Apple sues Samsung, accuses them of copying iPhone, iPad [Updated]

Apple sues Samsung, accuses them of copying iPhone, iPad

Apple is suing Samsung, claiming Samsung's Galaxy line of phones and tablets copy the look and feel of iPhone and iPad.

"Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple's technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products."

Samsung's Galaxy line has been one of the most commercially successful range of Android products to date but have also been among the most iOS-like in terms of interface conventions, thanks to Samsung's TouchWiz. Ironically, Samsung is also one of Apple's more important manufacturing partners, producing components for iPhone and iPad both.

This is the third Android-based lawsuit launched by Apple, who sued HTC last year -- HTC has reached a licensing deal with Microsoft, ironically, for Google's Android -- and Motorola back in October.

UPDATE: More from Apple, and an illustrative image, above. [Mobilized]

“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging,” an Apple representative told Mobilized. “This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

UPDATE 2: As Jon points out in the comments, Apple is legally obligated to defend its trademarks or it risks losing them. Likewise asserting patents for a public company in a highly competitive market is the responsibility of of its management. When and against whom it chooses to litigate them, however, is interesting.

UPDATE 3: Samsung has a preliminary response [AFP]

"Samsung will respond actively to this legal action taken against us through appropriate legal measures to protect our intellectual property," the South Korean firm said in a statement.

"Apple is one of our key buyers of semiconductors and display panels. However, we have no choice but respond strongly this time," an unidentified official was quoted as saying.

UPDATE 4: Former Engadget editor (and lawyer) Nilay Patel gives a break down of the suit, and his thoughts. [This Is My Next]

Taken as a group, it feels like a remarkably solid case — Samsung can’t just up and countersue Apple with its own patents and hope to walk away with a handshake and a cross-license because of the various trademark, trade dress, and design patent claims. How the company decides to deal with those issues remains to be seen; there’s no question in my mind that Samsung designed TouchWiz to look and feel as much like iOS as possible, and then marketed it as such.

[Wall Street Journal]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts

 

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

← Previously

iPhone 5 release pool: Concord says late 2011, 8mp camera, A5 processor, Qualcomm baseband

Next up →

Apple releases iTunes 10.2.2 - bug fixes

There are 73 comments. Add yours.

entwined82 says:

If Apple wins this case..could they potentially go after anybody with rows of icons on their touchscreen slate phone? I know Touchwiz is closer to iOS then most but it seems like it could set a dangerous precedent here.
I use a vanilla Android phone (Moto Droid 1) and a 3rd Gen 64GB Ipod Touch and I absolutely love both so I have no real vested interest in either side winning a court case here but I just don't want to see it come down to this when companies compete. Companies need to innovate, not sue over broad patents that probably should have never been granted int he first place.

TreSupreme says:

Your crazy if you think the TouchWiz launcher is anything other than iOS. However some o the hardware Apple has no case with. Like the Captivate and the Nexus S

JERRY says:

The iOS launcher is a launcher interface that's been on generic cell phones since Adam & Eve had cell phones.. .There is nothing UNIQUE to the iOS launcher.. it's generic as hell

Ilovegeorgia says:

no os had a icons like ios, they where all different things.

macharborguy says:

It was also an interface style that Apple used BEFORE smart phones were really around, called At Ease.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/62/Ateaseuserfolder.png
They also had tabs too.

weehooherod says:

Why would Apple insult themselves by saying their products looks like Samsung's?

JERRY says:

I want specifics... I hope it's not the homescreen... a freaking row of icons .. other than that Touchwiz is just a more colorful Android homescreen.

stynkfysh says:

I am an iPad and iPhone owner and suits like this sure seem ridiculous. My Windows tablets/slates look like the iPad too, and they came before the iPad. Likewise, my past Windows Phones & Dell Axiums weren't too dissimilar in design to the iPhone. Windows 3.1 and other OS's have had desktops with icons in rows for decades. Gimme a break! Don't be sue happy Apple, you look like the kid on the playground that tattle-tales. Don't use the courts as part of your business plan, please. They have enough to do. Same goes for you other companies.

Jon says:

Brian, I think your issue is with the patent office for granting the patent, not with Apple for defending its patent. Apple is obligated to defend its patents - if they don't the patents become invalid. And you can't honestly expect Apple (or any other company for that matter) not to try to patent every piece of technology it develops. That's part of technology development.

