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323 comments

That's right, Apple has a monopoly on smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273068)

But if competitors want to make products which resemble dumb phones and tablets, that's perfectly okay.

Re:That's right, Apple has a monopoly on smart (4, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273260)

Even dumb phones have rectangular screens, and according to Apple those are not allowed.

ok so... (5, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273074)

"[A]lternate tablet computer designs include: overall shapes that are not rectangular with four flat sides or that do not have four rounded corners; front surfaces that are not completely flat or clear and that have substantial adornment; thick frames rather than a thin rim around the front surface; and profiles that are not thin relative to the D’889 or that have a cluttered appearance."

Translation: a completely impractical eyesore that nobody would buy is something we will accept you selling.

Re:ok so... (5, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273220)

The ridiculous part is, HP tablet PCs from 10 years ago would completely "violate" Apple's design patents. The only difference between them visually was that Apple's iPad had a black bezel and a glossy screen.

Functionally, the iPad is thinner, lighter, and has a capacitive touch screen whereas the HP tablet PCs had a resisitive touch screen and a keyboard underneath the screen that added to the weight and thickness of the overall machine.

Re:ok so... (5, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273510)

No, if the decade old HP tablet was released today it would not have 'violated' anything. These are design patents. It's more like copyright. It's the same kind of thing that stops anyone but Coke from selling cola in those specifically shaped bottles. And it's not about any one of the claimed similarities. It's about all of them at once.

If Samsung had changed a single thing on their products there would be no case. Square buttons or a different colour or differently shaped speakers. Anything and the case would never have even been filed.

Every time this comes up on Slashdot the threads of filled with people treating these like a regular patent case. Running around for prior art and latching on to singe points of data. It got old months ago and has really killed any sort of actual discussion about the lawsuits.

Re:ok so... (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273630)

Running around for prior art and latching on to singe points of data. It got old months ago and has really killed any sort of actual discussion about the lawsuits.

So did all the defending of Apple.

Smaller, thinner, neater are logical progressive steps in refining a design that is basically rectangular and has buttons. Apple might be inside the law when it says it "owns" this design for a tablet, but at the same time, this court case may well be the one that settles it once and for all.

To me, this case is the same as if IBM in its early days would have gone after anyone (including Apple) selling some sort of computational device consisting of a box to house everything in, some sort of rectangual screen and an input device consisting of letters and numbers - and tried to maintain a no competition policy using the courts to back its business plan.

Having said this, I don't mind Apple products, some are quite nice (though I am not a fan of bloaty iTunes at all), but trying to stop anyone making a neat black tablet with rounded corners? Give me a break already...

Re:ok so... (3, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273924)

"To me, this case is the same as if IBM in its early days would have gone after anyone (including Apple) selling some sort of computational device consisting of a box to house everything in, some sort of rectangual screen and an input device consisting of letters and numbers - and tried to maintain a no competition policy using the courts to back its business plan."

Because, of course, this [zdnet.co.uk] looks so much like this [theoldcomputer.com] . If you're referring to the IBM PC, Apple was there first.

Re:ok so... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274094)

If you're referring to the IBM PC, Apple was there first.

The 5100 was before the Apple ][

Re:ok so... (5, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274110)

If you're referring to the IBM PC, Apple was there first.

So just because you are the first in a field, you agree that no-one else can make anything in that field?

Just to /. this up a bit, how come there are so many brands of cars out there? Would you support Ford if they took anyone making a "engine powered vehicle, with room for two or more persons moving under it's own volition and comprising of four or more wheels, a steering device, optional room for belongings (referred to henceforth as a boot or trunk) and with interior seats for the persons travelling" to court claiming that they had patents for it?

Patents are supposed to be there to protect the inventor of a new idea, to allow them to market and make money off their new invention. Making an existing idea/product neater, giving it a pleasing case/housing and rounded corners should not be a patentable market distinction.

I am not totally blaming Apple for this however (though I do think this whole saga just reeks of nerd rage with a dash of angry Cartman tantrum voice thrown in). Apple seems to be playing inside the sandpit that the patent system has created - though it certainly appears that it is trying to push the limits of the sandpit as far as it can get away with. It isn't playing nice, but it (depending on the outcome of this case) may be playing within the rules of the game.

