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The Courts Apple

Samsung Withdraws Counter-Suit Against Apple 172

Posted by samzenpus
from the our-bad dept.
tekgoblin writes "Samsung has withdrawn a counter-suit against Apple in their ongoing legal battle which concerns similarities in the iOS device lineup against the Galaxy S lineup from Samsung. The counter-suit concerned the design of the user interface being very similar to that of Samsung's: 'related to fundamental innovations that increase mobile device reliability, efficiency, and quality, and improve user interface in mobile handsets and other products.'"
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Samsung Withdraws Counter-Suit Against Apple

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  • Who gives a shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, 2011 @12:08PM (#36646870)

    The issue is not whether Apple or Samsung are right - it's that this shit is patentable in the first place.

    • by node 3 (115640)

      This isn't a patent lawsuit. At least, it's not reported as such (patents may be involved, but I haven't seen that reported anywhere. However, given how news reporting works these days, it's hard to be certain). The lawsuit claims that Samsung's phones and tablets look too much like iPhones and iPads.

    • by dudpixel (1429789)

      I thought it was about a couple of kids playing in the sandpit...

      Apple: Hey where'd you get that yellow tractor from?
      Samsung: I invented it.
      Apple: But it looks like my yellow tractor. That's not fair - only I'm allowed to have a yellow tractor.
      Samsung: Well it might look similar because its yellow and its a tractor...but its mine - I made it.
      Apple: No, no, its not fair!! That's it, I'm telling mum...

      Which is why the courts got involved.

      Now its up to mum to decide who hit who first and who is allowed to keep

  • by teh31337one (1590023) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @12:19PM (#36646920)
    they've consolidated them to focus on their defence in this suit.
  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @12:58PM (#36647084) Homepage

    If only Apple would withdraw it's lawsuit against Samsung [androidcentral.com] over the same ridiculous "look and feel" claim. Why should either Samsung or Apple have exclusive rights over what's ultimately a rectangular grid of icons? It would be like giving the company that released the first touch-tone phone exclusive rights over the layout and appearance of the touch-tone keypad.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It would be like giving the company that released the first touch-tone phone exclusive rights over the layout and appearance of the touch-tone keypad.

      You need a better example, because that's exactly what happened in the US, up until Ma Bell was broken up. The phone company owned the very wiring in your house as well as the phones, not just the keypad design.

      Also, note that Apple is only suing Samsung for producing a device that looks a lot like the iPhone in many more ways than just a rectangular icon grid. Apple isn't suing Google over the Android UI, just Samsung for making the Android UI look more like the iPhone UI than other Android phones. In othe

      • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @01:21PM (#36647188) Homepage

        "Also, note that Apple is only suing Samsung for producing a device that looks a lot like the iPhone in many more ways than just a rectangular icon grid."

        Such as, say, the phone's shape [amazonaws.com]?

        Apple isn't suing Google over the Android UI, just Samsung for making the Android UI look more like the iPhone UI than other Android phones.

        Which particular aspects of the iPhone UI do you think should be owned exclusively by Apple? If Apple were to sell its UI as a product (just the UI, not the operating system), what would the sales brochure look like?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          I've posted this before, but what the hell. Everyone with common sense can see Samsung was imitating the iPhone was recent releases. It was so blatant that reviewers couldn't fail to mention it. It doesn't matter where you fall on the issue, who you think should win or if there should even be a lawsuit at all, that much should be clear.

          First Look: Samsung Vibrant Rips Off iPhone 3G Design [wired.com]
          Review: The IPhone Look Alike Samsung Eternity SGH-A867 (AT&T) [associatedcontent.com]
          Samsung Galaxy S Review [slashgear.com] : "In the time we’ve bee

          • I've posted this before, but what the hell. Everyone with common sense can see Samsung was imitating the iPhone was recent releases.

            Imitation is a necessary aspect of fair competition. Without it competitors would be forced to engage in conscious avoidance of competing designs, which I generally see as an overly burdensome thing. I think our IP-centric culture has blinded us to the fact that human progress owes a great deal to people imitating and even duplicating what others have done in the past.