Chris says:

But Apple does not need to do it all. People want choice and somethings Apple does are not what people want.

iphonemilk says:

@Chris what on earth are you talking about? "People want choice" ok? you still have a choice? nobody is holding a gun to your head to buy an iOS device. Go buy an android device then. There's your choice and there's the MARK you make on the industry as a consumer. Apple is not withholding any "choice" to anyone.
As far as the patent comment is concerned, the OP is right. Apple is obligated to defend this, if they don't then what's next? Are we supposed to just pick and choose which patents have ALREADY been approved are valid?
I guess we should just go back through ALL patents in the whole system and re-validate them to your liking then huh?

OrionAntares#CB says:

Does anyone else find the timing a little too convienent? Isn't their suit against HTC from a year ago heading to a judge for final decision soon, carrying an ITC recommendation to rule AGAINST Apple?

(Copy of) Dev says:

Incorrect. Trademark law requires you to defend your registered trademarks or lose them. Patents have no such condition.

Rene Ritchie says:

They're suing for both patent and trademark. (Icon trademarks they feel violated by TouchWiz)

Wolfmore says:

You realize Microsoft Windows Is a copy of Apple's GUI? You know the whole lawsuit Windows 2.0 3.1?

Wolfmore says:

Which is a copy fo Xerox sure sure but Apple paid and made arrangement for it and didn't just rip it off shamelessly. Microsoft just pretended they had a right to keep using it despite their limited license they had obtained from Apple.

mp0890 says:

It doesnt seem wise for apple to be pissing off its manufactures over minor details...

Jon says:

Patents don't apply only when they're convenient. In order for Apple to defend the integrity of its patent it is obligated to rigorously defend it. It couldn't not sue Samsung if it wanted to, unless it wanted to invalide the patent - which makes no sense.

Ryan says:

Jon,
Apple is not required to "vigorously defend" it's patents. The requirement you are thinking of is related to Trademarks, which is an entirely different area of law.
When it comes to patents, Apple may choose to enforce or not enforce as it sees fit, with no potential for losing the patent due to inaction.
-Ryan

Jon says:

Ah, so you are right, Ryan. My mistake.
In that case, this does make Apple's choice more interesting. Perhaps Apple is going after the more obviously similar Samsung skin in order to strengthen its position to defend the platform from Android, et al more broadly later.
What do you think?

Edy says:

... then Ford should sue Dodge and others for making PickUp trucks that have the same "style" of theirs... haha
Apple is Paranoid!!!

Chris says:

of course. Apple WANTS to take over the world much like how Jehovah Witness are spreading their crap. Steve jobs loves to say "PEOPLE WANT THIS. PEOPLE DONT WANT THAT"
It kind of pisses people off as people WANT large screen phones. THEY WANT 4G data and jobs is being butt hurt over it.

John says:

Any product, including electric devices act as a whole. There are plus and minuses to each feature that you add/remove. The cell phone industry intimately linked with the latest advances in IC industry. If you want 4G or a bigger screen, then you have to give up battery life and performance. Steve Jobs doesn't tell people what they want because of his ego, that would be counter productive and bad business. Apple's philosophy is to try and make the best product that can be created with today's technology, usually by creating exceptionally good software, sometimes by using innovative hardware designs. I just think it's stupid for a consumer, not in the industry, to be demanding fictional products that don't exist. You don't know what can and can't be done. You dkn't have a multi-billion dollar company at stake. Why do you feel the need to personally attack someone who's in this position? I think your problem with Steve Jobs has more to do with your ego than his.

Chris says:

So doesn't Samsung make parts for Apple? if I were them I'd pull production. If Apple really wants the parts they will drop the "lawsuit"
Apple doesn't need to be the only cell phone maker in the world. It will be like steve jobs suing all the clothing manfacters for not making black turrle necks and blue jeans.

robCal says:

And then they would get sued for breaching a contract to make the parts. Samsung needs to Apple to keep paying.

Macboy74 says:

Ya pull samsung parts from products from apple and lose billions. You can run my bar anytime. Come on seriously.

NaNo says:

You are such an ignorant idiot, I just wonder if you even read your own comments?

