Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

iMac Clone Gets Sued

CowboyNeal posted more than 15 years ago | from the here-we-go-again dept.

News 346

Jareth writes "Remember the iMac PC made by Future Power? Apparently Apple didn't like the idea of someone making money off of their design, so they are suing for damages. The story is over at Wired. " Well, they can't win a case based upon "look & feel", but it'll be interesting to see how this turns out. Luckily, whoever invented the beige case isn't suing every computer manufacturer ever.

cancel ×

346 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

trademark infringement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821045)

This case isn't quite as ludicruous as it seems. The iMac clone looks almost *exactly* like a real iMac. Let's face it, the iMac is an incredibly distinctive computer. And let's also face it, the company cloning the iMac's look is trying to leech off Apple's good trademark.

This is not the same as the "look and feel" lawsuits. There are only a tiny number of ways to implement a GUI. There are a nearly infinite number of ways to build a computer's case.

Lotus123 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821046)

Did the Lotus 123 (IBM??) people win a lawsuit when someone stolen the "look & feel" of their spread sheet design?

"look && feel" This is stupid.

I think Coke~a~Cola should sue pepsi, and all beer manufacters for stealing the "look && feel" of their soft drink can.

"Hey they are using something we thought of to make a better product for the rest of the world, now we can't have that. The rest of the world doeesn't need a better product, if they do they can buy whatever the hell we give them for what ever the hell we feel like charging, and if anyone has a problem with this I will sue your ass and make some more cash off that".

Don't your just love big companies.

hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821047)

Maybe aquarium manufacturers should consider suing Apple on account of iMac?
Just a thought.
- Rainy

Re:A cheap knock-off?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821048)

Pretty obvious you've never used one

This is NOT a look-and-feel lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821049)

Can't you read? Apple is trying to protect its intellectual property and brand name. How would BMW react if Ford released an exact replica of the Z3? This is a no-brainer, really.

Daewoo = Idiot Riposs Company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821050)

I can't believe people are attacking Apple for suing over this. The iMac case design is an Apple trademark, and I am sure that they have design patents for it, too. There is no way that a company should be able to get away with just copying a design like this. It is the equivalent of somebody taking an automotive body designed by Ford and using on Chrysler products. Ford would be suing them in milleseconds.

Basically what Daewoo is doing is trying to steal from Apple - Apple has put a huge amount of resources into establishing the iMac as a recognized brand in the marketplace, and Daewoo is trying to rip off Apple's brand. This is the sort of thing 3rd world countries have been trying to do for decades - come out with a cheap knock-off of an American made product that has good acceptance in the world market.

Anybody who has access to a good library should take a look at the US Patent Gazette- the back is FULL of patents for designs of consumer products.

Daewoo should be sued for something like this - what they are doing is absurd.

Re:trademark infringement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821051)

It doesn't have to say "Apple" on it anywhere. Confusing the consumer with the same packaging, design ... etc, is Trademark infringement. Plan and simple.

To win, Apple just needs to prove that the design is strikingly similar to there original. Which I believe they can do.

There are a ton of priors for this case. Plain and simple, it's similar packaging.

Apple invent beige case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821052)

Wasnt it Apple that started the Beige cases in the first place?

Also it was a loophole in a contract that caused Apple to lose against Microsoft in the "Look and Feel" case.
Apple has a case if they can proove "Trade Dress" in iMac's design wich is copywrite-able.
Trade Dress violations are where consumers might become confused or a brand might be diluted by a product that steals a Look or Feel.

this isnt look and feel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821053)

apple sued MS over look and feel, that is very abstract. look at the pictures of the two machines. apple spent many a dollar on this design, and FP has basically copied it. from 20 feet away, at a quick glance it is hard to tell which is which. the probelem here revolves more around the fact that apples case is used for aesthetic reasons, not just functional. under our laws, 'copying' something that is soley functional(all of our beige boxes)isnt against the law, but when you have a design not soley built that way for function(the imac, the new g3's, most american cars, etc.), that design is protected. details of this can be found at news.com. they mentioned gucci protecting a design of thier watch. we all want to see new and innovative designs from pc manufacturers, but if this is the trend, then i guess all the mac users are right, apple will be the only innovator where the rest will follow.(if you think all these flat panel display models are innovative, look back a bunch of years to the 20th anniversary mac, they got us there too)

Re: The point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821054)

> whining can't replace real innovation

Grow a brain. Where is Future Power's innovation? Apple is constantly innovating but needs to defend itself against a pack of Wintel cloners with a long tradidion of theft and counterfeit. May the better innovator win.

Re: The point is that Apple IS the innovator here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821055)

Give me a break - Apple IS the innovator here with a nice new case design. Apple has always been a strong innovator in the personal computer industry, and much of what we use today is derived from other companies trying to keep pace with Apple's innovations.

You should be critcizing Daewoo for lack of innovation, not Apple.

Re:so I can make a Mercury Cougar clone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821056)

Man, you're so full of shit. The consumer buys based on recognized brands. iMac is a very strong brand. The iMac clone is very easy to confuse with that brand.