At the end of the day, big business is big business - it is there to make money, not friends. However, when I see companies behaving as poorly as this, I do tend to find it repugnant. I was an early adopter of the iPhone, now I am happily talking on my Samsung Galaxy S II.

Re:ok so... (4, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274178)

Apple has become IBM (see pirates of silicon valley), that's about the best way to spin this whole thing.

Re:ok so... (2, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274230)

Repeat after Telvin_3D

Design Patent is more like copyright then a 'real' patent.

You have to copy pretty much everything to get into trouble. And that Samsung did. They could have used a rectangular case with rounded corners, a dark black bezel with two silver or tastefully grey lines running through the bezel and put the speakers on the side - they would have been fine.

Re:ok so... (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273780)

If Samsung had changed a single thing on their products there would be no case. Square buttons or a different colour or differently shaped speakers. Anything and the case would never have even been filed.

Square buttons? Where should the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the device in question, have put square buttons?

Re:ok so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274340)

In Hell with St. Steve Jobs.

Re:ok so... (5, Insightful)

Zagadka (6641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273994)

If Samsung had changed a single thing on their products there would be no case. Square buttons or a different colour or differently shaped speakers. Anything and the case would never have even been filed.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has no face buttons at all. The earlier (7") Galaxy Tab had four face buttons (not one), and none of them looked anything at all like home buttons on iOS devices. Sure looks like Samsung changed (at least) "a single thing"...

Re:ok so... (2)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274056)

If Samsung had changed a single thing on their products there would be no case. Square buttons or a different colour or differently shaped speakers. Anything and the case would never have even been filed.

For that to be true the galaxy tab and the ipad would have to be pretty much identical and they are clearly not. For starters, the galaxy tab is smaller, has a different aspect ratio and a removable battery. By your argument there should be no case.

The truth is that apple doesn't want the competition and if they hadn't of sued on these grounds it would have used some other pretense.

Re:ok so... (4, Insightful)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274310)

If Samsung had changed a single thing on their products there would be no case.

Bullshit. Samsung changed quite a few things, but Apple conveniently ignores all the differences. If Samsung changed one of these "single things" then Apple would have ignored that single thing and still sued on the rest. And that is the point here... that Apple's laundry list of similarities, both individually and in sum, are self-servingly arbitrary. Samsung was going to get sued no matter what they came out with, not because of their similarity but because of their success in the market, and Jobs' obsession with killing Android.

Re:ok so... (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274326)

The goal in making any tablet is to make the screen as large as possible, and the rest of it as small as possible. Something that looks like an iPad is the natural consequence of those goals. It shouldn't be patentable.

Re:ok so... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273524)

The even more insane part is that the HP Tablet from 10 years ago would have completely destroyed iPad in terms of features too.
Of course, then everyone realized nobody wanted tablets unless it was a graphics tablet.
At least until Apple found the casual market who like shiny, barely-functional paper-weights and being ripped off from every direction possible.

Can't hate them entirely though, Apple made my life easier, I know who to ignore when outside and when dealing with people in general.
Thanks Steve, my life would have been so much harder to filter out the idiots without you. Rest in peace you magnificent genius, rest in peace.

Re:ok so... (3, Funny)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274168)

Can't hate them entirely though, Apple made my life easier, I know who to ignore when outside and when dealing with people in general.

Ah. A user. Idiot! Some/many people want it to JFW, which it does.

Apple made my life easier too, by being instantly useful by family members and so far resisting f***ing up fairly well. Besides, it does actually work quite well, right down to recognizing that users are going to plug in PC keyboards on a Mac. Apple anticipated that they'd want to redefine an Alt key to be a Command key, so enabling that is a thirty second job which works instantly (no reboot necessary). Beats futzing around with xmodmap.

I own no Apple hardware, nor do I want any, but I appreciate their thorough attention to detail. Considering what they charge for iBaubles, that's at least something.

Re:ok so... (3, Insightful)

Trolan (42526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273256)

Which also happen to generally be items associated with how tablets looked like prior to the iPad.

