. They were meant to give a way to share ideas and concepts while not giving up all claim to something thus being able to sell and market that idea for a set period of time. What they have is a hold on the exact design. I can still make a transparent system w/o them being able to do anything. I can't make one that looks like their computers though and sell it without a license. Would be a derivitive work then.

Many patents are rather silly these days and have no bearing on reality other than someone trying to get rich quick off of pulling a fast one. That is why they get viewed a tad skeptically.

Also as a totally OT aside, don't knock the European nations all that much. They were here before us, they'll probably be around after us. Brightest flames burn out the quickest and the USA has definitely been a bonfire.

Re:Trade dress cases have precident... (1)

shakah (78118) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215785)

> Also, did you know that UPS has a patent (or
> trademark, I forget which) on that brown color
> they use for everything from their trucks to
> their uniforms? Yup. No one else can legally
> use "UPS Puke Brown", without UPS's permission.

Trademarks are granted in a context (remember Microsoft's trademark on "Windows" ?) -- in the UPS case you mention the context is package courier companies. In other words, you can't start a courier company and paint your trucks (and dress your employees) in "UPS brown". You could start an ice cream store and paint the building "UPS brown", however.

I think it's all based on allowing companies to build a recognizable look, and to prevent the general public from being misled by "look-alike" products from rival companies.

Who Cares? (1)

edwazere (87203) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215792)

I really don't care what the iMac looks like, computers should be neatly tucked under the desk out of the way!

I hope Apple Can Enforce Their Copyright... (1)

Axiom (95375) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215800)

...because I have never seen so many nasty-looking iMac knock-off computer cases, printers, mice and keyboards as there are right now. Damn. Seriously, it makes the "boring beige case" look good all over again.

Multiplayer Strategy [toronto.edu]

Designers (1)

Espen (96293) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215801)

While this might be relatively new to computer companies, designers have been seeking protection for their work since long before computers even existed. The news here is not protection of design but the fact that computer manufacturers have started to care about the appearance of their products in the first place.

Chi non si accontenta usa Rowenta[1] (1)

havana9 (101033) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215803)

There il a little problem, IMHO. Rowenta made a steam iron with plastic parts in various transparent color, and one was transparent and aqua. I own the gray/transparent model.
The problem is that if you don't use the same
exact design you could almost copy the designo of
a thing, if there is no patent on it.
This is because the rear lights of Mercedes' cars
have the unique squared pattern and Opel and Ford have very similar rear lights.

Mike

Why not cars? (1)

bockman (104837) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215806)

Many models, of different manifacturers, have a very similar design. Yet, no firm (as far as I know) tried to enforce an 'aesthetical copyright' on a car model. Or did it happen?

Freedoms!? (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215808)

Why is it that if someone copies a physical product's design that it is patent infringement, yet copying user interface isn't? (MacOS and Win95/98, anyone?). This sets up a scary precedent should the courts start viewing software this way. Should this happen, the freedom of free software could very easily be threatened, because the bulk of free software was copied from existing programs...

Re:Clutching at straws? (1)

alangmead (109702) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215811)

The analogy isn't like Ford copyrighting wheels. Its more like Ford seeking some sort of legal redress if someone came out with a car with the exact body shape of a Mustang. (Or Volkwagon if someone came out with something that looks like a Beetle.)

Design patents are common. They are often the patent numbers you see on a hammer or other common items around the house. They are also the weakest form of protection. Ford hasn't tried to make a case against the Celica nor Volkswagon for the Pacer.

Here's to the crazy ones (1)

jeroenb (125404) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215819)

They're fond of patents and they expect everybody to respect the status quo.
You can quote them, review them or buy their machines.
About the only thing you can't do, is use their colors;
because then they sue you. They drag the human race downward.

Think different, the judge did.

Re:Copyright, artistic,... (1)

Yaruar (125933) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215820)

In theory is is almost impossible to win a case based around breach of conceptual copyright (although IANAL) because you ahev to prove intent to copy, which is difficult.

