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How To Avoid Infringing On Apple's Patents 323

Posted by Soulskill
from the easy-as-pie dept.
bdking writes "In a public legal brief (PDF), Apple offers numerous design alternatives that Samsung could have used for its smartphones and tablets to avoid infringing on Apple's patents. Basically, as long as competitors' smartphones and tablets bear no resemblance to smartphones and tablets, everything's cool."
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How To Avoid Infringing On Apple's Patents

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  • ok so... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:38PM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by steelfood (895457) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:48PM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Telvin_3d (855514) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:05PM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Fluffeh (1273756) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:13PM (#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... (Score:4, Informative)

            by msauve (701917) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:34PM (#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... (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Fluffeh (1273756) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:52PM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by interval1066 (668936) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:56PM (#38274178) Homepage Journal
                Apple has become IBM (see pirates of silicon valley), that's about the best way to spin this whole thing.
                • by msobkow (48369)

                  Except IBM championed user interface standards like the Common User Access guidelines on which most non-Apple windowing systems are based. Apple, on the other hand, tries to sue it's competitors instead of making things intuitive for the users through common UI behaviour.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by ColdWetDog (752185)

                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... (Score:5, Informative)

                  by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday December 05, 2011 @09:06PM (#38274880)

                  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.

                  People should really take time to read this disposition. Firstly, the advice that Apple gives how to make a design that is not covered by Apple's design patent is in each case accompanied by exhibits - so there are in each case one or several actual products that do exactly what Apple asks Samsung to do.

                  Second, Samsung seems to have come up with a list of items that they claim are prior art. And the expert witness then says "this is not prior art because it is different in this respect. This is not prior art because it is different in that respect. etc. etc.". In other words, each of the designs that Samsung claimed as prior art wouldn't be infringing on Apple's design patent because they are different.

                  To be in trouble, a design must match Apple's design patent in every single aspect. One difference, and Samsung would have been safe.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Anonymous Coward

                    You mean if the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 had something like a different aspect ratio? say a widescreen format perhaps, then it wouldn't be infringing?

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by teh31337one (1590023)

                    SO: If Samsung had phones that were larger than the iPhone, OR they had capacitive buttons on the side of the home button, OR a camera module that wasn't in the top left corner, OR power button that wasn't on the top of the phone, OR speakers that aren't on the bottom of the device, OR a logo on the front of the device, they wouldn't be infringing?

                  • by Xest (935314)

                    "To be in trouble, a design must match Apple's design patent in every single aspect. One difference, and Samsung would have been safe."

                    But there are differences, that's precisely the point, the Samsung tablet is a different form factor and has Samsung clearly written on the front for starters. Also, on the front, it has more buttons, it has a more easily visible light sensor. It doesn't have a curved back like the iPad either, and the sides are completely different.

                    Look at this suggestion Apple made:

                    "Displa

              • by roc97007 (608802)

                > 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?

                Apparently....

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

                by kiwirob (588600) on Monday December 05, 2011 @10:51PM (#38275714) Homepage

                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.

                You are mistaking "Design Patents" vs good old regular patents. Design Patents are more like copyright but for industrial design so one company can not simply go out and exactly copy their competitors product and create customer confusion in the market. Should it be ok for a Korean or Chinese company to make an 99% copy of a Corvette car and then flood the USA market with it confusing customers if it's a real Corvette or a imported "copy". A Design Patent protects things like the styling of a particular make of car and it's distinctive qualities, like a Corvette looks very distinctive. It doesn't have anything to do with the internal suspension, ABS, traction control or other technical elements of the car that may be covered by other unrelated patents.

                During the Australian Apple vs Samsung lawsuit the Judge held up an Samsung Galaxy Tab and an iPad in each hand and asked Samsung's head lawyer which one was made by his client. For a few yards away the Samsung lawyer was unable to correctly identify the Galaxy Tab. That is because Samsung intentionally designed their product to look as close as possible to Apples and create confusion in the market place. Motorola, HTC, Dell, HP, and Research in Motion can make tablets that don't create the same level of confusion amongst customers. Samsung can too make unique and distinctive products if they wanted. But instead they are trying to copy Apples to give them a competitive advantage over the other Andriod manufactures.

