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Samsung Ordered To Hand Over Unreleased Designs To Apple 260

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the we-totally-didn't-copy-your-design dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an article in Edible Apple "Samsung last Wednesday was ordered to hand over to Apple five as-of-yet unreleased products so that Apple can compare them to their own offerings ahead of litigation. Apple of course claims that Samsung's products blatantly copy the look and feel of Apple's iOS devices."
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Samsung Ordered To Hand Over Unreleased Designs To Apple

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @11:45AM (#36240442) Journal
    The current headline reads:

    Samsung Ordered to Hand Over Unreleased Designs to Apple

    Uh huh ... well, when I go to the original source cited in the article [courthousenews.com] I find this piece of text:

    She [Judge Koh] also limited the results of discovery to "Outside Counsel Eyes Only," meaning neither Apple nor its in-house counsel will get a peek at the phones or related marketing materials.

    (Emphasis mine.) I must confess that one does have to read the entire article of Courthouse News to get to that somewhat important and relevant tidbit but that is asking a bit much for an editor. Or perhaps that was known but "Court Counsel to Judge Samsung Prototypes" just doesn't boil up the anti-Apple blood like the current headline does?

    • by alen (225700)

      this is 2011 and the Age of Blogs. Get with the program

    • The very article you linked to says the same thing:

      "Samsung Electronics was told Wednesday to fork over five of its not-yet-released mobile phones to Apple."

      And I am pretty sure it would be hard to put this news in a light that wasn't anti-Apple.

      • And I am pretty sure it would be hard to put this news in a light that wasn't anti-Apple.

        I am one of the most anti-Apple people out there. I own a very old iPod I bought from a friend for $30 and I love the device but I hate the software so I use my own GPL software to access it. I will never buy an Apple product first hand. I will never buy their software and I will never develop for them. But I don't let that get in the way of facts about current news.

        I personally feel like all the major phone makers were playing nicely until Apple joined and then someone kicked the patent hornet nes

        • by shadowrat (1069614) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @12:32PM (#36241148)

          It is my opinion that Apple's design (ornamental?) patents [wikipedia.org] or look and feel patents do disgust me more than other functional oriented patents ....

          That's an interesting stance. It's always seemed to me that design patents seem inherintly more just. After all, there should be an infinite number of ways of designing the look and feel of your interface.

          So apple patented the design of a home screen consisting of rectangular icons with a 1:1 aspect ratio and corners clipped by a circle with a diameter 90% of the width. Why wouldn't I, as a competitor, want to make a product that looked different? Mine will have round icons instead. problem solved. Yeah, some people just want to make a knockoff product that looks like an iphone. Design patents make that hard. I have a hard time feeling sorry for them. As a consumer i'd kind of like a choice in how my phone looks.

          It's the fact that someone can patent an algorithm, like displaying a full screen launch image prior to loading the application to give the system a feeling of responsiveness, that i find egregious.

          • by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @01:22PM (#36241888)

            That's an interesting stance. It's always seemed to me that design patents seem inherintly more just. After all, there should be an infinite number of ways of designing the look and feel of your interface.

            So apple patented the design of a home screen consisting of rectangular icons with a 1:1 aspect ratio and corners clipped by a circle with a diameter 90% of the width. Why wouldn't I, as a competitor, want to make a product that looked different? Mine will have round icons instead. problem solved. Yeah, some people just want to make a knockoff product that looks like an iphone. Design patents make that hard. I have a hard time feeling sorry for them.

            The courts decided to exempt clothing design from copyright protection [ted.com] precisely because of the reason you cite (1:58 into the talk). They didn't want someone owning the idea of using a button in a certain place, or having a cuff on your sleeve.

          • by aXis100 (690904)

            I'm not an Apple fan at all, but if you've seen/used a Samsung android phone and an iPhone you'd agree there are many more infringements than just accidentally arriving at the same common sense UI.

            I have a HTC android and have been very happy with it, but when I used a friends Samsung android phone the experience was completely different. Samsung have gone out of their way to modify their Android verisons, and several apps and UI elements are obvious clones of Apple iPhone. It's just blatant and unneccesa

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          Don't let reality get in the way of your Apple hate.

          http://www.economist.com/node/17309237 [economist.com]

          "Since 2006 the number of mobile-phone-related patent complaints has increased by 20% annually, according to Lex Machina, a firm that keeps a database of intellectual-property spats in America."

          The first iPhone was unveiled by Apple CEO Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007.