I think apple would have won due to expressed desires by the companies to copy the apple design rather than on purely design grounds.

Although I'd be dubious about the judge in this case...

Of course you can own a shape (1)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215822)

This is another shape they patented [apple.com]

The Apple case is not designed for functionality, but for looks. The shape of the machine is a way to identify the product as being an iMac just like the Apple Logo is. Don't they desrve some protection?

Doh! Copyright, not patent! (1)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215823)

Obviously not enough caffiene today. You can only patent a shape if that shape does something functional. I meant "trademark" of course.

Re:And what about the Rowenta iRon? (1)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215824)

Hey, I bought one of those iMacs and it was useless at getting the creases out of my clothes!

But seriously, if this iron is sufficiently different in design from all other irons, and the iMac is based on it, then of course they should pay royalties. They're ripping off someone elses idea.

Colour/design (1)

evil_one (142582) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215827)

It must cover more than just aqua/clear plastic moulding, because the eONE's I've seen have all been an orangey colour.

Re:Copyright, artistic,... (1)

evil_one (142582) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215828)

No, no monitor and system combos. Before apple, the most popular combo was made by compaq - in fact, two of them. One was designed before the MPC2 craze and didn't have a sound card or cd-rom, and the second one integrated speakers, sound card, cd-rom, voice modem... etc. Unisys did it before them with the ICON 2 and ICON 3.

Re:Of course they won (1)

shilly (142940) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215830)

"...Patents are there to ensure that corporations, the lifeblood of our nation, can protect themselves from their competitors."
All this assumes that you're not a troll...Ahem. Which nation would that be? Did you know that WWW in fact stands for World Wide Web? So, incredibly enough, there are lots of people reading Slashdot who aren't Americans!!!

"Anything which allows them to do so is a good thing and should be encouraged by anyone who cares about the future of our great nation. Without these and other measures allowing corporations the freedom to make profit we will end up like the countries of Europe where socialist policies have left children to starve on the streets as their parents aren't allowed to work, all for the sake of the "greater good"."
Oh dear dear dear, where *do* you get your facts from, Rush Limbaugh? Petal, did you know that in the USA, a significant part of the population has a life expectancy at birth as low as in the poorest countries in the world? Or that those great corporations that you are so proud of are in fact almost always multi-national entities and have no qualms about exporting Great American Jobs to other parts of the world--India, f'rinstance.

As someone once said:
"It's the Right wot gets the power
It's the Left wot gets the blame
Ain't it all a bleedin' shame?"

They created the beige box! (1)

jflauze (147703) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215838)

Heheee!
Apple invented the beige box :)

When they wanted to put thier verrrry first computer on the market, they needed custom cases, and the only thing they could afford at that time was recycled plastic on a sand mold.

Now, everything in computing comes in that flavor..

If everybody followed Apple then, maybe it's gonna happend again...
Jean-François Lauzé (AKA: Trix!)

Re:Copyright, artistic,... (1)

Izubachi (159058) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215842)

If interpreted broadly enough, won't Apple be able to apply the copywrite to any computer that's built into the moniter on the grounds that it "looks alike"? It's alright to me, though. I've had just about enough with the i-fruit, much less copies of i-fruit.

Re:Copyright on beige boxes (1)

Gypsumfantastic (159984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215843)

I want to know whether in theory there is any reason why this couldn't be done? No computer company has a claim to having invented it necessarily, but that sort of thinking isn't holding Amazon back...

Design Patents (1)

Gypsumfantastic (159984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215844)

Just a thought: what would happen if say, Dell or Gateway decided to copyright the eggshell-beige cuboid box look for PCs? Is this a possibility, or is the whole idea just a big sweaty pile of echydna's poo?

Re:You think... (1)

Gypsumfantastic (159984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215845)

But the question is, could they do it? What is to stop them? In the light of these actions by apple is it not a perfectly plausible course of action for them to take? I mean, they may not have invented it, but that didn't stop Amazon, did it?