Re:Give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821057)

Ask your teacher, what is "imitation gap".

Re: The point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821058)

And you know what? I'm FREE to break into your apartment and steal your computer. But unless I can sell your computer for a decent PRICE, it won't be worthwhile.

Yep, I can clearly see you have a fine grip on reality. Do you have a job? Do you do homework at your school (you are so clueless, you must be a student)? I suppose we're FREE to steal your work. Because after all, you should be spending time doing work instead of squabbling over people claiming your work as their own.

Re:Give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821059)

Almost every car on the road looks very similar to any other car.

if some car manufacturer made a blatant copy of the new vw bug(and this case is a blatant rip-off) do you think vw would not take any action? Most of the appeal with the vw bug, as well as the imac, is the look. apple will win in court because futurepower is basically trying to deceive people into thinking this is an imac. if this was just a beige all-in-one machine nobody would have taken any notice.

what about vw bug? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821060)

Almost every car on the road looks very similar to any other car. if some car manufacturer made a blatant copy of the new vw bug(and this case is a blatant rip-off) do you think vw would not take any action? Most of the appeal with the vw bug, as well as the imac, is the look. I believe apple will win in court because futurepower is basically trying to deceive people into thinking this is an imac. if this was just a beige all-in-one machine nobody would have taken any notice.

Re:Big Brother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821061)

Did they get the approval of *Ghandi's* or *Einstein's* estate to use them to sell their computers

Of course they asked for permission to use them in their Think different ads. IIRC, it was the first time ever that a company was given permission to use an Einstein mugshot in a commercial advertising campaign.

Re:Apple is really sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821062)

Apple's original idea is that a computer should be something that works with you not against you.
Apple didnt want people memorizing "Stupid" knowlege of arcane commands and methods to configure or work with your computer.
The end result is that people _CAN_ actualy use a computer that wouldnt ordinarily.
Sure its always best to be a master in whatever you persue, but this is the real world where real people do not have enough time in their short lives to become a master of everything. If they try, they usualy become a "master of none".

Sure, in a perfect world we should all be able to know enough about our cars to change our own transmissions... Sure we should all know how to cook meals fit for a king, sure we should all be masters of music and write a symphony...

I hope you get my point... Its great to be a master at something, but not everyone can be a master at everything nor should they. If everyone took the time to master ever detail about computers and had no interest about anything else, were would we get our cars fixed? How about if our plumbing goes bad?
want to eat out? hope you like raw meat...

Because something is easy to figure out and learn doesnt make it "Stupid". It makes it intuitive and probably elegant.
Its friendly interface is approachable allowing people to learn to use a computer without fear of arcane commands...

I would say a command line interface does more to "Hide" information and constrict learning for new users (Keeping them "stupid") than does a GUI.

$address =~ s/NOSPAM//g; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821063)

Nothing personal; just the latest example...

agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821064)

To all the apologists who are arguing that Apple's design is not innovative: let me ask you this. Why is everyone going out of their way to copy it? It's much cheaper to use the prefab beige cases instead of making your own case. Or for that matter, why was the iMac such a huge success? After all, it's just like the G3 towers, only in a different case.

Re:Schweet!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821065)

Maybe because an iMac costs 20%-30% more. Duh!

Re:Suing by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821066)

More damaging? One of the primary reasons Mac has been near the brink of death so many times in the last decade is because of GUI design. I highly doubt copying some case colours is going to hit them as hard as copying the integrated graphical environment did.

Re: The point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821067)

Do you mean "NEITHER is innovati(ve)..."?

possibility of confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821068)

S'pose someone walks into a store where iMac's are being sold. Is she immediately going to think, "Oh look! ADM terminals!"

Now s'pose someone walks into a store where this iMac clone is being sold. He's probably going to think, "Oh, there's one of those iMac's I've been hearing about. Wow, and it's only $799. Hmm, they added a floppy drive too!"

Don't be ridiculous, the trademark infringement is very clearcut in this case.

Re:Suing by design (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1821132)

The reason Apple didnt win against the Microsoft case wasn't because of "look and feel" but a loophole in a contract wich let Microsoft off the hook.

Simple Economics (1)

Joseph Vigneau (514) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821135)

So where do you draw the line? How long can a product be considered unique until some of the product's features become common across the industry?

When the cost of defending those features becomes higher than the cost of losing the sale to a rip-off copy.

Apple's at it again (0)

Erik Hollensbe (808) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821137)

Weren't they the inventors of the "look and feel" lawsuit in the first place?

IIRC, I believe that's why the EMACS maintainers won't port it to Macintosh.

-Erik-

(no subject) (0)

PHroD (1018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821141)

well i think that instead of trying to duplicate the imac's look, just make NEW designs...intel is supposedly doing that, and they have a few cute ones....but i personally think that the Mac ppl have a real feel for asthetics and what pleases the eye and a lot of these rip-off case makers just dont get it, making the case look not nearly as spiffy

but then again i have a beige case on my peecee and i leave the side off 24/7...its about the insides anyway :)


"There is no spoon" - Neo, The Matrix

Not so... (1)

cirby (2599) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821151)

REALLY actually, there are lawsuits like this all of the time. People like fashion designers, home furniture makers, and soft drink companies sue other all of the time for copying industrial designs.

