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Google Warned Samsung Galaxy Tab Was "Too Similar" 251

Posted by timothy
from the word-to-the-wise dept.
tlhIngan writes "Some interesting news has come out of Apple's filings against Samsung. First, Google warned Samsung that their 'P1' (Galaxy Tab) and 'P3' (Galaxy Tab 10.1) tablets were 'too similar' to the iPad. In addition, Samsung's own Product Design Group note it was 'regrettable' that the Galaxy S 'looks similar' to the iPhone. Finally, how designers at a Samsung-sponsored evaluation noted the Galaxy S 'copied the iPhone too much' and 'innovation is needed.' Of course, Samsung has some ammunition of its own, including how Apple copied Sony's designs. In unrelated news, Judge Grewal has sanctioned Samsung for not preserving emails from automatic deletion, even after litigation has begun."
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Google Warned Samsung Galaxy Tab Was "Too Similar"

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  • Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neo8750 (566137) <zepskiNO@SPAMzepski.net> on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:16AM (#40790065) Homepage
    Again and again and again.... Cant we just move on? Its an electronic tablet its going to be similar cause well its a tablet. I'm sick of this shit anyone else?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you are sick of it just move on, why comment?

    • Re:Again? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CodeHxr (2471822) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:26AM (#40790185)
      I'm sure that most of us are. It seems that our only recourse, though, is to simply not buy Apple products to show them we disapprove of their actions. Good luck getting the masses to part with their iToys though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by _KiTA_ (241027)

        I'm sure that most of us are. It seems that our only recourse, though, is to simply not buy Apple products to show them we disapprove of their actions. Good luck getting the masses to part with their iToys though.

        Similarly, those of us who think Samsung are in the wrong will avoid buying "iToy" ripoffs.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          That's the beautiful thing about capitalism and the free market.

          The peasantry is in control rather than a few Robber Barons.

          "Too much like Apple" doesn't suit my requirements. It has nothing to do with confusing some corporate brand fixation with something that actually justifies some kind of loyalty.

          • Not Really (Score:5, Informative)

            by zifn4b (1040588) on Friday July 27, 2012 @11:30AM (#40792051)

            That's the beautiful thing about capitalism and the free market.

            The peasantry is in control rather than a few Robber Barons.

            With all due respect, you are just flat wrong. Laissez-faire Capitalism puts control primarily in the hands of the people who have the wealth (AKA "capital"). I assume you are referring to the United States. In this country the "peasantry" doesn't have much of a voice because we do not have a real democracy. Some may say we have a Republic but I think it's closer to an Oligarchy at this point. Here the most wealthy 1% control 35.6% of the wealth while the top 10% control 75% of it. The Forbes Top 400 has a combined wealth of $1.37 trillion dollars. That's who is primarily in control not the "peasantry".

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        Don't you mean, "Not buy anything but Apple products." You know, to show them we disapprove of the copiers?

      • Don't worry, bro. I'm buying even more to make up the difference.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'll alert the courts. I'm sure they'll wrap this up immediately, sire.

    • Re:Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jkrise (535370) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:00AM (#40790591) Journal

      I would question the IQ of any customer buying a TV or a computer or a tablet device based on how it looks from 10 feet distance; and not bothering what's inside it. I would ban design patents for ALL electronic goods based on the above principle.

    • by Truedat (2545458)
      But why should slashdot move on from these submissions when members such as yourself keep swallowing the click bait? If you look at these Apple vs Samsung/google submissions they regularly attract posts in their hundreds.

      I often hear Android fans say that they refuse to buy Apple as a sign of disapproval, so how about not clicking on these stories for the same reason?

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      It's the classic catch-22.

              If you don't copy the market leader, you are dismissed out of hand.

              If you do copy the market leader, you are accused of copying.

      It's just that it usually doesn't lead to patent trolling suits and your product being banned from sale anywhere.

      "Why does god need a starship?"

      • If you don't copy the market leader, you are dismissed out of hand.

        Did Apple copy the market leader when they released the first iPod? Did they copy the market leader when they released the iPhone? Or the iPad? Or the MacBook Air?