Re:Freedoms!? (1)

zachg (161115) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215847)

Because Apple did NOT take out a patent on their UI, Micro$oft was able to copy it, and Apple got burnt. They had no case in court. I'm sure they've learned hard from this experience, and am glad they're doing what they are have to, much as no-one would like it. But that's the world.

New Patent: Beige (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215850)

I would like to announce my intentions to patent the "beige" computer look. Any other company violating my patent on the "beige" style of computer case, or using the word "beige" to describe their case will be prosecuted by my hordes of angry lawyers.

You have been warned.

Of course they won (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215852)

And damn right too. Companies like Apple which put their valuable time and effort into producing a product as innovative as the iMac then they should be allowed to protect their product from others who seek to cash in on it.

The whole issue of design patents is likely to raise strong feelings here on /. given most people here's unthinking hatred of patents and the rights of a company to protect its work. Patents are there to ensure that corporations, the lifeblood of our nation, can protect themselves from their competitors. Anything which allows them to do so is a good thing and should be encouraged by anyone who cares about the future of our great nation. Without these and other measures allowing corporations the freedom to make profit we will end up like the countries of Europe where socialist policies have left children to starve on the streets as their parents aren't allowed to work, all for the sake of the "greater good".

If anything, the US needs more protection for its corporations rather than less. Now we are at the beginnings of a truly global market we must ensure that our champions come out on top with their dealings with foreigners. It is only by doing this that we can make sure our children grow up in the greatest nation on Earth.

Re:Ergonomics??? (2)

Genom (3868) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215855)

No kidding. I was *AMAZED* when I saw the iMac mouse for the first time. Here's a company that for years was espousing the virtues of ergonomics and good UI design. They come out with a "revolutionary" (ha!) new computer design -- and the mouse takes a 10 year step back in time.

Hell, it's worse than that - the "hockey puck" is actually less comfortable than that old block that came with the Mac Classic.

One of my coworkers is a Mac guy (I'm PC/Linux for the most part, except for Photoshop/Illustrator) and got one of the iMac-styled G3s. Nice comp. Fast and snappy for the most part, and if they'd remove the "handles" the thing would look pretty snazzy as well.

What floored him was the keyboard/mouse. Tiny laptop-style keyboard, and a hockey puck mouse.

He has since replaced the mouse with an older Mac mouse (which is much more ergonomic) though he has been eyeing my Intellimouse Explorer lately (say what you will about M$ - that mouse kicks serious a$$).

The keyboard is the same one that ships with the iMacs -- it feels like a laptop keyboard. He says he got used to it after a while, but I'll keep my 10 pound huge footprint IBM keyboard, thanks. =)

Re:New Patent: Beige (2)

Genom (3868) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215856)

Hey - go for it.

I for one would LOVE to see black take over as the "normal" color for cases -- hell, even that dark slate grey (Palm Grey?) would work nicely as a "neutral" PC color, and would look much better than beige.

Anyone know how Beige (of all colors) got decided on? Earliest beige one I remember was the old Apple II (but I think it was a bit darker beige than PC beige is today...)

My next comp is going to have one of those funky stylized cases - but NO translucent plastic (ick!)

Re:New Patent: Beige (2)

EraseMe (7218) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215858)

Ahh yes.. didn't the Australian Yellow Pages try to copyright their shade of yellow, used as simple rgb on web pages?

The Unix world will oneday sue Microsoft for their inappropriate use of ANSI on MS-DOS, not to mention the simple black and white console colors.

Perhaps if I were to make a computer that looks like an oven, smells like an oven (hell, even bakes like an oven) the kind people at General Electric will sue me for recreating their 50 year old patentented look and feel?

EraseMe

Re:Volkswagon beetle (2)

arivanov (12034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215862)

You are absolutely correct about the shape. It has been with the industry in the 80-es and before and was forgotten in favour of the disgusting IBM PC design which is a badly revamped industrial controller.