Just remember that the only reason Apple lost the "look and feel" lawsuit against Microsoft was because Apple had previously signed a badly-written contract with MS that basically gave away the ranch. Microsoft didn't win because of "look and feel" merits- Apple lost because of Apple's crappy lawyers in the early 1980s.

They're BOTH clones (1)

stevew (4845) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821158)

Ever see the old Lear-Siegler
ADM terminals? Both are shaped
similarly. The only difference
is the colors - and that isn't
TOO different.

The ADM's expired in the early 80s
so any "design patents" have expired.
I kinda wonder how valid either would
be.

Ahhh ... some nice American chauvanism (1)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821159)

``This is the sort of thing 3rd world countries have been trying to do for decades - come out with a cheap knock-off of an American made product''

Last time I looked at the back of my brothers G3 Mac, I noticed it was mad in Taiwan.

And I wouldn't call Daewoo a company from a 'third world country'. They own more light and heavy indutrial concerns than many people could imagine. Bought a Japanese electrical product lately? If it wasn't made in a Daewoo sub-contract factory, then it was probably shipped in a Daewoo made cargo vessel, and inloaded at the docks by a Daewoo made crane ...

The American industrial sector is dying, and the bits that aren't are foreign owned. Look up the businesses owned by the Hanson Trust sometime - they own massive anmounts of US industrial concerns. Although they a re a strip and sell outfit, closing R'n'D and then selling the superficially successful shell of a company a year later ...


Chris Wareham

Apple has a point; just ask Ted L. Nancy (1)

CoffeeNowDammit (5514) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821160)

Has anyone out there read the book "More Letters From A Nut"? Supposedly it was written by Jerry Seinfeld and some cohorts under the pseudonym in the subject line of this post. Essentially the book consists of incredibly absurd letters sent to legitimate entities (corporations, pro sports teams, city governments, etc.), and the replies obtained from them. Parts of it are hilarious, and one in particular is relevant.

Ted once wrote to the Coca-Cola company that he was planning on marketing a soft drink called "Kiet Doke", the slogan for which was "it tastes nothing like Pepsi!". The original letter is a howl.

The reply from Coca-Cola was even more telling: the happy gnomes in Atlanta wanted Ted Nancy to sign a release form, providing confirmation that he would never create a soft drink called "Kiet Doke".

Yep, Coca-Cola had corporate pit bulls (oops, I mean, lawyers) ready to pounce on Mr. Nancy. They felt they had a legitimate case, if in fact Ted Nancy wasn't kidding. And they were probably right.

The Apple suit is very much like this one, except that an actual product exists (vs. just a letter from a nut).

For the record, Ted sent a letter back stating that he'd abandon the project in favor of one called "Piet Depsi" ("it tastes nothing like Coke!").
-----

How long can a company guard a product's features? (2)

Mumble01 (5809) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821162)

I wonder where the line can be drawn when it comes to copyright infringement. I'm on Apple's side on this one... that new PC is a blatant rip-off of a currently unique product and Future Power shouldn't be allowed to sell something that's almost an exact cosmetic duplicate of the iMac.

But I probably would not feel the same way in a year or two if Apple ever decided to levy a similar lawsuit after more PC manufacturers had deviated from the standard "beige" PC cases and come out with unique designs of their own, some of which would undoubtedly incorporate a few elements of the iMac without copying the appearance verbatim.

So where do you draw the line? How long can a product be considered unique until some of the product's features become common across the industry?

Mike

Re:Apple's at it again (1)

heretic (5829) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821165)

Weren't they the inventors of the "look and feel" lawsuit in the first place?

The inventor of that type of lawsuit was a company that sued McDonalds for its Mayor McCheese character, which was said to have infringed on the look and feel of one of their own characters.

Re:Apple's at it again (2)

heretic (5829) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821166)

I just remembered that it was one of Sid and Marty Krofft's characters (Mayor Pufnstuf) which McDonalds copied. These two were also the designers of the "Banana Splits" and "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters" and, of course, "H.R. Pufnstuf".

Re:How long can a company guard a product's featur (1)

landley (9786) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821176)

Define "deviating from the standard beige case". IBM made some remarkably stylish solid black computers a year or two back. I still have the keyboard from one somewhere. Okay it wasn't bright green with a translucent case, but it certainly looked unique, and it was pre-imac. The original model T was produced in "any color the customer wants, so long as it's black". Later, they diversified into bright red sports cars and psychadelic VW bugs (or the new "Volkswagen Feature"; there's no such thing as a fuel injected bug). Look-and-feel differentiation is normal for an industry. It didn't occur to most of US for the first decade or two because we're not exactly normal, are we? Rob

Re:Suing by design (1)

voncheesebiscuit (10243) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821178)

Egads, that thing is hideous. Looks like it should be sold out of the back of an unmarked white van.

design patents (2)

DdJ (10790) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821183)

Um...