LaToya AKA Digital Nightmare says:

Apple uses SAMSUNG prossesors, memory, screens for their iPads, iPhones, and even the Macs use SAMSUNG-made SSDs. Apple has essentially crapped where it eats. SAMSUNG should supply other companies instead.

frozencloud says:

even so....i highly doubt samsung will stop supplying apple. Both companies need each other unless apple find a better supplier or samsung find another bulk buyer

Dantv says:

BLATANT copying by Samsung. Shame on Samsung. Just look at the pictures.

tom says:

omg they're both rectangular in shape, which rows of icons on the homescreen. BLATANT theft of intellectual property

Dantv says:

Hey Tom, you pos, the Galaxy phones look exactly like the iPhones right down to copying the home button.

chris.lenderman says:

Hey Dantv, you POS, the Galaxy has three buttons.

Chris says:

shhhh Apple will sue you for using the Apple dictornary. magical, revolutionary, i , Apple, mac, pad, app store , apps .
holly f u c k. I was just sued!

Dantv says:

Just this link out, Apple should also sue Google along with Samsung!
http://counternotions.com/2010/12/29/clones/

velkcro says:

do you know thats not stocked android right thats samsung touchwiz on top of it not all android phones looks like that

Chris says:

Apple is scared of android, why else would they air these ads and go on the sue bandwagon?

jawe347 says:

I think some of you are misguided as to what the lawsuit is really about. My sister came for a visit and she had a Galaxy S from TMobile. I immediately thought it was an iPhone, until I saw the samsung logo. The phone is very similar in just the design itself, not even counting the software. Yes Samsung makes their hardware but this is just blatant copying. I hope they reach an agreement which seems more likely.

Chris says:

if you couldnt tell it was noit an iphone then you better get your eyes checked.

Dameon says:

If it weren't for the logos on the TVs at Best Buy then I wouldn't be able to tell which TV belonged to which manufacturer. I see a potential case,....... not.

Jerry says:

LMAO .. exactly ..a slab phone doesn't have many options as far design goes.

Jeff Higgins says:

You all seem to be missing the point that Apple was granted a patent. If Samsung was granted a patent to the rectangular flat screen TV design then it could indeed sue every other company that made a similar design. Likewise, the patent office gave Apple the patent. If you don't think it should have been granted as a patent then your issue concerns patent reform. But it's stupid to just arbitrarily hate on Apple for defending their IP. Besides, your analogy implies that you acknowledge that Samsung's phone design and UI looks similar to Apple's phone design and UI, hence the reason Apple is suing them in the first place.

BrianTufo says:

I bet someone has that patent but no one is dbag enough to sue over it. Grasping at the courts because of falling market share to Android is sad. Keep innovating not suing!

Berk Gun says:

So isn't iPhone4 is a copy of LG Prada? I know that its fat and ugly but if Apple is thinking that Samsung Galaxy is a rip off, LG can say that iPhone4 is.

macharborguy says:

So why doesn't LG try and sue? Probably because they don't feel they have a leg to stand on

Jeff Higgins says:

Unless LG can demonstrate that the Prada was being developed for 4-5 years prior to launch, then Apple would have prior art, effectively invalidating LG's claim.

Tony says:

I think Apple is being ridiculous again with their dumb lawsuits. That is all.

OrionAntares#CB says:

Well those profit margins need to go to funding something. They're apparently not going to improve QA or speed up "innovation".

rshol says:

The last time AAPL filed a major "look and feel" lawsuit it it lost big time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AppleComputer,Inc.v.Microsoft_Corporation

merkdevine says:

Boy, you android fans are out in force today...what's the matter?

eric6052 says:

Nilay Patel formerly of Engadget tweeted that he's looking at the complaint and will have an editorial posted soon. He was a copyright Attorney so he should have an interesting viewpoint. There are definitly design similarities between the Galaxy S and the iPhone especially in hardware. In the end im sure this will be settled, maybe Samsung will give Apple a buy one get one free deal on A5 processors or half off NAND flash and it will mean very little to all of us other than an I told you so between fanboys.

Ilovegeorgia says:

finally, apple needed to do this last year when the phone came out.

Pax says:

Who the freak cares. Tell me if Steve Jobs has bought a new pair of jeans for iOS 5 preview?

chris.lenderman says:

I heard he did. Same blueish hue, high rise jeans. Also, he is mixing it up and going with an extremely dark gray turtleneck this time.

omfgitsjustin says:

I have used touchwiz and now own an iPhone 4. The touch wiz interface is extremely close to iOS. Heck even look at the picture above! Indead of a normal bubble type of "dock" that stock android uses, Touchwiz uses a iOS style bar with icons.
As a consumer who has played with both touchwiz and iOS, it was a copy. To the average joe who isn't very computer literate, they might even mistake it for an iphone.