On the translucent plastic topic does anyone have an idea when the iDust came out? Namely, the horribly disgusting design Dixons uses for their vacuum cleaners: translucent plastic, aqua or tangerine. Sucks great. Literally of course.

Re:I hope Apple Can Enforce Their Copyright... (2)

arivanov (12034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215863)

They cannot

The translucent junk has been around long before the Imac. The first time I was offered a translucent aqua rodent was in 1995 if not even earlier. Manufactured by one of the numerous Taiwanese companies, forgot which one.

And I told the retailer to go stuff it. I'd rather buy beige. Or black for the matter.

In btw: neither the NeXT black nor the SGI blue have been ever defended as designs. And they have much better looks than the iroast. See the new Aptivas, IBM thin clients and SGI boxen for examples.

Re:Why not cars? (2)

arivanov (12034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215865)

Yes it did. Citroen on someone trying to copy "the eyes" off the frog in the 1960es. And successfully. The interesting part is that Citroen itslef abandoned the "eyes" style headlight design in their newer models.

Saab and a few others also have some history of such demands. And they have almost always been successful.

Re:It did win awards (2)

Znork (31774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215873)

What patent? There is no patent, neither would it be likely to be patentable. This was a settlement over a possible trademark infringement.

Re:Who gives a wet one? (2)

Znork (31774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215874)

>Was anyone else designing iMac like computers before the iMac came out?

Well, not the _exact_ same design that I know of the top of my head, but...

Basic shape; yep, been done. Its an almost exact clone of several terminal types, and pretty close to a shrunken version of several computer types that have been around since late 80's early 90's.

Transparent cases (in colors); yep, been done. Been around since a loooong time.

A combination? Hmmm... is that really a design innovation? Would the Basic shape or Transparent cases people be able to sue? If it is, does it apply to putting a Mac inside such a case, or any computer? Would putting an x86 computer in a transparent case of that shape be a new thing or not?

My guess is that Apples suit would not have been upheld in the end, theres far too much previous art, just like the bellbottoms. Then again, the emachines and daewoo clones were _obviously_ trying to make a buck off it, so maybe it would have been upheld. Had someone come around a year or two later with the same design? No way would Apple have a case.

Re:Who gives a wet one? (2)

gorilla (36491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215876)

Apple spent time and money coming up with the design of the iMac, and came up with something that looked great, so people wanted to buy it. If you copy that design, you're living off their time and money, and someone else's design vision. They should have some law -- be it copyright, design, or trademark -- to protect their work

Why? It's just a fashion. It's no different to big fashion designers deciding that bell bottoms are in, and other fashion designers designing bell bottoms.

Cars are all basically the same shape nowadays, with the few exceptions being obvious exceptions. Should Ford be able to sue GM because Ford was the first to use a particular shaped door?

Films often come in batches of similar themes. Should the producers of Armageddon be able to sue the producers of Deep impact because they're both about asteroids hitting the earth?

Just because you spent time doing something does not stop others from spending their time doing something similar.

Re:Copyright, artistic,... (2)

pmc (40532) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215878)

Here [tmps.co.uk] is an overview of the law in the UK. What can be trademarked is astonishing: Slogans, Logos, Words, Packaging, Smells, and Sounds.

There was a notorious case a few years ago regarding the Jif lemon packaging (for those who don't know this is lemon juice in a bottle the shape of a lemon). Jif applied for and got protection on the lemon, and sucessfully took a supermarket to court to stop them selling (or rather, passing-off) their version of lemon-juice-in-a-lemon. This was in 1990, so it's fairly old and established practice.

So in this context the success of Apple getting and enforcing a registered design on the iMac isn't too much of a surprise. (I know it's a different juristiction, but trademark and design rules are pretty homogeneous throughout the west).

More than you would ever want to know about Designs and trademarks can be found here [aippi.org] .

Personally I don't think that they have that good a case - the idea of these design registrations is distinctiveness and to prevent passing off. I don't think that the purchaser of the Daewoo products thought they were buying an iMac. Obviously the judge disagreed.