You *can* win on a look-and-feel basis, if you're talking about the look-and-feel of something material, and you've got a design patent for it. That's sorta what design patents are *for*.

Does Apple have a design patent on the iMac?

Ponderings... (1)

cswiii (11061) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821186)

If I were a computer manufacturer, I'd try and sell my systems for what they could do, not what they looked like; the aesthetics would be just a side note. Now, Apple is suing this company based on their PC case. It almost sounds as if Apple has succumbed to this, selling boxen merely from an aesthetic perspective.

I mean, sure, if I could afford one, I'd have an iMac, but not particularly for the case, as much as the platform that would allow me to install PPC.

If Apple has directed their marketing towards selling computers based on appearance (let's hope not), they've got more problems to worry about than cheap lookalikes.

Look and feel (1)

azz (12928) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821202)

Apple do like to protect their intellectual property, don't they? Remember when GEM was sued for looking too Apple-like?

I also don't remember Commodore suing the company that made a 486 PC in an Amiga 1200-style case. Now that's a machine I would like very much to own.

"I want to use software that doesn't suck." - ESR
"All software that isn't free sucks." - RMS

Re:Apple's at it again (1)

azz (12928) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821203)

IIRC, I believe that's why the EMACS maintainers won't port it to Macintosh.

This used to be true, but GNU have since relaxed their stance. Given that Apple are now just another UNIX manufacturer and are trying to pick up the whole Open Source (bletch) idea, I don't think they're too worried any more.

"I want to use software that doesn't suck." - ESR
"All software that isn't free sucks." - RMS

Re:Give me a break (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821204)

Here's an idea: instead of relying on shiny plastic to sell your product, what about perhaps including cool technology that copycats CAN'T beat?

They do this. How do you think they sell computers to people like me, who care more about what's in the computer than what it looks like?

The point is, the people who are most likely to be buying an iMac care more about the colorful plastic than any technology it contains that may be considered "cool." Ever start talking to a non-techie about the virtues of Linux and have their eyes glaze over? If not, try it sometime, it's kinda neat.

Apple does innovate technology, and in a big way, but most people don't care. For those of us who do, Microsoft will probably steal it anyway, but they never quite seem to get it right.

Re:Apple better have ALOT of lawyers (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821205)

When you say "iMac clones," do you mean computers in colorful translucent plastic? If so, that's ok, nothing illegal there. What Apple's mad about is that the computer mentioned in this article looks almost exactly like the iMac. From a distance, they're very difficult to tell apart.

Re:Ponderings... (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821206)

Apple sells what the customer will buy. The runaway sales of the iMac prove that the consumer is at least as influenced by aesthetics as by "real" features when buying a computer. Macs as powerful as the iMac and not too much more expensive were available before its introduction, but those never sold nearly as well.

Of course, the iMac is not Apple's only product, they also have a complete line of professional G3s, and using those is a real power trip.

Cokee Coola already exists... (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821218)

At least by example. Consider breakfast cereal-- just this morning I had some Toasy-O's in a big yellow rip-off cheerios box. I have a box of Corn Bursts (corn pops anybody?) that's getting a little stale, too. Same product. Nearly the same package. Fifty different companies, and nobody's getting sued. I think that a look-and-feel lawsuit, however justified, is on shaky ground with our legal system.

so I can make a Mercury Cougar clone.... (1)

Hasdi Hashim (17383) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821223)

... and get away with it? Ford is going to sue me and they have every right to. This way beyond having a similar interface. The FuturePower casing looks like a blatant iMac rip-off. I hope Apple wins. The GUI is still debatable.

Hasdi

Schweet!! (1)

Khan (19367) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821232)

Finially, an Intel clone of the iMac! My dreams of a "portable" Linux box are about to come true! I can't WAIT! :)

Why can't PC companies innovate? (2)

frobozz (19428) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821233)

Why is it that all PC companies can do is copy Apple? Why can't they come out with their own innovative designs and add something to the progress of the industry? This sort of blatant rip off is absurd. They can't even come up with their own color for crissakes.

Seriously, this is a slam dunk for Apple. You cannot just go around copying designs for consumer products like this - they are protected by both patent and trademark laws out the wazzoo. What these guys are doing is equivalent to releasing a cola drink in a coke bottle shaped clone and calling it Cokee-Coola. Can you imagine how quickly Coca-Cola Inc. would be on their case?

If this flies I am going out and start my own web site, and call it Slashdit, complete with exact copies of the page layout, news stories and everything.

Re:Apple is really sad (1)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821235)

Apple spent a lot of money, I'm sure, on paying designers to come up with the iMac's look. And then money for retooling so it could be manufactured. Why? Because, like it or not, a product can get more sales with a strong, fresh design that gets the press talking. Regardless of the technology inside. You might be only concerned with the guts and think "a box is a box", but Joe Consumer is going to reach for his wallet quicker if product B looks "cool" or "new" or "innovative" or whatever, while product A looks same old boring thing.