          So the mobile patent wars started before Apple showed up, Apple just added another litigation happy company with a ton of pa

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Here's the problem in 1 sentence from a Samsung Galaxy S [slashgear.com] review : "In the time we’ve been carrying the Galaxy S, more than a few people – geeks included – have mistaken it for an iPhone 3GS." There's a fine line between using similar desing elements and making something so similar it's mistaken for something else. Should it be illegal ? Probably not, but you can sort of see why Apple is pissed off.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Yes, but it was a nest that needed kicking.

          I mean the state of phones was stagnant.

        • I am one of the most anti-Apple people out there.

          I'm mostly indifferent towards Apple but I appreciate you stating your biases up front.

          I personally feel like all the major phone makers were playing nicely until Apple joined...

          That's sort of a problem don't you think? I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with them not competing with each other including in the court room.

          It is my opinion that Apple's design (ornamental?) patents or look and feel patents do disgust me more than other functional oriented patents ....

          OK, I'll bite. Why? A patent is a patent regardless of who holds the rights to it. Lots of companies hold design patents besides Apple. Is this an argument against Apple or against design patents? There certainly are many problems with the patent system but saying Apple'

    • Or perhaps that was known but "Court Counsel to Judge Samsung Prototypes" just doesn't boil up the anti-Apple blood like the current headline does?

      Welp, this is an ad-supported site.

    • by XiaoMing (1574363)

      I think it's even more impressive how TFA poses

      The obvious question is how Apple can request to see products that haven’t been released yet...

      without even remotely taking the time to follow through on their own motto of "Apple news, rumors, and analysis".

      • by milkmage (795746)

        Apple didn't "request" anything. The judge saw enough graphical evidence in apple's case, she decided a "preview" was in order.

        "Without expressing an opinion on the merits of Apple's claims, the court acknowledged that "Apple has produced images of Samsung products and other evidence that provide a reasonable basis for Apple's belief that Samsung's new products are designed to mimic Apple's products."

        there's an image from APPLs filing here:
        http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/05/24/samsung_ordered_to_sho [appleinsider.com]

        • by XiaoMing (1574363)

          I'm somewhat confused as to how filing a motion for expedited discovery during a lawsuit doesn't count as "requesting" anything. Apple only stopped short of filing an injunction (something on the order of a CnD most likely).

          Source:
          Any of the articles linked so far, including yours.

    • Also, the five "unreleased designs" are:

      The Galaxy S2, [youtube.com]
      the Galaxy Tab 10.1, [youtube.com]
      the Galaxy Tab 8.9, [youtube.com]
      the Infuse 4G, [youtube.com] and finally
      the Droid Charge [youtube.com]

      "Unreleased designs?" Seriously?

      • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @12:16PM (#36240960)

        Addendum:

        The three phones can be purchased today (the Galaxy S2 may not ship for about two weeks). The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be officially available June 6. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 will be in stores "very early summer".

        Samsung has 30 days to provide these gadgets.

        According to TFA the judge herself "highlighted that Samsung has 'already released images and samples of its forthcoming products to the media and members of the public.'"

        Industrial espionage this ain't.

        • It's worth noting that 5000 Galaxy Tab 10.1's were given away to Google I/O attendees earlier this month.

    • by milkmage (795746)

      I think legally it's correct (enough)

      When company hires a law firm to represent them.. that FIRM IS them.. (you're speaking on their behalf in a court of law).. that's why you hire lawyers.. to represent you.

      the fact that Apple employees don't get to see it is secondary - all it guards against is Apple possibly taking queues from the Sammy's next iterations.

    • by umghhh (965931)
      The headline is indeed incorrect yet I find the uh uh shouts bout 'anti-Apple blood' a bit far reaching. This is in line with my experience with any so far identified apple user. Admit - how many iProducts do you posses?
    • If Samsung is the company helping Apple design their product, and if Samsung is the one providing chips and layout internally, and if the design is sufficient in that the design matters, and Samsung is using this knowledge of pre-released products in their own products close enough to or before Apple's launch, then we have a matter for discussion, though there's likely no matter of legal issue as you can't copyright an idea, only the expression of that idea.

      Apple tried copyrighting the interface of the comp

    • Reading slashdot is kind of like a game, where the goal is to see if you can anticipate in what ways the summary is false, prior to reading the article. For instance, in this case, it might have been that Samsung wasnt actually involved, or that there wasnt a court case but a tersley worded request; turns out that Apple DOESNT get the unreleased designs.

      I find it to be a good form of mental exercise.