Funny enough, those also line up with a bunch of other tablets, which sell rather well, and for companies Apple isn't suing. Like: The Nook, the Kindle, the Kindle Fire, etc., etc.

obvious choices (5, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273292)

What's notable about this list is that nearly all items are either industry-wide practices (rectangular phones with flat surfaces) or obvious design choices (a thin rim around the front maximize screen area compared with a thick rim). In particular Apple opted for choices anyone facing the design problem would make, but is now trying to prevent others from making the choices.

Even worse is that the remaining items reflect aesthetic choices on the part of Apple (no adornment, for example). Such choices should indeed be protected, but they are not inventions which deserve patent protection. Instead they are identifying marks which should be protected under trademark law.

Re:obvious choices (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273372)

To be clear regarding "flat surface". Apple might mean by this a touchscreen-only phone without buttons, which is indeed something they introduced. But in that case the argument is again about distinctiveness of the design rather than any "invention".

Re:obvious choices (5, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273558)

Palm would like a word with you

Re:obvious choices (0)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274048)

And IBM would like a word with you (from 1992).

Re:obvious choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273572)

Compaq tc1000?

Re:obvious choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273586)

Sorry, apple wasn't the first with a no-buttons touch-screen only phone.

Re:obvious choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273998)

Apple hasn't even made one no-buttons touch-screen-only phone, the iPhone has a big ol' button at the bottom center. Nokia's N9 is closer, with a button-free front, but still has volume +/- and power buttons on one side.

Re:obvious choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273958)

Both the ipad and iphone have a button on the front. Only the new galaxy nexus has no physical buttons on the front.

Re:obvious choices (1)

mydn (195771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274180)

My Motorola Xoom has no buttons on the front.

Re:obvious choices (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273514)

"Identifying marks" are protected by design patents, since you can't get a trademark on an aesthetic.

Re:obvious choices (2, Informative)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273544)

Even worse is that the remaining items reflect aesthetic choices on the part of Apple (no adornment, for example). Such choices should indeed be protected, but they are not inventions which deserve patent protection. Instead they are identifying marks which should be protected under trademark law.

No. Such features can be claimed under a design patent.

Re:obvious choices (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273648)

How does lack of adornment qualify as an identifying mark?

Re:obvious choices (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274266)

How does lack of adornment qualify as an identifying mark?

You don't, by any chance, happen to develop TV remotes, do you?

Re:obvious choices (4, Interesting)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274058)

Actually, the "rectangular" one caught my eye.

So, the other day, I'm watching a football game when this ad comes up. Oddly enough, a quick Google didn't find it. But it's for NFL Network. Essentially, we see this person go through his week keeping up with the latest doings in the NFL on various devices (PCs, Television, Laptop, Phone, and Tablet). The tablet looked like an iPad--except that it was longer (the iPad is more square than this was.)

So I immediately said, "Hm. Must be a Samsung tablet."

It was pretty easy for me to spot that this wasn't an iPad because the shape was different than the iPad.

Re:ok so... (1, Flamebait)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273296)

So... everything that was around before the iPhone?

I only joke a little. These lawsuits have never been about Samsung copying any single design feature, they have been about the copying of many design features. The inclusion of any one of these 'suggestions' (or any other significant design difference) would would have made the lawsuits DOA.

If the speakers/microphone were a set of stylized vertical grills (which might look quite nice actually), there would be no lawsuit. Square screen (and why couldn't someone make a nice UI for a square screen?) and there is no lawsuit. Screen offset from the center (perhaps a row of function buttons underneath?) and there is no lawsuit. A significant colour difference anywhere on the device and there would be no lawsuit. Hell, make the buttons rounded squares and you have probably killed any possible claims.

These lawsuits were easy to avoid. Everyone else managed.

Re:ok so... (5, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273394)

Its not that everyone else "managed" to avoid getting sued, they just "managed" to avoid possibly giving Apple a run for thier money.

Samsung is the only developer thats close to being even or taking over Apple in the market, hence why Apple is on them like a fat man on a ham sandwich and letting the others slide down in >10% of the marketshare land

Re:ok so... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273534)

Common fanboi bullshit. Take a crap on Apple because Samsludge can't compete? Cry me a river.
 
Maybe someday you'll be able to afford a real tablet and you'll forget all that dumb open sores bullshit.