Having spent that money, you think Apple wants to sit back and let other companies make a quick buck of of Apple's work and the public awareness of their product's look? No way. Like any company that wants to stay in business, Apple is protecting something they came up with. This rip-off is just trying to profit off of Apple's work. If the iMac had been a flop, do you think they would style theirs this way?

And your obvious disgust of Apple products and their strategy, which you feel is dumbing down computers, has nothing to do with whether they should protect their designs.

Re:Fair case... I hope they win. (1)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821236)

well.....take a look at "He's so Fine" and George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord." Harrison lost the case and paid big time, even though his defense was that the two songs were different (in lyrics at least) and he had written his song without any influence from "He's so Fine." True, it wasn't just a matter of chord progression, it was also the melody line and the chorus. But that's built on chords.

(no subject) (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821237)

I still want my computer in an aquarium... Why just a have a fish on your screen when you can have them all around. Or even a case that is really shaped as a penguin.
I ate my tag line.

Agree, which I dont. (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821238)

Take a close look at the new pc. There are alot of diffrences in the unit. If someone where to sue it should be the company that made the all in one pc. Think about that. Compaq and IBM had PCs with a monitor built in. It's all about look and feel. If you could really get away with this, everyone would be sueing each other in the automotive section of the world.
I ate my tag line.

Re:Apple made the first beige case, too. (1)

demigod (20497) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821239)

Computer were beige before the Apple II.
I read an article last year about why
computers are beige and it all took place
before apple came along. I wish I could
remember where I read it.

Re:Give me a break (1)

adlerspj (21924) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821241)

Here's an idea: instead of relying on shiny plastic to sell your product, what about perhaps including cool technology that copycats CAN'T beat?

When J. Random Consumer goes into Best Buy and remembered hearing something about the iMac, and sees the iMac next to a fake one there for less, he'll think of it as a cheaper version of the iMac, and buy it. Consumers know (and probably don't care to know) little about what the differences are between computers. They are very intimidated by all the choices, the terminology, etc.

Apple, at a time when you desperately need to reinvent your image, you get no respect for this.

Companies must defend their copyrights and patents, or else they can't defend them later on.

Re:Suing by design (2)

Numeric (22250) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821243)

Do you think Mercedes-Benz would sue Ford if they developed a sports car that looked exactly like the Mercedes-Benz SLK? Of course they would.

If you read the article, Future Powers claims the egg design has "the most natural design to ensure the smallest footprint." This is not true at all. Gateway's Profile XL [gateway.com] is flat-panel system that has a smaller footprint than the iMac and I am sure that other OEM have similiar flat-panel system as well.

Not only will Future Powers machine have the iMac design, it will be sold in FIVE different colors, exactly the same FIVE colors as the iMac.

I wonder if Future Powers machine has a round mouse too?

Here's an article [zdnet.com] with a side-by-side photograph of the machines.

#####

Re:They're BOTH clones (2)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821244)

Ever see the old Lear-Siegler ADM terminals?

My university had quite a few of those. Not unusual in itself, until you consider that I graduated last year. Those terminals are probably still in use. Cutting-edge technology or what? :-) What "computer science budget"?

Re:Give me a break (2)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821247)

Give Apple a break, eh? This sort of lawsuit is fairly common, more than likely the angle they'll take invovles trademark dilution. Like if Pepsi decided to give their bottle curves just like Coke's.
The fact is, Apple has [again] made a name for themselves; for many people, solely based on the iMac. It's unfair (and probably illegal) for someone else to make some $ off Apple's hard work, marketing, and perseverence.
There are probably an infinite number of possible case designs, and thus an infinite number cooler and better than the iMac -- I guess it's just easier to copy Apple's and wait until their next case to make a new 'breakthrough'.

It DOES Innovate... (1)

Wah (30840) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821252)

it has a floppy drive.

Jobs must'a been tripping when he nixed that one.

Re:That's funny... it looks like an old terminal.. (1)

JimMcc (31079) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821260)

That was my first response on seeing the posting as well.

On the other hand, I think they did go a little to far with the selection of five colors, and the color matching so well. But then again, as another person pointed out, what about all the beige boxes.

I think Apple is off their rocker on this one.

I'd be mad too.. (1)

a.out (31606) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821264)

If the imac was my design and I saw this, but it has a floppy drive so that makes everything ok! :)

Re:Schweet!! (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821267)

Why don't you put LinuxPPC on an iMac, then?

To use the 80's Southern California venacular, "Duh!"

Re:Suing by design (1)

PhoneMonkey (32729) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821268)

I don't see HOW Apple can win, and they must have the worst lawyers to allow this to occur.

To pull out another analogy, this would be like Ford suing Chevy because "their cars also come in many colors and are also easy to drive."

This suit will be over fast.

Re:Give me a break (0)

amper (33785) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821271)

Go back to class, little monkey.

Ask your law or economics teachers what the term "trade dress" means.

The origin of beige... (1)

amper (33785) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821272)

Actually, the proliferation of "beige" in products is due, I am told, to an infamous study done earlier in this century (1940's?) by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (otherwise known as 3M), which determined that office workers surrounded by beige-colored objects were more productive than office workers surrounded by other-colored objects.