  • I've noticed many of their phones and the Galaxy tablet look almost identical to their Apple counterparts.... Apple should come out with a TV that mimics exactly what Samsung's current TV line looks like (but with Apple TV baked in).
    • Re:no surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @11:55AM (#36240618)

      You mean they are rectangular and black with a touchscreen? This is hardly revolutionary design. And Samsung's TVs look just like other TVs - again rectangular and black.

      • You mean they are rectangular and black with a touchscreen? This is hardly revolutionary design. And Samsung's TVs look just like other TVs - again rectangular and black.

        As the owner of two MacBooks, two iPods, two Samsung TVs and a Samsung Colour Laserprinter, I can tell you that a newish 40" Samsung TV has a very distinctive look (which is actually quite nice, and one of the reasons for me to buy it), and if someone copied that look then I think Samsung would be very upset, and rightfully so. Just as Apple is quite upset about someone copying the looks of the iPhone.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          except other then the fact they are rectangle, black and have a touch screen, they look nothing alike.

      • Re:no surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @12:30PM (#36241122) Journal

        I shrugged at that myself, but then I've bought Samsung Galaxy S II a few days ago. And you know what? It really tries very hard to look like an iPhone. I don't just mean the full-glass front screen and a hardware "home" button. Their replacement launcher, TouchWiz, is also an iOS lookalike, with four icons on the bottom. App drawer is replaced to work more like iOS, too, with automatic sorting of icons replaced by manual positioning on a number of screens. Heck, they even changed tab switching UI in the browser to look identical to iPhone, except that the close button is (-) instead of (x).

        So, it's not just Apple being silly here. Mind you, Samsung beats them on some other points (like screen size and contrast/brightness, or sheer hardware power), but they definitely do copy the design.

        • by demonbug (309515)

          Their replacement launcher, TouchWiz,...

          Eeew.

        • A Galaxy and an iPad look nothing alike. Anybody can tell the difference with their eyes closed.

          http://www.techchee.com/2010/06/04/samsung-galaxy-tab-tablet/

          • You're confusing Galaxy Tab (the tablet) with Galaxy S (the phone). I have no idea how Galaxy Tab looks and whether it is similar to iPad. I was comparing Galaxy S2 to iPhone.

      • by Ecuador (740021)

        No, I am sure it is more than that. Apple on the other hand has always radically new designs. Think about the first ipod. Totally radical. Nothing at all like a 1958 radio (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benarent/4248023281/).

        • by sznupi (719324)
          Rectangular and black with a touchscreen... nothing at all like the GRiDpad [digibarn.com]? (and... [computinghistory.org.uk]); best of all: manufactured by Samsung, "modified from the Samsung PenMaster which never made it to commercial distribution"
      • by sootman (158191)

        Have you seen these things? It's pretty damn blatant. [idevices.org]

    • by kimvette (919543)

      I'd still choose the Samsung, because it will likely have a high-contrast Samsung LCD panel, and of course Samsung customer service, and out-of-warranty repairs are often covered by Samsung but when not, quake-induced shortages aside, it's usually easier to get replacement parts from Samsung than Apple.

      Whereas the AppleTV-embedded TV will probably be orphaned in 2-3 years and no longer work because the new AppleTV firmware will no longer support the older model, and besides, out-of-warranty repairs will be

    • by chrb (1083577)

      I've noticed many of their phones and the Galaxy tablet look almost identical to their Apple counterparts....

      So what? You can't copyright "look and feel" [wikipedia.org]. And you can't patent something unless it is innovative - a thin touchscreen phone/computer with rounded edges is not innovative - it's obvious. There are many episodes of Star Trek that show the concept of a touch screen computer that would qualify as prior art.

      • You can't copyright look and feel; however, thus is a patent suit. You can patent and trademark designs. I think if you started a soda company called Carl's Cola with similar red cans/bottles and using the same script as Coca-Cola, I think their lawyers would like to meet with you. Apple has won before on look and feel suits. They won against eMachines who came out with a bubbly blue all in one PC that they felt looked too much like the original iMac.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        Its not copyright, it's a design patent.

    • Next up : Dell [engadget.com]. Hey if you got to copy so

  • by landofcleve (1959610) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @11:52AM (#36240556)
    And none of them have antenna/reception issues, so where is the copying taking place?
    • by MarkGriz (520778)

      Well presumably they are only going to copy the good ideas, not the stupid ones.

    • So far Apple claims most of the Samsung designs have copied the 3G/3GS design. If they unreleased products have the same external antenna design, what would be your response?
      • My response would be along the lines of "Why would Samsung copy Apple's colossal blunder?"