Re:Volkswagon beetle (2)

cshotton (46965) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215879)

Volkswagon beetle (Score:1) by mrfiddlehead (mrfiddlehead@yahoo.co.uk) on Thursday March 09, @07:32AM EST (#15) (User Info) Did anyone else notice a passing resemblance, a certain, je ne sais quois, between the new Volkswagon beetle and the iMac?

If anyone recalls the dumb terminal days of the '70's, they should readily recognize the iMac as a straight rip-off of the ADDS Viewpoint and older Data General terminals. The form factor is nearly identical and if I was DG or ADDS, I'd be crawling up Apple's backside.

The only innovation in the iMac's "trade dress" is the use of the translucent plastics. The shape has been around the computer industry for 25 years.

And what about the Rowenta iRon? (2)

BlueUnderwear (73957) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215882)

The Rowenta Surfline iRon [theapplecollection.com] existed years before the iMac, so shouldn't Apple rather pay some license fees to Rowenta? And btw, looked from closeby, the iMac is butt ugly.

Re:And what about the Rowenta iRon? (2)

Pfhreakaz0id (82141) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215884)

Guess that's why it sold so few huh? After all, everyone knows it's a hunk of junk and ugly to boot.
---

Re:imac copyright... (2)

dremorbius (88643) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215886)

While I have no great feeling one way or another about Apple Patenting or tradmarking a design I have to disagree that what they have done is original. Back in the 80's in the UK Amstrad produce several machines under the PCW brand that consisted of a Monitor with everything inside (though no hard disk). 1 or 2 3" floppy drives, a printer and an expansion port. It ran a dedicated wordprocesor or cpm. A useful first machine in those days, it cost about £400 (approx $700 at that time). I still have mine somewhere. While The imac may look slightly better ( with its streamlined case and bright colour) it is not much different. And if I remember the Imac doesn't even have a floppy drive!

Dr Morbius - Mad scientist - Expedition Philologist, UFPSV Bellerophon

Re:It did win awards (2)

budcub (92165) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215887)

I think the imac design is 'pretty' and artistic, but Steve Jobs can stop patting himself on the back for it. He took a risk that people would like it and buy it and it paid off, he was lucky.

I remember in the early 90's Crutchfield was selling PC's in both the usual beige, and in BLACK. They were the same black as stereo components and looked pretty hot IMHO. But I don't think the idea caught with anyone else, because I didn't see the idea spread.

In the 80's Yamaha sold their receivers in both silver and black for the same price, you could take your pic. But everyone bought black and noone wanted silver. After that they only sell black now.

I'm more concerned with what's inside a computer than how it looks. I stare at a monitor all day, not a case.

What would Mac go after? (2)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215890)

Hats off to Apple for making their iMAC look more interesting than anything else on the market.

However:
How relevant is this copy-chasing legal brigade when you consider that the eONE, which may have looked almost identical to the iMAC when it was first shown (very little difference in fact) , was then revised to look as the product does now on their website [e4me.com] compared to the iMAC [apple.com] (please spare me the 'Future of the Internet :)

It is clear that the eONE has been substatially restyled to avoid having the lines and general 'look' of the iMAC: How can Apple say that this is a copy violation? Compaq, Dell, Olivetti, IBM, Fujitsu etc all might as well start taking each other to court over who owns rights to the 'grey box on the desk' design.

At the end of the day though, it seems obvious that the eONE brought this upon itself, by setting out looking so much like the iMAC, a restyle late on wasn't going to save it in the eyes of the Apple lawyers.

My appologys for not being able to find a picture of the original eONE design :)

Volkswagon beetle (2)

mrfiddlehead (129279) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215892)

Did anyone else notice a passing resemblance, a certain, je ne sais quois, between the new Volkswagon beetle and the iMac? Something about the lines that makes me think about that car whenever I see an iMac. I wonder whose inspiration the iMac designers were drawing on when they came up with this thing. Then again I cannot really imagine why, other than laziness, that anyone would want to clone of an iMac let alone own one. To whit, blech!