Since that time, most office equipment has come in innocuous shades of tan, beige, ecru, putty, what-have-you.

Areas where the Apple ][ did innovate include the first-ever structural plastic foam casing.

Re:trademark infringement. (1)

amper (33785) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821273)

You should learn more about what constitutes a trademark, copyright, or patent before you spout off.

Re:Apple is really sad (1)

amper (33785) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821274)

What Apple is doing is not "enabling computer ignorance", what Apple is doing is making low-level electronics and software engineering knowledge unnecessary for, and irrelevant to, the end-user. Your arguments have no basis in fact.

For a better understand of what is morally correct, try reading Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers"; it might open your eyes.

While you're spending so much time figuring out how to set those little dipshit switches and jumpers just to get your sound card (or whatever) to work, I'll be actually getting useful work done that expands the sum of human knowledge.

Apple doesn't need to expand their customers minds, what is need to do is help those customers expand their minds all by themselves by not getting in the way by requiring a user to know the difference between an IRQ and an I/O port.

I have an extremely high level of knowledge about computer systems, from mainframes down to the lowest-level desktop. I advise large organizations on technology purchases. When it came time to spend *my* money, I bought a Macintosh.

My current Mac (7500) is now four years old, and runs the latest system software release (Mac OS X Server 1.0/BeOS 4.5/Mac OS 8.6/MkLinux DR3 QUAD-BOOT). The only upgrade it ever got was a 604/120 card for $19.99.

Have you seen any four-year old 486/Pentium PC's running Windows 2000 effectively, or even *at all*?

Re:Give me a break (1)

amper (33785) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821275)

That would only be relevant if the were actually a gap. The two designs are so similar as to be confusing to the consumer.

Linux consumer box (1)

Snowfox (34467) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821283)

This looks like a great little box. If all of the pieces are Linux compatible, there's a great market opportunity here.

A good installation with Netscape, X11Amp, all the basic office apps installed and ready, the configuration targetted at this specific machine, ready to plug in a new user name and ISP dial up settings, this could be the perfect no-brain consumer Linux box.

RedHat or similar could jump on this and contract to reserve the red unit for Redhat sales only. Charge half of what MS does for a Windows license and let the PC vendor keep the difference to keep them excited as well...

As many people as there are who do -nothing- that isn't web-based, this could be a winner for everyone - a nicely controlled test deployment of Linux as a low-end consumer OS.

Re:Give me a break (1)

gorilla (36491) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821284)

Almost every car on the road looks very similar to any other car.

Almost every minivan on the road looks very similar to any other car.

Almost every jet in the air looks very similar to any other jet.

Almost every toaster in the kitchens looks very similar to any other toaster.

let's face it, copying the look of a successful product is the way the world works.

Well this is one for the record books. (2)

skelly (38870) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821286)

It does look like a cheap knock-off of the IMac. I wonder if intellectual property or even copywrite extends to the look and feel of a product. Most of the time anyone comes out with a new product, all th ecompetitors start copying the product and even the design. I guess that we shall have to wait and see.

According to Future Power... (1)

schuster (39361) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821287)

According to Future Power, the Epower (or whatever it's called) and the iMac don't compete because Apple sells the iMac to mac users and the Epower is for the "windows enthusiast". This isn't true becuause Apple has been selling the iMac to both wintel users and mac users. Furthermore, they both sell to people who don't own a computer yet. As for the "windows enthusiast", I didn't know such a beast existed. Can anyone confim or deny this for me?

-Dan

Apple made the first beige case, too. (1)

caper (40124) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821288)

Why are they all beige in the first place? Because the Apple ][ was. They may not have the market-share, or marketing machine in place to attain such, but they're still one of the (if not THE) most innovative and visionary computer companies around. Period.

P.S. I'm a PC/Linux user, but props due to Apple.

"Anything you can do, I can do meta-." - Douglas R. Hofstadter

That's funny... it looks like an old terminal... (0)

Sun Tzu (41522) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821290)

with a translucent case to me. Who created that terminal that Apple cloned anyway? Lear-Seigler, perhaps? Anyone remember?


Re:Suing by design (1)

mykey2k (42851) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821299)

The "Coca-Cola" bottle design ("the contour bottle") is trademarked or copyrighted (see www.coke.com/legal.html [coke.com] ).

Maybe Apple was smart enough in the beginning to do this to the "all-in-one" design of the iMac.

Maybe not. Anyone know?

-m

Re:Apple's at it again (1)

pchayes (44827) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821301)

I think Lotus came up with the idea of suing on the basis of "look and feel". After they ceased to be able to make meaningful updates to 1-2-3, they started suing companies which made spreadsheets using similar menu heirarchies.

Re:Why can't PC companies innovate? (1)

pchayes (44827) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821302)

Actually, you can go around ripping off other people's designs - they aren't covered by copyright and certainly not by patents. It's why you get knock-offs of designer clothing and furniture.

The alternative would be a complete nightmare of companies suing each other over "your lamp looks too much like my lamp" or "those pants look too much like our pants".