        • So far Apple has accused Samsung of copying the design of an older model. If Samsung's newest phones copy Apple's current model, your response is not to acknowledge that Apple may be right; your response is to levy insults at Apple. Interesting response.
    • by chrb (1083577)
      TFA quotes the judge:

      Because these claims are subject to consumer confusion and “ordinary observer” standards, the products themselves and the packaging in which they are sold are likely to be central to any motion for preliminary injunction.

      "Consumer confusion" - Apple is arguing that consumers find it difficult to tell the difference between a Galaxy S and an iPhone and might buy a Samsung product when they meant to buy an Apple one.

      • Without that pretentious little apple logo and the "Designed in California" placard I'm not entirely sure how a consumer would be confused.
        • by Bassman59 (519820)

          Without that pretentious little apple logo and the "Designed in California" placard I'm not entirely sure how a consumer would be confused.

          Clearly, you have not met many consumers. Most of them are as dumb as rocks.

    • That's for in 2 years time when they finally get around to copying the current designs.

    • Not to throw cold water on the joke too much but in fact Samsung phones have the same issue. [physorg.com]

  • When they haven't seen the iphone 5 to copy it yet?

    • In order to prove they aren't copying it, Apple should be forced to hand over the iPhone 5 design to Samsung.

  • by ThinkWeak (958195) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @11:55AM (#36240610)
    The article references:

    "Helping their cause, Apple presented to the judge a news report which quotes a Samsung executive saying that they will have to improve parts of their upcoming Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in light of the thinner iPad 2 from Apple."

    Someone tell me how this is worth anything in the legal world? Of course Samsung would want to improve their product to compete with a product currently on the market. How is this relevant?
    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      Because, if you accept Apple's legal theory that anything that looks like their product is an illegal copy then you understand. Of course they tried this with MS in the 90's (suing over the look and feel of MacOS) and got soundly trounced that doesn't mean that in the current environment they will lose. There has been a gradual shift in attitudes that copying the look or use of a product is illegal use of IP. That there is no basis in law for that doesn't stop them, after all half the patents now granted a

      • Except Apple did not lose on the merits of their case; they lost because they signed a crappy deal with MS that allowed MS to copy their designs. Apple later won against eMachines for trying to copy the iMac so there is plenty of basis for these types of lawsuits. I think if Honda came out with a bubbly sedan that looks like a Volkswagen Beetle, they're going to get sued by Volkswagen.
  • Apple shut down Digital Research Inc's GEM/1 because of "look and feel" claims. Playing from the same old playbook even though the legal system around software has changed dramatically in the past 25 years.

  • Look-and-feel patents suck, and there's a very simple argument for that: users like to have similar interfaces for similar functions.

    In case you don't agree: imagine that somebody patented the querty keyboard.

    • Is that a new derivative of the QWERTY keyboard? They can patent that if they like - I don't see many people adopting it.

  • that Xerox PARC didn't sue them for copying look-and-feel, the mouse, and ethernet.

    • The reason, Xerox was an Apple investor [obamapacman.com], it'd be like suing yourself

      “Xerox could have owned the PC revolution, but instead it sat on the technology for years. Then, in exchange for the opportunity to invest in a hot new pre-IPO start-up called “Apple,” the Xerox PARC commandos were forced — under protest — to give Apple’s engineers a tour and a demonstration of their work. The result was the Apple Macintosh, which Microsoft later copied to create Windows.
      [...]
      The

    • by robus (852325)

      Seriously? Even here on Slashdot where we know how to use the inter-tubes?

      "The first successful commercial GUI product was the Apple Macintosh, which was heavily inspired by PARC's work; Xerox was allowed to buy pre-IPO stock from Apple, in exchange for engineer visits and an understanding that Apple would create a GUI product. Much later, in the midst of the Apple v. Microsoft lawsuit in which Apple accused Microsoft of violating its copyright by appropriating the use of the "look and feel" of the Macintos

    • Actually, if you look at the Xerox Star Desktop [wikinfo.org] and the original Macintosh Desktop [webdesignerdepot.com], they don't look much alike. No menu bar, window borders look a lot different, scrollbars look different, etc.

  • Apples designs are so pared down, minimal, featureless that the patent reads more like a generic description of a form factor, not of a distinct and novel device.
  • "Last Wednesday, Samsung was ordered..."
    or
    "Samsung was ordered last Wednesday"

    NOT "Samsung last Wednesday was ordered..."! Yeesh! Wednesday was not ordered! Quit butchering grammar!

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