Re:Who gives a wet one? (2)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215893)

This is different from fashions. Fashions are usually based on standard looks. The iMac was an attempt to totally redefine the look.

The bell bottom is a standard design thats been around for years. If I came up with a totally new look for an item of clothing, I would be upset is someone else copied me. Expensive fashion shows try to completely redesign the entire look of clothes. Any designer that copied another would immediately lose all credit for origionality.

Cars are allowed to all look the same because all cars look the same. If GM were to copy the looks of the GT40 then yes, Ford should get upset.

Films are allowed to be the same if they come in batches of similar themes. Armageddon obviously wasn't an origional idea since Deep Impact was in production at the same time. Was anyone else designing iMac like computers before the iMac came out? What if I was to make a film about a bunch of Roughnecks saving the Earth from an asteroid? Am I allowed to?

Just because you spent time doing something does not stop others from spending their time doing something similar.

Absolutely. People should spend their time coming up with a new look, rather than spending no time at all copying the look of something thats been done before. If they designed their machines as silver pyramids with a CD-Rom at the top, and connectors on the front then that would have been worthwhile, and Apple should not have been allowed to copy them.

Ergonomics??? (2)

vor (142690) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215894)

>>Given Apple's emphasis on ergonomics


Ha! Obiviously the author never used an iMac Mouse.

Awesome! (2)

skinhead (152780) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215895)

So I can actually own a shape! This is great news. I have these design ideas I call 'cube', 'triangle' and 'ball'.

Apple Patent. [USD0413105] (3)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215896)


Apple's patent on "Computer Enclosure", can be downloaded from HERE [ibm.com] .
--
Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

Copyright, artistic,... (3)

Yaruar (125933) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215901)

I'm suprised at this, most copyright cases in this country when based around asthetic fall through, dunno if the states are different.

The classic example is the case against Guiness who were sued by an artist who showed them a dance piece he had created for one of their advert campaigns.

Guiness rejected this and went on to make the advert anyway with subtle differences, although with the concept and execution almost the same.

The artist lost the claim.

Although this is the company who's ex director recovered from parkinsons after being let out of gaol early on grounds of ill health...

Who gives a wet one? (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1215902)

A key consideration of cases resulting from this precedent will be opinion, not objective fact. Therefore, these cases are likely to be longer and more expensive than comparable cases involving more fact and less "feel".

Thank you Lotus, now of IBM, for giving us the "Look and feel" copyright lawsuits -- which blazed the trail for this.

No they didn't. This has nothing to do with "look and feel" -- it's about the patentable design of a designed object. Try starting up a shop to build cars with the classic lines of a Ferrari, and see how many seconds you last.

Apple spent time and money coming up with the design of the iMac, and came up with something that looked great, so people wanted to buy it. If you copy that design, you're living off their time and money, and someone else's design vision. They should have some law -- be it copyright, design, or trademark -- to protect their work

More broadly, why does slashdot give a fuck? This isn't a software patent, or an algorithm patent. Nobody's ability to write code has been compromised. It's still possible to produce copies of the iMac which will run its software -- but they won't look like iMacs, because they won't be iMacs. There is no sense in which preventing people from ripping off designers is infringing freedom of speech.

If people have a problem with patents in general, let them make it. But please don't hijack the cause of opposition to software patents for your ideological crusade. Get the classic car enthusiasts on your side, or something. The iMac's deisgn is not information. It's not code. It doesn't want to be free.

Trade dress cases have precident... (4)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215904)


Coca Cola sucesfully sued, under the same "trade dress" laws Apple is using to go after Daewoo or eMachines or whoever, to protect the SHAPE of the Coca Cola bottle!

That's probably the precident Apple used in the case. That and the fact that the iMac knockoff artist company ADMITTED IN A PRESS RELEASE that they were going to try to ride the wave of the iMac to sucess.