    • by horza (87255)

      Exactly. A screen with a bezel around it can only take so many forms. Why do you think all the big plasma/lcd televisions look nearly the same? And they aren't suing each other. Apple is abusing the patent system to stave off their demise, and taking the piss out of consumers.

      Phillip.

  • It's a rectangle. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:21AM (#40790113) Journal

    There were featureless rounded corner rectangle tablets before the iPad.

    There were touchscreen driven grid of icons phone user interfaces before it iPhone.

    Apparently the slide to unlock is so obvious that Apple have to publicly apologise for claiming otherwise.

    They're similar because it's an obvious idea which had been done before.

    • Re:It's a rectangle. (Score:5, Informative)

      by SilenceBE (1439827) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:58AM (#40790563)
      The problem is that people aren't aware that the discussions isn't about rectangles or even round corners. It is just a cheap trick to make ridicule about a "contender" or something/somebody that we hate, just to give the impression that they are the weaker party.

      The problem is that those lawsuits aren't about rectangles or corners and that it is a bit more detailed then that and also much broader.

      Really in all honestly I can't really look at the total package of Samsung tablet offering without having the feeling that they clearly looked for inspiration to some of Apple offerings. You can debate all day long about how stupid is that companies can "patent" designs, but you really must be blind what the source of inspiration was for some things. Look at Samsung Kies for example.

      If you take some steps backs and forget about the rectangle stuff and see it in more detail and especially as whole package, the fact that Google warned Samsung that it was to similar may be not that stupid after all.

      Then again this is slashdot an this may be the same like "cursing in a church" but hey... .
      • Re:It's a rectangle. (Score:4, Informative)

        by russotto (537200) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:06AM (#40790655) Journal

        The problem is that those lawsuits aren't about rectangles or corners and that it is a bit more detailed then that and also much broader.

        Look at the design patent Apple is suing over. It is exactly about rectangles and corners. There's not much else to it. Electronic device, flat, rounded corners, glass front, rectangular screen area.

        • by hazydave (96747)

          It also doesn't really look all that much like the iPad they did ultimately produce. That alone should have invalidated the claims, if not the patent itself.

      • Really in all honestly I can't really look at the total package of Samsung tablet offering without having the feeling that they clearly looked for inspiration to some of Apple offerings.

        So? You can look at the Apple designs and see others that they clearly looked to for inspiration. For example, the TC1100 cited in the infamous rounded corners parent and the AT&T broadband phone for the now familiar touchscreen and grid of icons on a phone look.

        You can debate all day long about how stupid is that compan

    • by dimeglio (456244)

      Doesn't work that way. It's who patents their method first that gets the legal claim.

      For example, there are infinite ways to unlock a device. Why choose slide instead of twist, for example? Apple claims that it's because they copied and that's a valid point.

      • by hazydave (96747)

        This is a design patent, not a useful system or business method patent.

      • by hazydave (96747)

        Oh, back to the slider. The first to file gets the patent. However, that just means that if there is a first to invent instead, who can prove the prior art, the first to file doesn' t get the patent, neither does the first to file. In the past, in the US, if you could prove first to invent, you might get the patent even if you filed previously.

        There have been numerous examples posted showing slide to unlock on other devices. Though it is a stupid argument... it's trivial enough to change that UI.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > Doesn't work that way. It's who patents their method first that gets the legal claim.

        THAT is nonsense and contrary to the intended purpose of a patent system.

        Patents aren't a virtual land grab. They are a means to encourage the disclosure of trade secrets. They aren't meant for every stupid little trivial idea that might pop into your mother-in-law's head.

        They're more for things that have been stumping engineers for decades if not centuries.

      • For example, there are infinite ways to unlock a device. Why choose slide instead of twist, for example?

        Sure there are infinite possible ways to unlock a device, but they are not all equal. For example twist can't be done with one hand.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:21AM (#40790117) Journal
    My Samsung 40" television looks exactly like a 40" Sony television. My LG washing machine and dryer looks suspiciously similar to a washing machine and dryer from Kenmore. And my Starbucks coffee tureen is the spitting image of the one I have from Seattle's Best! When you are talking about devices that perform similar tasks, they are going to look alike.