Re:ok so... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273902)

Samsung is the only developer that's close to being even or taking over Apple in the market

If, by "close to," you mean "not close at all," then yes, you're absolutely right. And you're also right in saying that there's nothing derivative or copycat about Samsung's designs, aside from the fact that they are faithful copies of Apple's designs, right down to the packaging.

Go learn what a design patent covers, and why these individual design choices are protected when used IN CONJUNCTION WITH ONE ANOTHER to understand why Apple has a legitimate complaint. Nokia's new Lumia managed to avoid infringing design patents, and yet is one of the nicer-looking phones released recently - by many reports, a nicer unit than a vast majority of the Android handsets on the market today. How did Nokia manage to build a phone that avoids infringing, yet Samsung - with all it's MARKET-CRUSHING prowess and amazing innovative technology - couldn't?

Fuck right off with your Samsung apologia. They produced a cheap Asian knockoff of a successful product, and now are getting hit with penalties for taking the easy route, rather than build something novel. Tough shit.

Re:ok so... (1, Flamebait)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274328)

Samsung is the only developer that's close to being even or taking over Apple in the market ...

And you're also right in saying that there's nothing derivative or copycat about Samsung's designs, aside from the fact that they are faithful copies of Apple's designs, right down to the packaging.

You do realize you're slamming Samsung for making something that Apple says *looks* too much like one of their iBaubles?

Gee, and I thought the value in these things was what's inside; technology! Car analogy: I don't give a rat's ass what it looks like. I do care what it can do. You know, power, functionality, the stuff they can do and how they do it?

You should not be allowed on a tech site. Go back to art/marketroid school.

Re:ok so... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273506)

Squares are rectangular.

Harness the power of the Pyramid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273388)

The Office has figured out how to circumvent Apple's design patents: The Pyramid Tablet [thecoolgadgets.com]

The War on Geometry... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273714)

...is set to join the War on Terror and the War on Drugs as the biggest joke of this decade.

Re:ok so... (0)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273736)

This is a silly blog post. The briefing is simply pointing out that there were many options that the Samsung designers could have taken to differentiate their device, but didn't. Any one of those (like giving the front surface a slightly curved profile) would have moved the design away from an iPhone clone. I can tell a Blackberry apart from any other brand of phone from a distance, because they choose a distinctive style. Samsung were deliberately cloning Apple down to the shape of the charger, and Apple would be neglecting their duty to their shareholders not to persue legal remedy if it's available.

Re:ok so... (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274126)

Samsung were deliberately cloning Apple

What kind of idiotic mods modded this post up to +4? This is the kind of person who would probably claim that the F700 [gsmarena.com] was a clone of the iPhone since it's a black monolith with a single button. Never mind that it was released before the iPhone and that most of the samsung phones look much more like the F700 than the iPhone.

And apparently they copied the charger? This is beyond vapid. It's a cuboid with two pins on the end, just like the charger I had for my Zaurus SL-C3000 in 2004.

Re:ok so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274220)

Oh come on...you're overstating the most simplistic similarities between these devices. Reasonable people recognize that Samsung really is attempting to copy every detail of Apple's mobile products. I'm actually embarrassed for Samsung (and for anyone who would stoop to purchasing these cheap Korean knock-offs). Anyone who's spent any time in Korea knows that the country, like many Asian cultures, rabidly emulates Western culture — most notably television, celebrity and fashion. So, it's no surprise that Samsung also is copying Apple electronics gear – after all, Samsung spent the first years of this new century "slavish copying" the Motorola Razr and several other popular cell phones to build its mobile business. Samsung's manufacturing business is a juggernaut to be admired, but the company's consumer electronics division is a parasite that is knowingly attempting to capitalize on (and piggyback on) Apple's design research, as well as the extraordinary attractiveness of Cupertino's product designs, much as Google is attempting to use Android to ride the coattails of Apple's iOS Touchscreen innovations. Together, Google and Android vendors hope they'll confuse uneducated buyers who might settle for a fake iPhone or fake iPad, especially if they don't comprehend the significant differences in the underlying, integrated hardware and software. The fact that Samsung's Android products also appeal to some geeks is a bonus to these companies. Fortunately, some people prefer to own innovative American originals.

Re:ok so... (0)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274284)

So you admit that Apple invented the Smartphone - about fucking time.

Easy (5, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273088)

Simple, don't make anything electronic, or that uses touch as a method of operation.