            • That's the whole point of the Pablo Picasso quote famously used by Jobs : "Bad artists copy. Great artists steal." Imitation is a good learning tool but it doesn't become innovation until you steal what's good and put it together in a novel way to create something new and improved. I guess the argument against duplication goes that imitation without innovation could actually stifle progress by rewarding knockoffs over original thought. It's a difficult line to draw though.

          • Everyone with common sense can see Samsung was imitating the iPhone was recent releases.

            Even if that's the case, it shouldn't matter. These are very, very trivial design issues that should not be patentable to begin with.

            • The issues aren't "very trivial" I think, but otherwise I tend to agree. I just don't like it when people deny the obvious.

        • by neoform (551705)

          Such as, say, the phone's shape [amazonaws.com]?

          Are you seriously implying that Samsung released a phone in Feb, Apple saw it, copied it, tested it, mass produced it, advertised it and released it... 4 months later?

          Seriously?

    • by Theovon (109752) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @01:11PM (#36647138)

      If it were the icons Apple was unhappy about, they'd be suing Google, because that's a function of Android. Rather, Apple's beef is with the bezel of certain Samsung phones looking remarkably like earlier iPhones. And in my opinion, they do look remarkably similar, with minor differences in things like the home button.

      But notice that I said "earlier iPhones." None of the Samsung phones look like the iPhone 4, while Apple has left behind the look of the original iPhone. So why is Apple so up in arms about Samsung copying a look they've deprecated? Well, one reason might be that Samsung was selling these phones while Apple was still selling the 3Gs, although I'm not sure if that's true. However, there are design patents and trademarks and copyrights pertaining to this look and feel that Apple legally must defend or else they risk losing exclusive rights to their IP.

      It's also pretty lame that Samsung can't be bothered to get their own design team to make their own unique look and feel. Apple spent a lot of R&D on theirs, so it's not right that Samsung just copies it. And don't tell me that the similarities are just coincidence. Of course, copying happens all the time. Even more significant than the look and feel was the concept of the iPhone itself. It was certainly not the first smart phone, but was the first to bring this level of usability to a touch screen without a stylus. THAT's really the hard part.... and it was Google that decided to ride on Apple's coat tails there. Now, it's vital that Apple have competition, to keep Apple on its toes, but that competition has to be innovative in its own right or else Apple will have really nothing to compete against except clones of itself. I saw this one Nokia phone that had a feature that Apple didn't come up with, which was to make the whole display a button that was clickable, so touching was one kind of input, and that was separate from clicking. I thought that was pretty cool.

      • by sessamoid (165542) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @01:18PM (#36647164)

        If it were the icons Apple was unhappy about, they'd be suing Google, because that's a function of Android. Rather, Apple's beef is with the bezel of certain Samsung phones looking remarkably like earlier iPhones. And in my opinion, they do look remarkably similar, with minor differences in things like the home button

        I don't own an Android phone, but looking at the photos of the Samsung phones and stock Android, Samsung clearly changed several of the icons and interface elements to mimic the iPhone in ways that Google seemed to have intentionally avoided. That's aside from the obvious hardware similarities that other Android phones do not share.

      • by EEPROMS (889169) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @05:02PM (#36648222)
        Apple's beef is with the bezel of certain Samsung phones looking remarkably like earlier iPhones.

        Yes but the early iphones look exactly like the the award winning LG prada, you know the full screen mobile phone with a silver bezel around the edge and icons in a checkerboard layout that was released a year before the iphone.
      • The whole point of user-interfaces is that they should be similar on all devices. For example, how annoying would it be if some company had "patented" the design of the generic "play" button on music players. Every player would have a different play button. It is definitely something that would hinder users, and would be a hindrance for the industry as well.

    • There are two fundamental but seprate questions that people lump together here. (1) Should look and feel patents exist. (2) Are iOS products distinct enough to qualify.

      As to the first one, there are many, many companies that pour tons of research and money in designs and they think those designs should be protected. Without these design patents, any car company can copy the look of the VW Beetle, any soda company can copy the red and white designs of Coca-Cola. Do you think these companies should be abl

      • by sribe (304414)

        In my opinion, Samsung tried to get as close as possible and thought they were safe but it was too close to Apple's liking.