    There's only so many ways to build a computer, and when you're trying to stuff as many electronics in a slender LCD screen as you can, it's probably going to look like a plastic slab.
    • by alen (225700) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:23AM (#40790139)

      that's because seatle's best is owned by starbucks. they are a wholesale brand of starbucks

      • It also looks like ones I've seen from Peets, from Jittery Joes, and from McDonalds. My point is that there's only so many ways to make a coffee mug.
        • It also looks like ones I've seen from Peets, from Jittery Joes, and from McDonalds. My point is that there's only so many ways to make a coffee mug.

          Among the idiotic things posted here, this is among the more idiotic ones. There are collectors who have thousands of totally different coffee mugs.

    • by jxander (2605655)
      So, when can we expect the lawsuit to start flying between Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Kia, etc? take off all the badges and I'd have a tough time telling apart every generic 4-door sedan from the others.
    • If you look at e clamshell phones, how many look like the razr? One.

      How about the candy bar phones? They look similar, but different no manufacturer wants users to confuse their phones with someone elses.

      Look at Samsung. They want their stuff to look like Apple's because it helps them sell. Period. In the documents they say as much.

      People here freak out when a developer copies another developer's game...but when Samsung and google copy Apple people are like "oh, there's only one way to do it so we have to c

    • by pcolaman (1208838)

      Kenmore appliances are just rebranded appliances made by other manufacturers, including LG. That Kenmore washing machine looks like an LG and vice versa because very likely they are the same model with some slight enhancements.

    • by forand (530402)
      The difference between the examples you mention and the issue being discussed here is that Apple has a broad design patent on the similar products while the products you mention are under no such patent. You can think that such a patent is overly broad, a complete farce of the patent system, or pretty much anything else but it doesn't matter in terms of the law. As another poster pointed out Samsung has clearly used Apple products, which have design patents on their design, as inspiration for their offering
    • Kenmore just rebadges stuff (they're the Sears house brand, it's not like Sears is going to build factories for appliances anywhere.) We have an LG fridge that's been rebadged as a Kenmore for example. That said, your point over all stands ;-)
  • I thought the latest proceedings were regarding the tab 7.7 [informationweek.com] so would this be relevant in that case? Or are there still suits pending on the 10" tab? I guess I can't keep up any more.
    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      So the article can't quote anybody as saying Samsung was warned, or google employs somebody named Google?
  • for copying the TC1000:

    http://pencomputing.com/frames/tpc_compaq.html [pencomputing.com]

      - Silver and black
      - rounded corners
      - screen takes up almost entire front surface

  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:43AM (#40790345)

    It's not just rounded corners.

    As the summary and article state plainly, Samsung made what amounts to a copy of the iPad. If you have difficulty telling the products apart after covering up the brand logos, then they are too similar. It's that simple. From there, it's not a large leap for the original manufacturer to claim the subsequent manufacturer was riding on the firsts success. Hell, didn't that exactly happen in court a few months ago? Samsung's lawyer was asked to tell the court which tablet was which, and he couldn't.

    And when that original manufacturer happens to be Apple... well... That's like pissing off someone high on bath salts and PCP, and then crying foul because they start beating the crap out of you and eating your face.

    There are SO many ways that Samsung could have differentiated their products, but they chose to make it as similar to the iPad as they thought they could get away with. Other manufacturers havn't had any difficulty doing so. There are tablets in various colours, with textured non-slip backs, varying kinds of frontal designs. There were an almost limitless number of ways Samsung could have avoided this right from there start. But they chose not to. And now they're paying the price.

    • I agree with what you are saying. To begin with I HATE APPLE and their blind fans who believe Steve Jobs was nothing short of Christ or something. But there are some similarities (more than what you would expect) between Samsung and Apple phones. I mean no one is complaining about Lumia being similar to the Iphone! I know there are only so many designs you can come up with, but Samsung it seems wanted to make their products look similar to Apple to maybe become the second choice for people who wanted a simi
    • by chrb (1083577) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:03AM (#40790617)

      As the summary and article state plainly, Samsung made what amounts to a copy of the iPad.

      The article and summary also point out that Apple's internal emails apparently show that they copied Sony's designs. If that is true, it will be interesting to see how Sony respond.