Re:Easy (4, Funny)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273202)

Also, don't grow apples [huffingtonpost.com]

And the ghost of Steve Jobs smiles (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273106)

From Hell

Re:And the ghost of Steve Jobs smiles (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273876)

That's absurd and insulting!

Jobs was Buddhist. He's obviously a ringworm in the bowels of Steve Ballmer.

Re:And the ghost of Steve Jobs smiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273970)

I realize you worship the guy but he is not, in fact, God, and he didn't get to decide which religion was going to be true for him when he died. If a god exists, Jobs went wherever the god decided he'd go.

they all stole it from star trek! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273114)

so goes my claim and i back it up with all the credibility of an anonymous coward

Samsung didn't rip off Apple (1, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273116)

Just see my sig for proof.

Hi SuperKendall's Sockpuppet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273222)

How many other accounts do you have?

So pathetic to think of someone so lame as to sit around with multiple accounts modding themselves up in the desperate hope that somehow the rest of the computing world will somehow give Apple a pass for being the worst patent trolls in the industry.

Re:Samsung didn't rip off Apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273224)

Nice try, iSheep. Worthless Apple apoligist.

Naa, just kidding. Samsung intentionally copied Apple. It's as plain as day.

Re:Samsung didn't rip off Apple (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273318)

"Ripping Off"? Making a similar product to a competitor is not illegal.

Get specific about exactly how (trademarks, copyright? patents?) you think Samsung has behaved illegaly & we might start listening to you.

(are you really a SK sock-puppet?)

Re:Samsung didn't rip off Apple (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273946)

Who the hell is "SK"?

I'm not trying to get people to listen to me...I was just pointing out my tongue-in-cheek sig because I thought people might find it amusing. It's completely obvious that Samsung's business model is to ape popular designs in order to rely on customer confusion an ride the coattails of more popular products. They even released a Windows laptop that looks just like a MacBook Pro [macenstein.com] , from form factor to color to keyboard layout, complete with a default Windows account avatar that resembles the Apple logo so that it appears in the center of the screen just like OS X's startup screen.

Re:Samsung didn't rip off Apple (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274336)

Nah, that laptop doesn't look at all like a MBP - the power button has a blue LED. Jobs would have never let them do that. White or green maybe but not blue.

(Actually does look exactly like a black keyboard MBP otherwise).

Re:Samsung didn't rip off Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273336)

How do I read your sig without signing in?

iPhone Is Just A Ripoff Of The Blackberry 950 Line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273546)

http://www.geek.com/review-rim-blackberry-957/

Grid of app icons
Status bar on the top - time, signal,etc.
Email,Calendar,etc.
Games

Next Step... (1)

ExploHD (888637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273124)

Apple now has one year to patent those ideas, great job!

Wait.... (1)

RandomAvatar (2487198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273130)

does this mean that if I ever create a somewhat rectangular, thin, or black/silver colour patterned electrical device, Apple will come after me? man, since when was it possible to copyright basic shapes, thicknesses, and colours?

What about gestures? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273132)

Did apple patent gestures? Because i'm giving apple one right now.

Create outside the universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273140)

Create outside the universe

How to avoid... (1, Troll)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273142)

  • Obtain 5 gallon bucket
  • Fill half way with instant concrete
  • Add 1 gallon water
  • Stir well
  • Insert head all the way into mix
  • Congratulations, you are no longer infringing on any of Apple's patents (you ain't doin' nuthin!)

Re:How to avoid... (2, Insightful)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273262)

Another good way to avoid Infringing On Apple's Patents, Just don't even make a device cause no matter what apple will sue claiming infringement to block competition.

Apple sucks (2, Interesting)

gottspeed (2060872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273146)

LOL. I don't get why people in the tech community still like apple.

Does this help? (5, Interesting)

chaboud (231590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273156)

I have to wonder if this does more harm than good for Apple's case. It points out the absolute absurdity of how far they are reaching. Not have a flat front? Not be rectangular? Not use black?

I know that any of these would have significantly distinguished these products from Apple''s, but so too does the "Samsung" emblazoned on the device. Looking at the front with the screen off, sure, my iPod touch might look a bit like a Samsung device. From 10 feet, it also looks like my wallet. This isn't quite as forehead slapping as Samsung's crack legal team not being able to tell the difference between a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and an iPad, but it's pretty close.

