This is Why Apple is Suing Samsung

Sep 30, 2011 - 61 Comments

Samsung Galaxy S alongside the Apple iPhone 3GS

If you want a simplified explanation of the ongoing Apple vs Samsung lawsuit, the giant image below sums it up fairly well. Basically, Apple feels that Samsung is infringing on a variety of iPhone and iPad patents, and Apple is fairly blunt in their accusations:

“Instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung has chosen to slavishly copy Apple’s innovative technology, distinctive user interfaces, and elegant and distinctive product and packaging design, in violation of Apple’s valuable intellectual property rights.”

Several examples of these alleged violations can be seen in the image below, judge for yourself:


Why Apple is Suing Samsung in an Image

The “inspiration” is really quite obvious, but whether or not it’s enough for Apple to win a lawsuit against Samsung (or others) remains to be seen. This image was found by DaringFireball, and if you’re looking for a detailed explanation on the whole lawsuit, read this lengthy piece on This Is My Next, which is where the topmost quote from Apple came originated too.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, iPad, iPhone

61 Comments

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  1. Carmen says:

    This looks ridiculous but here’s the thing: think about the standard telephone, the shape of a laptop, the form of a car, the form of a cup, the doors on a refrigerator, think about ANYTHING and you’ll realize someone invented it and everyone else borrowed it. Everyone could sue everyone if this kind of thing was patentable and enforceable, and all innovation would cease because there would be no more market incentive. Think about that, and this is why Apple will lose the case. Also I think that Apple is tiptoeing around other issues, but it bothers me that they are suing one of their major suppliers for components, because what if they pulled the plug!

    • Merefield says:

      Would agree but for one fundamental mistake – innovation is NOT encouraged by being ripped off – innovation is encouraged by the confidence that someone isn’t going to rip you off as soon as you invest some time and money into something. I’m normally not a defender of litigants but this is quite different … Samsung is _blantantly_ ripping Apple off left right and centre. It’s so easy to take pot-shots at Goliath, but in this instance, Goliath is right, imho. It is a shame that smaller innovators don’t have the money to defend themselves like Apple has. Samsung should be big enough to establish its own brand and look & feel. Their stuff is just a lazy rip-off, if admittedly well executed.

      • Agree says:

        Have to agree with Merefield. Innovation is encouraged when people are not allowed to just copy the best sellers, because it forces them to come up with new ideas. If everyone pursued this type of “innovation” like Samsung, what a boring market it would be.

        • All these Hoggers !!! says:

          Innovation should be for the betterment of society “and Not just only to make more money and spend again only to make more money, rather than for better causes”. And either way, if a customer has only an eye for, what is shown rather than what it delivers, then Yes, Apple has a point in banging for the Parental Copyright. ( I spelled it correct, PARENT, since both words seems to have same meaning, only the one who has gave birth to, has the whole right to do anything with it.).
          Grow Apple, you were a small company few years back and remember how you had to stop the fight with Microsoft? When money is in abundance, Greed too piles along.

      • China Rules says:

        Well I wonder why Apple gets components for their IP4 from Samsung if Apple is so damn innovative?? Kinds of puzzle and screw your brains including slapping your own cheek!

      • Dan says:

        Fact you are forgetting. Apple is_blantantly-ripping everybody off. If you price out the components in an Apple you will find they profit about 80% on your purchase. I wouldn’t mind this if they actually used new technology, but Apple usually puts a product on the market when they already have the next model almost fully functional. Do you really think the iPad 2 wasn’t made before the original iPad was on the market. Lastly do you honestly believe Apple isn’t ripping off other companies ideas on a daily basis?

    • PhillyG says:

      Here is an even better picture: http://osxdaily.com/2011/08/18/tablet-design-before-after-the-ipad/ Notice that Samsung even copied the sky-above-water-below background theme.

      Mimicry is only considered innovation in genetics. It could be argued that tablet innovation ceased when Apple introduced the iPad. The designers of the Galaxy Tablets reminds me of the people that kept asking to borrow my class notes, and wanted to look over my shoulder during final exams.