      Also interesting to note that Samsung have produced their own before and after [allthingsd.com] graphic for the court, which disproves the Apple fan claims that "all Samsung phones look like the iPhone".

    • by chrb (1083577) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:04AM (#40790639)

      Samsung made what amounts to a copy of the iPad.

      The British courts disagree: Apple must run "Samsung did not copy iPad" ads. [yahoo.com]

    • by F.Ultra (1673484)
      >Samsung's lawyer was asked to tell the court which tablet was which, and he couldn't.
      Well he was a lawyer, he probably couldn't pick between a tabled and a microwave oven either.
      • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:21AM (#40790851)

        LOL! Reminds of when everyone jumped on the "translucent plastic" bandwagon. I recall seeing microwaves, and even irons, in blueberry iMac colours. I was amused.

        The best though, was when I was flipping through a department store catalogue (in the late 90s) and came across a wooden breadcutting board that was advertised as "Y2K compliant." To this day I regret not having cut out that item and saved it somewhere.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      If you have difficulty telling the products apart after covering up the brand logos, then they are too similar. It's that simple.

      No, it isn't that simple. Only if the key design elements are orignal does it get protection.

    • by tom17 (659054) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:25AM (#40790899) Homepage

      Someone familiar with the two products could tell easily. Sure, someone unfamiliar could not.

      With the logos obscured, I doubt someone unfamiliar with the latest Corollas & Civics could tell the difference either...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CVC2012aaa.jpg [wikipedia.org]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2011_Toyota_Corolla_--_NHTSA.jpg [wikipedia.org]

      Shocking new: Similar product looks similar!

    • by russotto (537200) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:28AM (#40790945) Journal

      As the summary and article state plainly, Samsung made what amounts to a copy of the iPad. If you have difficulty telling the products apart after covering up the brand logos, then they are too similar. It's that simple.

      Simple and wrong. LCD displays, keyboards, laptops, cardboard boxes, polo shirts, blue jeans, soda cans, bicycles, heck, even many cars look similar once you cover up the logos.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Cars are the poster children for similar designs.

        My first car quite often got mistaken for it's other branded kin.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      If you have difficulty telling the products apart after covering up the brand logos, then they are too similar. It's that simple.

      Try doing that with beige box PCs from the 90s. Hell, I can barely tell my GF's toyota corolla from the neighbors honda civic.

    • f you have difficulty telling the products apart after covering up the brand logos, then they are too similar.

      If you place the two side by side, they are clearly different: they have different aspect ratios.

      If they are not side by side, well I couldn't tell which was which between any brands of electrical appliance, and I couldn't reliably tell Ford versus Chevvy either. I can usually spor a Peterbilt because they look cool, but the rest look the same to me. Cat v. Hyundi? also a wash. Nike versus Puma with

    • Not just that, but AllThingsD posted a new story today [allthingsd.com] that expands on yesterday's report (i.e. the Slashdot article) and goes into even more detail on a few aspects. Here's one snippet:

      Samsung was forced to release a bunch of documents it had been keeping under seal that show the likeness between its products and Apple’s. Examples outlined in the documents include comments from Samsung workers discussing similarities with Apple’s products, and reports Samsung got from retailer Best Buy that Samsung tablets were being returned because customers thought they were getting iPads. Samsung still has a pending motion to prevent all of this information from being included at trial.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > Samsung made what amounts to a copy of the iPad

      So what?

      We need to get past the idea that copying someone else's work is somehow an inherently bad thing. Copying other people's work is the only way any human progress ever occurs.

      If people aren't allowed to copy each other, then all innovation stops.

      YOU should be forced to use no computing tech newer than a patent monopoly term. You should actually live what you are advocating for the rest of us.

      • And YOU should pay more attention to what the ACTUAL issue is, instead of lining up your own strawmen arguments.

        It's one thing to copy from another. That's how all human progress has occurred. That is not the problem.

        It's a different thing entirely to duplicate someone else's product so exactly that people will accidentally buy the copy, when they intended to buy the original. THAT is what Samsung did, and they are now trying very hard to hide that evidence.

        • when they intended to buy the original.