That, or these attorneys have an amazing sense of humor.

Alternative solution (4, Insightful)

pesho (843750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273160)

USPTO drops any apple patent that implements obvious designs with established prior art.

Re:Alternative solution (1)

TC Wilcox (954812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273376)

USPTO drops any apple patent that implements obvious designs with established prior art.

If there is established prior art then shouldn't Samsung easily defeat those patents in court? Not saying they Samsung won't defeat them in court. Just saying that if anything really is obviously prior art as far as the patent office is concerned then Samsung has nothing to worry about.

Re:Alternative solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274148)

Just saying that if anything really is obviously prior art as far as the patent office is concerned then Samsung has nothing to worry about.

Samsung was never worried about the court case. Samsung was worried about the injunction against selling them until the court case was decided. At the earliest, if the judge just laughed the whole thing out of court today (which is pretty much what's happening to Apple in a number of cases right now: see Australia), Samsung's still missed Black Friday. They'd barely have time to get to market before the jolly fat home-invader makes his chimney run with a bag full of iPads instead. On the other hand, if the case really dragged out, Samsung might never get to market before their tech was obsolete. Apple probably wasn't even hoping for that, just for Samsung to miss Christmas.

not really (3, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273230)

as long as competitors' smartphones and tablets bear no resemblance to smartphones and tablets

That's not how to avoid infringement, that's how to avoid litigation. And in this game, that's not the way business is done. There's "what's illegal" and there's "what you'll get called on". Somewhere in between there lies "what I can get away with". And that's generally what many shoot for. Staying in your comfort zone will just get you buried in the harsh world of business.

So really, getting a suit brought for infringement at this level really isn't big news. Losing said fight is bad, for whoever loses. It either gives someone a free pass to continue without (as much) further harassment, or tosses a large bucket of water in your foundry. It's a gamble for both sides.

Apple has a pisspile of ("good" and "bad") patents and prior art on tablet design and touch interfaces, and if you try to compete in their market with something they think they can shove you out with, you can absolutely bet on them trying. It's just good business. And in this case Apple has a strong upper hand because of their early successes in these markets. Don't blame Apple. Whoever made it to the top of the hill first is naturally going to work hard to push the others off as they approach, that's just how the game is played. Doesn't matter if it was Samsung, Google, Nokia, Microsoft, whoever. They'd be doing exactly the same thing if they were in Apple's position right now, fighting to stay on top.

Re:not really (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273486)

Problem is this stifle competition and hurt us, the customers.

The solution? A sensible legal and patent system, where millions are not needed to defend against a frivolous lawsuit.

Captcha: inequity :)

Some more suggestions (2)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273268)

How about some ideas that may reduce iphone'ish look while increasing the appear/functionality of a phone

* A bit more of a raised "lip" on the phone. Possibly some pinstriping, or even a physical pinstripe around the edge. Something similar to a built-in bumper, which actually helps protect against screen damage. How about slightly raised outer edges (not the screen part, just the bezel)
* Bring back more slide/spring-out keyboards. On-screen keyboards SUCK!
* Bring back physical call/disconnect/vibrate/unlock. They don't have to be large but pocket/holder-fumbling a phone while trying to hit "answer" or unlock is a PITA
* A patterned front/back-surface, similar to how many laptops like HP's have. Tons of people by patterned cases anyhow, so it's not as if it's not popular already
* * Woodgrain (or even a real wood case). Again some laptops have a "bamboo" style etc now which actually looks pretty decent

I don't agree that iPhone's patents should be able to block Samsung's sales, but I also believe that phone companies should grow some b*lls when it comes to original elegant design. Certainly the suggestions about speakers and rounded corners are pretty much retarded.

Irregardless... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273300)

You can't deny that Samsung basically lifted *all* their design cues from Apple. It's ridiculous.

Take a look at the Asus Transformer for an example of how to make an attractive tablet that doesn't blatantly scream "Hey! I want to be an iPad!"

