Back in April, Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung alleging that Samsung had copied the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad so closely as to infringe on Apple’s intellectual property with their Galaxy S, Nexus S, Epic 4G, and Galaxy Tab devices.
Now Apple has gone further to name more devices including the DROID Charge, Samsung Exhibit 4G, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S, Gravity, Infuse 4G, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the Galaxy S II as also violating their intellectual property. They even go as far as to claim that the Samsung Sidekick 4G is infringing on Apple’s looks even though it has a full hardware QWERTY keyboard – something that no Apple iPod, iPhone, or iPad has ever done.
Apple seems to believe that they have some form of ownership over slate/touchscreen designs as if there was no such product conceived before they released the iPhone – something which is patently untrue with devices such as the LG Prada both announced and released before the first iPhone with a similar look and feel and hardware capabilities. Indeed Woo-Young Kwak, head of LG Mobile Handset R&D Center, said at a press conference that “We consider that Apple copied the Prada phone after the design was unveiled when it was presented in the iF Design Award and won the prize in September 2006.” Both the look and the hardware capabilities of the original iPhone were relatively on par with the LG Prada. Notheless, in their revised complaint Apple have said:
Before Apple’s introduction of the first iPhone product, no other company was offering a phone with these features. Prior mobile phones were often bulkier and contained physical keypads. Some had a rocker-style navigation button and sets of buttons for numbers and calling features. Others had a front panel with a partial or full QWERTY keyboard and a screen. None had the clean lines of the iPhone, which immediately caused it to stand apart from the competition.
The iPhone did revolutionise the user experience, but Apple do not seem to be using this lawsuit as a proxy for a battle with Google’s Android operating system. They have decided to take Samsung to court because whilst Samsung were relatively late to the smartphone race, they manufacture the flagship Android devices, both with the Galaxy S and the new and impressive looking Galaxy S II, and outsell Apple in volume of handsets. Samsung are due to overtake Nokia to become the #1 phone manufacturer in the world this month and Apple are finding it increasingly difficult to make their devices stand out from a very competitive market.
What is that old adage – “those who can’t compete, litigate” and Apple don’t have any patents to sue over so have taken to a frivolous copycat claim.