Pax says:

Thank you for clarifying this. I owe my computer literacy to you now.

Wolfmore says:

Apple put thought into this and then is shamelessly copied. Just like the Microsoft Windows rip off. They are trying to protect their interest and hopefully avoid another Windows situation. Remember they were nearly wiped out of existence. It would piss anyone off to invent something and then be driven out of business by copycats.
Why can't they come up with something unique? cause of the risk that's why. Look at Palm they made an Awesome OS but it was to little to late.
Still they should make something unique. Ever heard of Pogoplank? They should buy that look instead of copying Apple's look.

chirmer says:

Wow, lotsa butthurt people today!
They are extremely similar. I've got a friend with this phone, and people call it his "iPhone" all the time. Just the fact that this occurs, and frequently, might be enough for Apple to stand on in this lawsuit.
They have a similar shape, with a metallic border. Software wise, the homescreens have a 4x4 icon layout. The icons are square-ish in shape. The text is white and underneath it. It has a default black background. The Phone icons are practically identical, for Pete's sake. They both use dots to indicate homescreens. They both have a dock with four icons. The dock is grey. They're both based on the premise of the icons all being uniformly square-ish. Seriously, there are enough commonalities, people. As soon as these phones came out, I saw one and was like, "Holy crap, that looks like an iPhone." No, it's not IDENTICAL, you freaking nitpickers, but the mood and experience is way too similar to the iPhone, and I personally can understand why Apple's a bit peeved.
If you disagree, more power to you. No need to be a sarcastic douche about it, though, guys — seriously.

Scooter says:

Wait, I thought if I didn't have an iphone...I didn't have an iphone?! Apparently it should be If you don't have an iPhone, you have a Samsung Galaxy.

TK says:

I'm surprised it took this long, the Galaxy S series feels like they took the iPhone's interface and slapped it over Android.

Jake says:

Clearly, yes I see it. I do see the physical Menu/back buttons on the iPhone, the sliding cover for the port connector. Here, ahh I unlocked the Galaxy S screen, but let me turn it into iPhone mode in the launcher screen instead of the homescreen with the widgets. Yes, there is the lovely iOS I know and love. Good for you!

LM says:

Points to note for the fanbois:
. Patents do not need to be enforced to be retained - that's trademarks.
. Remember Apple 'stole' the name iphone from Cisco.
. You can't steal ideas.
. Very little of Apple's products are original - albeit are refined to almost perfection.
. Those that can't compete, litigate.
. Suing over rounded corners and the look of a box. Seriously?
. I'm sure Safari looks and feels the same and borrowed many concepts from IE, Firefox, etc etc.
. Apple did not create the smartphone or tablet markets but deserve credit for revolutionising them.
. There's got to be more than what's prima facie regarding this suit; e.g. Apple are trying to leverage a better deal out of Samsung for components.
. All Apple products are derivative of someone else's.
. I can't wait for The Onion to parody this suit.
A 2x iPhone/6x iPod/iPad/TV owning non-fanboi.

LM says:

Apologies for the formatting.

Steve Yobs says:

I have 4 yobs, and they all involve making copycat iphones that are actually all android devices, that actually look like all other rectangular devices, and have home screens, and 1 button in the middle, I love my yob.

Bazza1 says:

Let's see - a screen of touch sensitive icons that open programs and a Home button - say, isn't that a ripoff of the original PalmOS?
HP should sue.

Parampreet says:

I can't believe Apple got a patent for something as generic as rows of icons with rounded corners and a fix bar of icons at the bottom.
So tomorrow if Apple comes up with widgets or multiple homescreens on iOS, then should Google and Android handset manufacturers sue Apple for this? Seems just about as plausible as this lawsuit.

Alpha says:

Wait, so does this mean Jobs can sue Dan Hesse for imitating his look as well??

kevin says:

Well I personally can't stand ios or touch wiz but given the fact that touch wiz does have widgets, live wall papers, and many other custom themes from which you can download in the market id say its completly different. Ios technically doesn't have a true app launcher, all it really is, is just rows and rows of icons where as touch wiz can rows and rows of widgets, and the launcher has icons.

mahadev says:

Actually the rows of icons, which can be selected and moved is copied from RIM and if I am not mistaken, wasn't it jobs who said that great designers steal?