The rip-off artists basically shot themselves in the foot by: a) not doing their research on trade dress law, and b) mouthing off to the press.

Also, did you know that UPS has a patent (or trademark, I forget which) on that brown color they use for everything from their trucks to their uniforms? Yup. No one else can legally use "UPS Puke Brown", without UPS's permission.

And, from the looks of some of the other posts, it appears that Slashdot has to be reminded again:

Under copyright/trademark law, if you do not aggressively defend your intellectual property, you LOSE the rights to that same property!

Apple has NO CHOISE but to go after those who would violate it's trademarks. Nor does anyone else who produces intellectual property. Not even Linus, remember when he had to put the smackdown of a couple of nare-do-wells who were going to auction off a bunch oh *linux*.* domain names for nefarious ends?

IANAL, but AFAIK, the ONLY IP that you do NOT have to aggesively defend in order to keep the rights, is a patent, which a) is a fscked up system to begin with, and b) expires much sooner than other IP anyway.

john

Clarifications & Distinctions between real and e- (5)

Masem (1171) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215906)

A lot of people are attacking apple because they feel that Apple didn't design the all-in-one computer case. Certainly, that's not the point here. Apple is trying to defend the fact that they have spent time and money to develop an unique design to computer systems, and the pc clones were obvious copies of that. No machine before the iMac had any design similar to it, so it needs to protect something that it did create. I would suspect that a suit like this will allow other computer makers with unique designs to follow up to it (for example, that Compaq business machine model that's really thin, etc). Of course, there's lots of prior outside of the iMac look for most other computer cases, so it has to be a revolutionary design.

However, with that said, this could set a dangerous precident going back to the GUI look and feel. Sure, it's too late for Microsoft or Apple or Xerox to stop GUI operating systems with the typical functionality, but let's take the Aqua theme that Apple developed for it's OS. A while back, Apple asked various theme sites to remove the Aqua clones, but based on the specific targets of the removal, these themes used the Apple or MacOS logo in the theme, which could be considered a trademark violation; Apple apparently didn't have problems with people copying the theme, just the trademarks logos.

Now sure, this case was a out-of-court settlement, no precident has been set, but this could get Apple or Microsoft or some other OS design a bit braver and take more drastic action against copy-cat clones of the OS system beyond just the standard C sure, we still have the result of the Apple/MS Look-and-Feel lawsuit that set a precident, but those can be overturned as times change.

Even beyond just the OS, what about application software? Can Netscape sue MS over look-and-feel of IE compared to NS? Can WinZip sue the countless zip clones? What about a unique feature of an application program that is then extended by others to be a common control in later application programs?

I think the key thing comes down to with something like this is that is there a difference between the design of a physical object and the design of a virtual object. As said in one of the DCMA article discussions yesterday, if someone takes a physical object, a new physical object has to be created to replace it, while one can easily take a copy of a virtual object, and still leave that virtual object for others. Because physical objects move much slower than virtual ones, is it more important to protect the designs of physical objects over virtual ones? I believe so, but there needs to be some precident to distinquish the two cases. We only have a few such precidents in place, and unless a law is passed soon regarding this, the solution will be decided by frivolous lawsuits.

There's a precedent... (5)

Millennium (2451) | more than 14 years ago | (#1215907)

Coca-Cola was the first company to ever do something like this. They patented the famous "Coke bottle". That was years ago, though, and I don't seem to remember hearing about any complaints.

Do I think this one's right? I'm not sure. This isn't "look and feel." It's also not a software thing. And it's certainly a blatant violation of something, anyway. It should probably be more of a trademark violation than a patent violation, though.

The intent for eMachines and FuturePower to rip off Apple's design and profit from it was quite clear; even more blatant than Windows. For that alone they deserve a smackdown; this was nothing more than outright plagiarism. It's also about more than translucent plastic, which many Slashdotters seem to be forgetting.

But as I said, is it right? I don't know this time. I think it just might be.
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