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

                by um... Lucas (13147) on Monday December 05, 2011 @11:32PM (#38275972) Homepage Journal

                As said before in this thread, everyone taking Apple to task over this is painting an overly broad picture due to their anti-apple mindset. To your example, Apple, in your Ford Scenario, would not be out there suing every manufacturer of a vehicle that relied on a gas engine and had four wheels. They would, though, take the manufacturer of a vehicle that, from every angle viewed, would pass for a Mustang to a casual observer. That's the case here. Other tablets are fine, just as other cars are. But Apple is seeking to disallow tablets designed to so closely resemble their product.

                Perhaps design patents aren't the proper venue for this. Asi do agree with your reasoning about the existence of patents. However, another forum should turn out the same result. I'd say the case design should be copyrighted or trademarked, but we all know how most slash dotters feel about copyrights.. :)

                End point is, if you look at the tablet market, many companies have managed to come up with their own tablets with unique and identifiable designs that don't clearly leach every design aspect from the iPad. That samsung couldn't or didn't do that is their own fault, and to my mind, it's certainly understandable that a company that spent countless hours refining their products design should be able to prevent other players from passively sitting back and doing nothing but waiting for their competitors final design to emerge and then simply utilizing that design just about in its entirety.

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

                  by Fluffeh (1273756) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @12:42AM (#38276390)

                  To your example, Apple, in your Ford Scenario, would not be out there suing every manufacturer of a vehicle that relied on a gas engine and had four wheels. They would, though, take the manufacturer of a vehicle that, from every angle viewed, would pass for a Mustang to a casual observer.

                  This comparison [mobilemegamall.com] of five tablets (Samsung Galaxy, and Galaxy 2, the Xoom, Playbook and iPad2) really shows in my opinion that there are certain things that every tablet will have:
                  1) Minimal design - something neat, something clean where the touch screen is the focal point.
                  2) Some sort of border around the screen - which is due to engineering constraints.
                  3) Will probably have rounded corners. (My monitor has rounded corners, so does my laptop, so did the ruler that I had in primary school.

                  To say that the Galaxy Tab 2 from every angle viewed, would pass for a [iPad2] to a casual observer is a stretch. To a casual observer any of those devices could be mistaken for any other. To a casual observer, a HP laptop could be mistaken as a Dell and vice-versa.

                  I'd say the case design should be copyrighted or trademarked, but we all know how most slash dotters feel about copyrights.. :)

                  You can't trademark something that in itself is so broad - that's the whole point of most of the people that you seem to think are attacking Apple here. No company should be allowed to make a tablet (and have a design trademarked) that says "Screen, small border, rounded corners, one button" and stop anyone else making a tablet that had a screen, small border, rounded corners and a single button. Don't paint with such a broad brush. Would I support Apple if Samsung was putting an Apple logo on their tablet? Absolutely. They aren't. Apple generally uses a minimalist approach to presenting their products visually. That's fine, a lot of people like a clean, simple, minimalist approach. However, they cannot stop others using a minimalist approach.

                  Lastly, when Apple pulls this sort of shit [bbc.co.uk] it really makes it hard for someone like me to try to be understanding towards them in this case.

            • by roc97007 (608802)

              > Because, of course, this [zdnet.co.uk]

              Oh man, I want one. But it has a rounded, metal bezel! How could Apple allow this?... Ok, I'm tired of this topic now.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          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... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Zagadka (6641) <zagadka@[ ]omachina.com ['xen' in gap]> on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:40PM (#38273994) Homepage

          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"...

        • 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... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RenderSeven (938535) on Monday December 05, 2011 @08:08PM (#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... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday December 05, 2011 @08:09PM (#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... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by chrb (1083577) on Monday December 05, 2011 @08:14PM (#38274382)

          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.

          Sorry but this is just plain wrong. Changing one lone design feature does not magically make a product non-infringing. Design patent: [wikipedia.org] "An object with a design that is substantially similar to the design claimed in a design patent cannot be made, used, copied or imported into the United States. The copy does not have to be exact for the patent to be infringed. It only has to be substantially similar."

      • by makomk (752139)

        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.

        And of course, the reason for that difference is that pretty much the entire computer and consumer electronics industry moved from silver bezels and matte screens to black bezels and glossy screens over those 10 years.

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

      by Trolan (42526) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:51PM (#38273256) Homepage

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by l2718 (514756) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:53PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mr1911 (1942298)

        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.

      • by pjt33 (739471)

        How does lack of adornment qualify as an identifying mark?

        • 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 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:46PM (#38274058) Journal

        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.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        I suspect the real issue is after you get past the rectangular design and thin bezel, Apple is afraid that people won't see any major differentiation between the iPad and a well engineered tablet running... pretty much anything else. [1] Or even worse, they'll appreciate features the competing tablet has that the iPad does not. [2] In other words, we'll fight this war in the marketplace, but just in case we'll turn the patent lawyers loose also.