This is a harassment lawsuit on Apple's part. They're probably also hoping that if they get the right judge, he'll overide previous rulings concerning design and copyright or something.

Fair case... I hope they win. (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821303)

Hey all,

There are a few people already who are comparing the current lawsuit to Apple suing GEM et al for being too AppleOS-like. I personally feel that Apple has a strong case this time as the design is copyrightable and any opposition has to make their design distint. This is also applicable to the various OS'es, *but* one could not go around copyrighting THE Graphical User Interfaces as an entity on its own. Therefore the GUI must be distinct on its own.

The same applies for the Imac case. I looked at the pretty pictures of both machines mentioned, and if I hadn't been told which was which, I doubt I could say who manufactured which one. This must surely prove that Apple is in the right.

From another point of view, this time music :

Whilst one could not copyright the chord of G, if you write a piece of music then the sequence of chords may not be reused by anyone else (within reason) without the copyright holders permission.

Now compare this to the casing issue.

Whilst one could not copyright a generic black case, if one was to design a stripy black case with a couple of sexy logos then that CAN be copyrighted and no one may use that design without your permission.

Re:Apple is really sad (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821304)

>The Case has nothing to do with the computer, it >is what is inside, and what you do with it that >counts.

Bollocks. Who want's some scabby coloured case for their pc when they could have one which actually looks good. I know that I may be no design guru, but I like to have my house looking nice... not like a technophobe's nightmare...


>Apple is doing nothing but enableing computer >ignonace. "Sure it is ok to be stupid at >computers, here a five year old can use this >computer, with a little help and hard work I bet >even you could use this computer"

Just accept it - some people are better at some things than other people are. I can program and I can play damn fine jazz, *but* I am no sportsman. One of my friends can also use computers and is really sporty, *but* he cannot even count in time (in the musical sense). Then there's my mother who could never use a computer just because... well, I don't know. She's really clever, don't get me wrong, but she has enough trouble using the video player...

Now, you I take it can use computers, and you obviously look down on Macintoshes for being so easy. I personally don't like Macs because in my experience they are just too damn inflexible. My current machine is a SuSE 5.0x box and I like it because I can do anything I want to. However, if I was to sit my mother down in front of it, she'd have a breakdown, I'm sure of it. As it is though, when she does need to word process a document, she can just about do it on a Mac without any help from me.

So what's the problem ?

Re:Fair case... I hope they win. (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821305)

I have not had any experience of BeOS so I can't comment there.

I have used fvwm95 and whilst there are a couple of dodgy points like to menubar... well only that really, the only *real* point that Microsoft could sue on would be the taskbar on the bottom of the screen... and don't forget KDE whilst you're at it...

Oh yeah, StarOffice must be a prime problem then because it has it's very own start menu... oops ;-)

Give me a break (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821308)

Is *this* Apple's response to EVERYTHING?
How immature and bratty. It just shows that Jobs wants Apple to be more a primadonna than to actually develop cool technology (which I don't think anything of that nature has been done since Woz left). Here's an idea: instead of relying on shiny plastic to sell your product, what about perhaps including cool technology that copycats CAN'T beat?

Apple, at a time when you desperately need to reinvent your image, you get no respect for this.

Re: The point (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821309)

> If this flies I am going out and start my own
> web site, and call it Slashdit, complete with
> exact copies of the page layout, news stories
> and everything.

And you know what? You're FREE to. But unless your site has better CONTENT (content is the key here), nobody will care. TONS of sites are set up like Slashdot (the ubiquitous "weblog" format). Each has content appealing to its target audience. Slashdot isn't Slashdot because of perty pictures and layout (although Rob does pour tons of effort into making this great)...it's Slashdot because of its discussion. CAN Apple throw a fit and sue people over this? Yes, probably. Will it make them look good, like they're a part of the computing community they purportedly serve...not to me. Yes Apple has been ripped off in the past. But whining can't replace real innovation and. By fervently fighting this, Apple is making the stand and the statement that they are a company that sells curvy plastic cases, and not technology.

I think Apple should be spending time porting MacOS instead of squabbling over their different-thinking plastic casing.

Re:so I can make a Mercury Cougar clone.... (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821310)

Yes, you can...you just probably can't name it that. But if it gets 10 miles/gallon, with a top speed of 30 mph, and falls apart after a few months nobody will care what it looks like. The point is not what shape it is, but what it delivers. Cars look so much alike, I can't even tell some of them apart from a distance besides they're little logo. If Ford sues you for the shape of the body you use, what will people think about Ford cars themselves?

Re:Big Brother? (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821311)

Probably. Did they get the approval of *Ghandi's* or *Einstein's* estate to use them to sell their computers (which really sorta turns my stomach)? THAT I would like to know.

I don't mind Jeff Goldblum selling they're stuff though. Dead people can't make decisions about products though. It's just co-opting a meme.

Re: The point (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821312)

No. NEITHER is innovation as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Fair case... I hope they win. (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821313)

They might as well sue Be. BeOS GUI is VERY MacOS-like.