Progress! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273360)

Really, this is not the first time and will not be the last. Parents are forcing all companies in the same direction. I've been in the business long enough, and never forgot what I learnt all those years ago at HP. One night I was working late on some server monitoring software that never saw release. My boss was a pretty old guy but he knew his stuff. We were talking about patents when he invited me to join him for a coffee and a chat. He explained how he saw the globalization and increased competition from overseas leading to American companies being forced to increasingly restrictive and paranoid levels of protection for "IP". I suppose I didn't understand the whole idea of IP and us repeated explanations didn't make it any clearer to me. He shoved me roughly to the floor, and snapped the leg from a chair. Before I could protest he handed it to Lord Elrond who jammed it in to my ass. I called for parlay, remembering my pirate code, but Spock would have none of it. While Kirk sniggered, Spock gingerly pounded my prostate until I came to understand IP.

I was fortunate to learn about the industry from such experienced old hands. Captain Picard went on to found Oracle, Elrond went on to found something called Google. My boss quit, had a sex change and did enough poppers until she was suitably brain damaged enough to return to become HP's CEO. I founded the RIAA, and believe by sodomizing so many music lovers I've played my part in passing on the wisdom given to me by the old curmudgeon at HP.

Prophetic (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273420)

Dunder Mifflin recently introduced The Pyramid. [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:Prophetic (2)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273580)

It still looks way too uncluttered, and black. Would definitely infringe even with the triangle shape.

So .... (3, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273476)

I guess that means don't even bother innovating or building anything. I hate the patent system - it has become so broken as to be sorry. I thought patents should protect truly innovative ideas not commonly thought up things such as shapes. What next, someone will try and patent the tri-angle (hyphenated on purpose.)

so many more shapes to imitate (2)

surd1618 (1878068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273494)

How about a sponge-like smart phone, that you have to reach inside and work like a sock puppet? The display will be a round thing on the end. C'mon Samsung BE CREATIVE!

Re:so many more shapes to imitate (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273976)

LOL a sock puppet phone. Now THAT is an original design!

If iPhone design was so obvious... (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273830)

How come most phones released before looked so different? Just look at RAZR designs before Droid or even luxury phones like Aura. Why the sudden change to black rounded rectangles? What is wrong with moving home button to the side and having a much bigger screen with dedicated space for keyboard?

We can argue if it should be permissible to copy design, but bottom line is Samsung tried to profit by selling Apple knock offs. The point of lawsuits may be moot anyway because consumers seem to prefer the original.

Re:If iPhone design was so obvious... (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274330)

How come most phones released before looked so different? Just look at RAZR designs before Droid or even luxury phones like Aura. Why the sudden change to black rounded rectangles?

Because it turned out to be a popular design?

How much of that popularity is due to the iPhone is a matter of endless debate, of course - but would you suggest that manufacturers instead use something that's less or even plain unpopular?

You already point out that 'most' phones weren't black rounded rectangles, thus omitting the ones that aren't in that 'most' arena.
Be that the LG KE850 or the HTX Galaxy or the HTC Prophet, or others from smaller brands.

Apple weren't first but, again, they may have popularized it - what manufacturer would be so stupid as to then release silver models, or bright pink ones?
That said,my girlfriend has a crimson red MyTouch 3G Slide and I think it looks great. Personally I wouldn't have minded if my Android device was a navy blue. But I wouldn't say that other manufacturers -have- to choose non-black, or non-rectangular, or non-rounded corners just because Apple popularized that particular combination.

bottom line is Samsung tried to profit by selling Apple knock offs

Well I wouldn't say "knock offs" - they're not really cheap carbon copies sold as AppIe (if you don't see what I did there, change fonts) devices at stall markets across the world.
I agree that there's too much similarity (not just in the design but in icons used, etc. ) and that other designs would be a perfectly valid option and also garner sales just fine.
That said, I also don't see the huge problem if two devices did look exactly the same as long as there's no actual brand confusion (which actual knock-offs can cause).

Short answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273838)

...become a carpenter.

shocking (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273852)

I was expecting something like, "It has to be made out of wood and communicate in more's code". I'm impressed they allowed so many alternative possibilities.

Obviously Apple is holding it wrong... (5, Funny)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273858)

Obviously Apple is holding it wrong...

Front surfaces that are not black or clear

The screen on the Galaxy tab is on the back.