        [1] Except Windows 8.

        [2] Probably not Metro.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Telvin_3d (855514)

      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 som

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

        by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:59PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Squares are rectangular.

  • Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by masternerdguy (2468142) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:39PM (#38273088)
    Simple, don't make anything electronic, or that uses touch as a method of operation.
  • Apple now has one year to patent those ideas, great job!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:41PM (#38273132)

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

  • by ackthpt (218170)
    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arbiter1 (1204146)
      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.
  • Does this help? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chaboud (231590) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:43PM (#38273156) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by fermion (181285)
      Design and development is hard. In the late 19th century much of the world believed that science had discovered everything that could be discovered. Early cars were build not unlike horse drawn carriages, it took a generation for cars to come into their own, then in the US they stagnated to the point that 50 years later the US auto industry was all but kaput, and if the free market would have been allowed to play out it would have been. Osbourne put a computer in a portable case, and Compaq did not simpl
    • Re:Does this help? (Score:4, Informative)

      by itsdapead (734413) on Monday December 05, 2011 @08:40PM (#38274668)

      Not have a flat front? Not be rectangular? Not use black?

      Remember - those are ANDs not ORs... or, at least, you need a 'critical mass' of those attributes to infringe.

      I've had 4 cellphones (not a great cellphone person!).

      Only one of them was black.

      Only two of them were rectangular (i.e. 4 straight edges) and while they had rounded-off corners they were much less pronounced than on an iDevice.

      None of them had a flat front (and definitely not flat in the iPhone "single sheet of glass" sense), two had soapbar-style bevelled edges and one of them has the "chin" which featured on the first few generations of Android phone.

      The Kindle 3 doesn't break Apple's rules (its a rectangle with rounded corners, but the bezel is gently curved and its grey, not black), the ASUS transformer doesn't (front has bevelled edges - not flat, bezel isn't uniform) and plenty of other manufacturers past an present have managed to make phones, ereaders and tablets that don't look like iDevices.

  • by pesho (843750) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:43PM (#38273160)
    USPTO drops any apple patent that implements obvious designs with established prior art.
  • not really (Score:4, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:48PM (#38273230) Homepage Journal

    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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 :)

  • 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/unloc

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

    • by drb226 (1938360)
      It still looks way too uncluttered, and black. Would definitely infringe even with the triangle shape.
  • So .... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:03PM (#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.)
  • 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!
  • I can't find the blog or news site where I originally saw this, but they gave a perfect example of a design that Samsung could have used that wouldn't violate any of Apple's design patents:

    http://www.amazon.com/LeapFrog-LeapPad-Explorer-Learning-Tablet/dp/B004Z7H07K [amazon.com]

  • 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

    • 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 one

  • 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.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:30PM (#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

  • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:31PM (#38273874) Journal
    If there was no iPad, if there was no iPhone, would the Samsung's tablets and phones still look the same?
  • 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

    • by Haeleth (414428)

      I'm looking forward to someone/some company doing something truly original.

      "There is nothing new under the sun" -- some old guy who lived thousands of years ago.

      Not much has changed since then.

      Even the iPad is pretty much just one of those things they were using in Star Trek in the 1960s, which in turn were straight extrapolations from the clipboard, which in turn bears a remarkable functional resemblance to the clay tablets used to record the Epic of fucking Gilgamesh way back before Solomon even observed

  • 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.
  • 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.

    • 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 the

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

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:54PM (#38274152)
    Apple finally joins Microsoft at the bottom of the ethical barrel.
  • by identity0 (77976) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:56PM (#38274184) Journal

    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.

  • 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.

  • by khipu (2511498) on Monday December 05, 2011 @10:48PM (#38275692)

    Dilbert said it best:

    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-10-18/ [dilbert.com]

  • Who copied whom? (Score:4, Informative)

    by dave87656 (1179347) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @02:59AM (#38277000)

    There's a pretty good comparison of how the orginal ipod copied a samsung mp3 player. Apple didn't invent the smartphone, either, they extended what palm was doing. Even MAC OS was copied from work Xerox was doing at Xerox parc. It's just that you couldn't patent software back then and now you can. I'm not sure when copyrights came into play.

    In fact, copying others has always been Apples strategy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU [youtube.com]

    "Good artists copy, great artists steal" ... "we've always been shameless about stealing great ideas" -- Steve Jobs

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