And Microsoft should sue whoever does fvwm95, then.

Re:Apple is really sad (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821314)

> Bollocks. Who want's some scabby coloured case
> for their pc when they could have one which
> actually looks good. I know that I may be no
> design guru, but I like to have my house looking
> nice... not like a technophobe's nightmare...

I do. I want a scabby, ugly-ass, stupid-looking case, as long as the *contents* meet my requirements. If the contents do meet my requirements then a nicer case is a superficial thing...if the one I have doesn't work or scares technophobes whose opinions I happen to care about might change it. I won't pay a premium just for a look. I could shop at Gap if I wanted to do that.

Although the "Apple-is-enabling-ignorance" is somewhat true, it really isn't a relevant argument. From the dawn of computers we have been trying to make interfaces more intuitive and easy for their operators to use. Given population distribution, this would seem to indicate that at least some of them would have to be oversimplified (not everybody is a techie). Not everybody needs to learn assembler...they should at least read the manuals though.

Side by side comparison (1)

First Person (51018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821328)

Check out the article at Ziff-Davis [zdnet.com] for side by side images of the two machines.

Suing by design (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821344)

I don't think apple can win, they didn't when they sued microsoft over stealing the "look and feel" of the interface. Althought this does hold the prospect of being more damaging than GUI design...

Re:Why can't PC companies innovate? (1)

balneary (56298) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821352)

A few years ago, Dodge came out with their new
enormous pickup trick design with the bulbous
fenders that dwarfed everyone else's trucks. Two
years later (as fast as the auto industry can respond
to anything) Ford and GM came out with their own
enormous bulbous fendered trucks. Why didn't Dodge
sue them? Because the copying of succesful products is
normal business practice.
What makes the computer industry so special?

Re:That's funny... it looks like an old terminal.. (1)

ProfessorSchnibble (57814) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821356)

Yeah. I've often said the iMac looks like a cross between an ADM-3A and one of those blue humidifiers you see in the department stores.

Re:trademark infringement. (1)

radja (58949) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821359)

pfft... does it say anywhere that it is an apple?
Ishould think not. this is supposed to be anapple CLONE. I don't see car manufacturers sue eachother because the cars happen to look alike..

Re:Fair case... I hope they win. (1)

Coy0t3 (62077) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821361)

But you can't copyright a sequence of chords. If you could, you wouldn't have half the music you listen to.

Apple better have ALOT of lawyers (1)

Mai Longdong (63346) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821370)

Because they'll probably have to sue in every country in the world. At the Computex show (here in Taipei), I only saw ONE case company NOT making iMac clones. BTW, my wife works at that company and I think their newest cases are pretty snazzy....look kinda like the old BeBox!)

Re:A cheap knock-off?!?!? (1)

Mai Longdong (63346) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821371)

Ah, but I HAVE, grasshopper. But we're talking LOOK and FEEL, right?

Big Brother? (1)

Mai Longdong (63346) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821372)

Just wondering....did Apple get permission from the estate of George Orwell for the 1984 Superbowl "Big Brother is Watching You" ad?

Re:Big Brother? (1)

Mai Longdong (63346) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821373)

Dead people can't...true, but their families/estates DO.
I just hope to god we don't see Princess Di selling iMacs come Xmas.

Why Apple can win this case.... (3)

roger_ford (65174) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821384)

Apple can win this lawsuit despite losing to Microsoft, for one basic reason: the two lawsuits are based on entirely different legal reasoning.

Apple lost the Microsoft suit because they had signed a contract saying that Microsoft could use some of the features of the Mac OS in a Windows product. They have of course not signed any such document with Future Power.

There are two legal tactics Apple could use, according to computer and intellectual property law specialist Curtis E. Karnow. The first is "trade dress," which covers the distinctive appearance of a product and its association with a certain company in the minds of consumers. The classic example of this is the distinctive appearance of the Coca Cola bottle. Trade dress is very difficult to prove, however, since you have to prove that consumers could be confused.

The other tactic Apple could take is dilution of trademark. From MacWeek:

" `Apple could charge Future Power with trademark dilution, which is much easier to prove than trade dress,' Karnow said. Proof of trademark dilution requires no substantive documentation of any confusion customers might experience when they see a product that looks much like the iMac."

Apple certainly has the iMac designs trademarked (and probably has design patents too), so this would be a relatively easy case to win.

For more information, see:
http://macweek.zdnet.com/1999/06/27/epower.html
http://macweek.zdnet.com/1999/06/27/imacalikethu rs.html

-Roger Ford
remove NOSPAM from email to reply

keyboard (1)

HOBZ (85022) | more than 15 years ago | (#1821389)

What I find remarkable is that not only did they copy the case but also the keyboard. Why they would to that I don't know as I would hate to type on it all day (yes, I have used the iMac keyboard and though I like the machine the keyboard is just a pain) so it's hardly for aesthetic reasons they did so. I think they just wanted to leech off the design, plain and simple. It's just business. And what about the colours? Damn if that isn't a dead giveaway! Wonder what mouse if comes with :)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>