-- Terry

someone didn't pass basic geometry (1)

gerddie (173963) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273860)

From the guide:

... display screens that are more square than rectangular ...

http://www.mathopenref.com/square.html [mathopenref.com]

A square can be thought of as a special case of other quadrilaterals, for example:

  • a rectangle but with adjacent sides equal

oh Apple [straferight.com]

One simple question: (3, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273874)

If there was no iPad, if there was no iPhone, would the Samsung's tablets and phones still look the same?

Apple's defined these categories (1, Informative)

david.emery (127135) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273948)

Basically, as long as competitors' smartphones and tablets bear no resemblance to smartphones and tablets, everything's cool.
But that's just recognition that Apple has completely defined 2 new categories. It's worth noting, of course, that Palm had smartphones well before Apple, but those look -nothing like- today's Smartphones, a category basically taken over by the introduction of the iPhone.

I'm looking forward to someone/some company doing something truly original. I don't think the iPhone is the last word in "smartphones" (I hope not, although I'm on my second iPhone there are things I really don't like about it.) But so far I've seen very little that is new or truly innovative.

It's hard for apple to sell this (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#38273960)

Even if Samsung did deliberately rip off Apple, it seems hard to prove.

This would appear to be the problem with minimalist design. If someone else does a minimalist design, it's likely to look similar. Something that largely resembles a picture frame.

Not rectangular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38273990)

It's not rectangular, rather it is a diamond but you're holding it wrong.

Trying to use the existing flawed system... (1, Insightful)

OpinionatedDude (1323007) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274068)

A direct copy of an iPhone is a lot like porn. You know it when you see it. Samsung, et. al. flat out copied the iPhone, and then the iPad. Nothing that came before it looked anything like it. Now everything looks just like it. The entire industry copied the crap out of Apple's new devices. The purpose of a patent system is to allow someone who creates something entirely "new" to profit fully from their ingenuity. That is it's full and complete purpose. If the system is very flawed, don't bash Apple for trying to use it as best they can to accomplish the goals of the patent system. Bash the very flawed patent system. If, on the other hand, you disagree with the purpose of a patent system, then you should move to a communist country where nobody benefits from their own ingenuity.

How do you patent a style? (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274078)

My understanding is that you can patent a function but not a style, logo, look..etc. Works of "art" are protected by copyrights not patents.

In either case Apple sucks for using legal systems to try and keep others from competing with them for reasons that are clearly bullshit.

Re:How do you patent a style? (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274348)

My understanding is that you can patent a function but not a style, logo, look..etc. Works of "art" are protected by copyrights not patents.

Your understanding should be extended to "design patents" (US, some other countries) and "industrial design registrations" (many other countries). Unlike a utility patent - which protects a functional or useful (i.e. one with 'utility') invention - a design patent protects a non-functional aesthetic design. In fact, if a design has a function beyond being aesthetically pleasing, it cannot be protected by a design patent.

In either case Apple sucks for using legal systems to try and keep others from competing with them for reasons that are clearly bullshit.

And Samsung sucks for making a tablet that's so identical to an iPad that not even their lawyers can tell them apart after months of writing legal briefs about how they're so distinctive. Look at the Toshiba Thrive. Look at the Sony Tablet S.Look at the Eee Pad Slider. There are plenty of ways to make your own, distinctive product. Copying someone else's design so that you can hop on the popular bandwagon is bullshit.

The good news: you *can* avoid Apple's patents. (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274134)

The bad news: *I've* patented living under a rock.

Now we have 2 tech giants to hate! (4, Insightful)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274152)

Apple finally joins Microsoft at the bottom of the ethical barrel.

Minimalism (2)

identity0 (77976) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274184)

A company whose design aesthetic (famously) is minimalism should not go around accusing others of copying them.

Minimalism is about getting down to the bare nature of things. Every other design would be an additive change, so they potentially have the ability to sue everyone else regardless of how different the design is if they can get away with this lawsuit.

Boy, it sure will be fun when Apple do TV's (2)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274312)

So according to Apple, if a competitor emulates the look and feel of its own products then they should be banned from the market? And they've just shat on Samsung with smartphones and tablets for this reason, yet are now planning to enter a different market Samsung has led for decades? I'm really looking forward to seeing what contraptions Apple come up with which aren't large, thin, black rectangular devices controlled with a remote for showing TV pictures on.

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