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Apple Sues Samsung Over Galaxy Phones and Tablets 465

mystikkman writes "In the latest patent suit to hit the smartphone industry, Apple is suing Samsung, alleging the Galaxy line of phones and tablets infringe on a number of Apple's patents. 'Samsung's Galaxy Tab computer tablet also slavishly copies a combination of several elements of the Apple Product Configuration Trade Dress,' Apple says in its suit, noting that Samsung's tablet, like Apple's, uses a similar rectangular design with rounded corners, similar black border and array of icons. Apple previously sued HTC over Android. If Samsung is found to be infringing on the software, all the Android OEMs could be vulnerable."
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Apple Sues Samsung Over Galaxy Phones and Tablets

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  • by chemosh6969 ( 632048 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @05:24PM (#35860554)
    There was a comment in the cloud article that Apple doesn't do this sort of thing. I found it amusing reading that comment and then this article in the same day.
  • by Talennor ( 612270 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @05:32PM (#35860666) Journal

    I've seen fake iPhones that look less like iPhones than that Galazy i9000 in the picture. I was ready to jump on the Slashdot bandwagon and complain about patents and trade dress. But that looks like an iPhone knock off. And seeing that there are competing phones that don't look like an iPhone, I think Apple has a case here.

  • by Stuntmonkey ( 557875 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @05:47PM (#35860882)

    This is interesting, given that Apple buys a lot of its flash and other important components from Samsung, by one estimate over $7B annually. Neither can afford to not do business with the other. Maybe this is the opening move in a components negotiation?

    As a lawsuit this seems ineffective as a way of preventing competition. By the time this plods its way through the court, Samsung will be four product generations down the road. Maybe this is all just PR, a way for Apple to accuse Samsung of being "non-innovative" and spread general FUD about Android. But I don't think history has shown that to be a viable strategy. Moreover I have to say that as owner of both the iPhone and Galaxy S, the similarities between them are pretty superficial.

  • by teg ( 97890 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @05:52PM (#35860944) Homepage
    How did tablets look before the iPad? While iPad was the first tablet most people/businesses cared about - the genius of the iPad is that was not a laptop in a different form factor - there were tablets before. Did they look similar? Or is it just after the iPad that the design looks obvious?
  • by DdJ ( 10790 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @06:02PM (#35861082) Homepage Journal

    There's multiple kinds of patents. In this specific case, I do not believe we're actually talking about "software patents", but about "design patents", which are the same sorts of things that protect the design of fonts or the design of Coca Cola's bottle. A design patent is kinda this thing that falls between copyright and patent in some respects -- it's all about "the ornamental design of a functional item".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_patent [wikipedia.org]

    Or in other words: it's certainly the case that the appearance of an icon can be protected by patent, if we're talking about design patents.

  • by ubergamer1337 ( 912210 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @06:33PM (#35861408)
    Oh like a palm Lifedrive? [chasingthewind.net]
  • Re:Again? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 517714 ( 762276 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @06:54PM (#35861618)

    Apple has demonstrated that a border other than black is difficult to implement. The white border required significant investment from Apple to bring to market. As a result, Samsung is on solid ground with their color choice.

    As for the icons, if, as Apple claims, it is an intuitive interface then it is not patentable since intuitive means perceived independently of reasoning which makes it obvious or trivial.

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @06:57PM (#35861646) Homepage Journal

    I wonder whether Apple us suing Samsung because they want royalty free access to a patent that Samsung owns?

    Big companies like this often like to sue to get a better deal on something a competitor holds. They probably really dont care otherwise that Samsung is vaguely copying the trade dress - anyhow I am surprised that trade dress is even a patentable concept.

The next person to mention spaghetti stacks to me is going to have his head knocked off. -- Bill Conrad