    • James Katt says:

      Yes. Cars have a general shape. But you can’t copy Ferrari’s distinctive design patented car design. Ferrari will sue you if you did and it would win.

      There are many possible alternative tablet designs. Why does Samsung slavishly copy Apple when it could have done its own design??? That is the crux of the lawsuit.

      Sony did its own tablet design. Why can’t Korean companies innovate like the Japanese?

      • Younghun Lim says:

        Hmm, as a passing by Korean, I feel discriminated.
        Why can’t you phrase it as, “Why can’t Samsung innovate like Sony?” instead of pulling the whole nation into _your_ opinion.

        • B says:

          I daresay James is just another typical, arrogant American and I wouldn’t pay too much attention to what he has to say.

          The main thing I see when I look at those tablets is they are both quite plain and a similar size. If you look at any ten inch tablet from above it would look like that. There isn’t much else you can do to differentiate your tablet product.

          I can’t help but feel this article has a tremendous amount of bias towards Apple. It essentially implies that Apple have an amazing ‘innovative’ charger and USB cable.

          Apple was of course saved by a huge investment by Microsoft in the ’90s, yet Apple advertising a few years ago continuously attacked Microsoft’s Windows. How can a company be so relentless, so unethical? Steve Jobs created a very greedy culture at Apple.

          Do you think Apple would provide sympathy if the situation was reversed and Microsoft needed the capital injection? Of course not! They do not cherish a competitive environment, do they care about their loyal and blind customers? No, they only care about their profits.

          • JiN says:

            @B…:

            Really? MS saved Apple. That money was due to a settlement on the lawsuit MS was about to lose when in copied Quicktime and added it to it’s AVI format. Part of the settlement was an agreement to shared technologies between the two companies for a period of time that has already expired. That period of time was recently extended (included phone technology as well). Also included an agreement to make MS Office and IE/Outlook Express. Apple has resolved the browser/email app dependency but MS Office is on it’s own. That brings in money for MS. But yes that injection of capital did save Apple but it was coming regardless of MS’ desire to “saved” Apple.

      • Wakkawakka says:

        But just because it is in a white box like the Ipad doesn’t mean they are copying, It’s just a box.. Apple Needs to get over that.. I love Apple, but they are being babies, A lot of the adapters these day look completely the same, and can be used on any phone. The microphone pic, whats up with that? I am pretty sure all smartphones have Mic’s too. And as for the phones, I do see similarities but anyone can make android phone look like the Iphone by switching around the icons, or developing software that coats android to look like an Iphone. So I can see similarities in everything but I also see the differences. So Apple just needs to stop trying to bully everyone and shut them down, because then no new innovations will be created, because everyone will shy away from it.

  2. Whoever made that image, shows his/her ignorance. The samsung sync cable is a PDMI.

    • And? says:

      What’s your point exactly, Sherlock? Because they have a PDMI cable, they couldn’t possibly be copying?

    • oksir! says:

      Ummm I don’t that’s the point, the point is that, Samsung purposely had their PDMI cable look exactly like Apple”s cable.

    • Younghun Lim says:

      I also noticed that the GS shown in this website is actually 15% smaller (I have the two phones in my hand, and GS is definitely much bigger (taller) than iPhone).

      Also, the thickness of GS here seems exaggerated.

      While I love my MacBook, I also love my GSII.
      IMHO, companies try to come up with best solutions for ergonomics, easy-to-use-UI, etc. and through a “natural selection,” that is, by getting rid of hard-to-use UI and ergonomics (design), both companies could have ended up with a similar design.

      I mean, I can’t imagine myself using something triangular lol

  3. Marucins says:

    You want, You find!

    Where’s the innovation?

    Full of China sh*t flooding the Asian market before the iPhone, similar pic crap.

    • China Rules says:

      Well then stop buying China made goods including IP4 you dumb boy since its made in China if you didn’t know

      • yeserri! says:

        hmmm… I though It was assembled only in China and parts are coming from the U.S. but they tagged it “MADE IN CHINA”. but what ever happen I LOVE CHINA! ^^, please don’t clone things up.