        Yep. The iPhones were each distinctive in their design when released (and still are); you can easily spot them from across a room and I'm 100% sure that was a deliberate goal of Apple's. This Samsung is the only phone that I have ever mistaken for an iPhone from a few feet away, and I'm pretty sure that was a deliberate goal of Samsung's. Everybody else tries to make their phones distinctive in some way, materials, size, radius of the corners, bezel, colors, finish--because they all want that effect, that i

      • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @01:53PM (#36647322) Homepage

        As to the first one, there are many, many companies that pour tons of research and money in designs and they think those designs should be protected. Without these design patents, any car company can copy the look of the VW Beetle, any soda company can copy the red and white designs of Coca-Cola. Do you think these companies should be able to protect their designs?

        "Look and feel" isn't a design patent issue, but rather a "trade dress" (trademark) issue. The red and white design of the Coca-Cola can is an example of trade dress, but I don't think that's quite the same thing as claiming exclusive rights over a GUI's design. Unlike soda can logos, GUIs and their layouts are largely functional in nature and should therefore not be subject to trademark protection. Icons used as part of a GUI may be subject to copyright protection, but similar-looking icons should be perfectly legal (e.g. a calendar icon can only look so much different from another calendar icon). What remains of a GUI's look and feel beyond all that should not, in my opinion, be protected by "look and feel" trademarks.

        • I think if you copied the Coca-Cola bottle or the VW Beelte, both companies' lawyers would like to have a word with you. After both have limited function when it comes to design. If you think that neither of them deserves protection, then Apple does not either. If you do then Apple deserves their day in court. Whether they win is up for a court to decide.
          • I think if you copied the Coca-Cola bottle or the VW Beelte, both companies' lawyers would like to have a word with you. After both have limited function when it comes to design. If you think that neither of them deserves protection, then Apple does not either. If you do then Apple deserves their day in court. Whether they win is up for a court to decide.

            Try reading my post next time.

    • by petsounds (593538)

      Yeah, suing over the look & feel of a UI seems a bit silly considering Apple already lost that fight in the 80s -- when Apple sued Microsoft and lost for Windows "copying the Mac's innovative look and feel". I'm kind of surprised the judge hasn't already thrown the case out. Perhaps that's why Apple has now sued Samsung in South Korea as well; perhaps the law over UI infringement is different there?

    • Why should either Samsung or Apple have exclusive rights over what's ultimately a rectangular grid of icons?

      The question is, when is it copying?

      You're right. A rectangular grid of icons is certainly not copyrightable/patentable/trademarkable. But, suppose the ordering of the apps, by default, happens to mirror what is on the iPhone? Suppose the icons have been changed to look very similar to the ones on the iPhone? Suppose the dock has the same items, in the same order, as those on the iPhone and the dock itself looks similar? And let's say it's all placed on a device that looks something like an iPhone 3GS?

    • by w0mprat (1317953)
      Apple's design is so generic the patent reads more like the description of a form factor than any unique look at feel. Just about every point has an "obvious" factor to it. Most of them show up elsewhere in the computing world, the only thing novel is packaging it in a handheld device.

      This sh1t should not be patentable. I wonder if a small company tried, it they would have got it granted? I wonder how integrity the patent system has anymore.
  • by zmooc (33175) <`ten.coomz' `ta' `coomz'> on Sunday July 03, 2011 @01:29PM (#36647220) Homepage

    Too bad Palm is sort of out of business. They came up with the buttons-below-the-touchscreen concept that's been copied by just about every touchscreen-enabled device since 1997.

    (Which reminds me... Sony, please, please make new Clies!!1 Thank you.)

    • I went to Best Buy yesterday, and WebOS is all over the place. The Veer is prominently displayed, and their tablets look better than the Xoom (though not quite as good as the Galaxy.....the interface is cleaner, though). HP hasn't been advertising much the results of their purchase of Palm, but they are definitely trying to make profit off their investment.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @02:16PM (#36647426) Journal
    Even after dropping the countersuit in California, Samsung is still suing Apple in eight different courts, six countries, and three continents. [source [pcworld.com]]

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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