          They must have been pretty ignorant. How do you go into a store wanting an APPLE iPad and leaving with a SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB. It doesn't have the same name. It's not made by the same company. It's a different price. It doesn't have that little single circle button. It doesn't have the Apple logo.

    • by thsths (31372)

      > There are SO many ways that Samsung could have differentiated their products, but they chose to make it as similar to the iPad as they thought they could get away with. Other manufacturers havn't had any difficulty doing so. There are tablets in various colours, with textured non-slip backs, varying kinds of frontal designs. There were an almost limitless number of ways Samsung could have avoided this right from there start. But they chose not to. And now they're paying the price.

      Exactly. Samsung went

    • by fzammett (255288) on Friday July 27, 2012 @12:24PM (#40792789) Homepage

      But we DON'T cover up the brand logos. This, right here, points to the REAL problem:

      PEOPLE DON'T LIKE TO, OR INCAPABLE OF, BASIC THOUGHT.

      If you walk into a Best Buy, and you intend to buy an iPad but you walk out with a Galaxy Tab because you couldn't tell them apart, then you, sir, are a FUCKING IDIOT. If you can't turn them on and tell the difference, you deserve what you get. I mean, what happens? Do you hold them up side-by-side, can't tell them apart, so, what, just fucking randomly pick one?!? Do you not read the damned info cards below them and compare and contrast them? Do you not ask a sales person some questions? I mean, come on already, this is nuts!

      This ISN'T about two admittedly very similarly-designed products (and ok, maybe one is a flat-out copy of the other, I might be willing to stipulate to that) that people can't physically tell apart (And you know what? They're different enough physically anyway that *I* as a not-stupid person, wouldn't be fooled anyway, but I digress). This is about a world full of stupid people that can't be bothered to, you know, GET INFORMATION and make an INFORMED DECISION with it. It's either stupidity or laziness, you're choice (and probably a bit of both). Either you are incapable of basic thought or you just don't like to do it and so when you get "fooled" you get mad because, damn it, SOMEONE should have been PROTECTING YOU from your own fucked-upedness!!

      See, instead of tackling the real problem head-on we want someone to protect us from ourselves. We want the legal system to say "oh no, you can't BOTH have rounded corners because all these GRADE-A FUCKING MORONS out there won't be able to tell them apart and will wind up buying something they didn't want. No, we have to do the thinking FOR them and make sure they don't have to be bothered actually making an informed decision."

      It's utterly ridiculous. If people weren't so God-damned braindead and/or lazy as shit this wouldn't be an issue- even if you legitimately can't physically tell them apart, actually doing some research and actually using them would differentiate them for you quickly if you had half a brain in your head. I am *SO* sick of living in a society of stupid people because this is the kind of bullshit legal wrangling that results. It's inevitable and almost HAS to occur because we're not equipped as a species anymore to have it otherwise.

      It's fucking sad is what it is. Think about the basic situation we find ourselves in here: we have one company that probably did flat-out copy another getting sued by another company who is insecure and afraid to compete on the merits of their products because God forbid the exorbitant profits drop even A LITTLE...

      AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM SAYS THIS IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE GIVEN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES!

      And it's all because people are too stupid and/or lazy to give us a choice of being otherwise.

      Our best bet at this point is that the Mayans are right and Nibiru or some shit really does collide with the Earth in December... maybe in a few million years we'll crawl out of the primordial ooze again and maybe the next time we'll get it right because we sure as shit aren't getting it right this go-round.

    • Perhaps it was something along the lines of "That product is too similar because they are litigious assholes; they will go after anyone who manufactures anything that is vaguely parallelepiped shaped whose corners won't poke your eye out".

  • Wacom has been releasing "tablets" long before both the ipad and the galaxy existed, should it start suing too?
  • So actually if you look at some of the patents that are flying around and being thrown at each other they actually all have been invented in some fashion or other before. I look at Palm. Palm had a phone that had icons that were laid out on the screen and auto arranged. This was one of apples claims against samsung and google. Palm had the 4 icons at the bottom of the touch screen before either of those two clowns did and the Treo was a phone with that feature first. Apple's suit over 'trade dress' is w

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