  4. Marlo says:

    If I was a judge I would find Samsung guilty of copying Apples ideas and ban Samsung products from going on sale. Case closed.

  5. R. Lee Byrd says:

    Samsung is screwed, and they know it. I hope Apple refuses any concessions, and Samsung is forced to halt sales of that obvious copy. THAT’S WHAT PATENTS ARE FOR!

  6. M Salem says:

    There is no sense for all this thread! It is funny to show the box size, screen style, and USB plug to say Samsung copies iPhone!!! In that sense, Airbus has also copied Boing planes as they both have wings and very similar shape. Same for other products such as cars, food mixers, ..etc. When people optimize something even independently, they usually reach to very similar solutions.

    • AEI says:

      There is in fact a legal principle that says that how you brand an item—packaging and marketing, etc.—can also represent infringement if it’s too close to a competitor’s product. When you look at the preponderance of what Samsung has done, even copying the basic style of a number of iOS icons, it’s hard to doubt that Samsung wasn’t completely above board and “innocently” happened to stumble on the same choices that Apple made. (Again, sometimes it’s not any one thing, but when dozens of details are similar, you start losing the credibility argument.)

    • PhillyG says:

      Patents only last 17 years or so. I don’t believe that wings was a patentable idea, but the system of flaps and rudders that the Wright Brothers came up with….

      One hundred years later both Boeing and Airbus patent different parts of their design, but the basic patents have all expired.

    • Errr says:

      Planes are engineered, they can’t just change it’s design at will can they? Mobile phones or gadgets are different so stop comparing cars, planes with gadgets. It all boils down to ideas for a gadget design. :)

    • Justin says:

      Couldn’t agree more … Well said

  7. fausto g pacheco says:

    Apple???

    And why Apple is not suing China?

    Choose 1 or more:

    1 . Bilions of Buyers
    2 . Nobody plays with the Comunist (Capitalist) Party

  8. Robert says:

    I’m struck how vehement your case is, even making derogatory subtexts. I find with Apple worshippers that they adapt the same attitude to every tech or non apple person (distain and anger.) Steve Jobs fostered this attitude and built the biggest tech company on the earth.
    My point is this, the patent wars are from ALL directions. Seems ALL the tech players copied from each other and are now trying to get the high ground in technology. It’s a very ugly business, but just business, with new technology. I revere Apple for its huge additions to the tech world, I just hate the fall out of the attitudes of the “Apple Heads” picked up from Steve Jobs (one of the centuries most talented marketers).

  9. Hank says:

    Personally i really like Apples stuff. It’s not how they look, it’s the feeling of beeing completed. I have an iPhone myself, and at work i use an Android. They are capable of doing the very same tasks, the android is even more flexible with it’s widgets and stuff. But there is one thing missing. The feeling of completion. The OS is not that intuitive, functions are spread all over the menus, you have to search before you find some of the functions you’re looking for.

    To use a car metaphor, how fancy is a car that looks like a Mercedes but feels like an old Volvo?

    And i guess this is the biggest problem for Samsung. If they didn’t copy Apples stuff, people would not compare them in the same way. The Samsung phones and tables could be really great, but i can’t stop comparing them to the iPhone and iPad, and that’s not what you get.

    If they made a new look and feel i would actually be intrested in buying one, but now it just feels like a poor copy. Like a windows 95 machine with a flashy windows 7 wallpaper, the look isn’t everything.

    Well, that was pretty much off topic, but my concusion is: I understand why Apple want’s to sue them, but i don’t think it’s needed. When the iPad wave is over and people start to know a little bit more about tablets they won’t buy it just because it looks the same. Apple people wants apples stuff because they work great together and have a unified look and feel and you feel at home from the beginning.

    That is where the competitors, so far, are way behind.

    PS. Sorry my bad english!! DS.

  10. Bakari says:

    It’s sad that so many resources are waisted because companies have to compete like this. All inventions these days are built off the back of prior inventions. If our system were different, we could focus on working together to produce the best and longest lasting smart phones, rather than copying features, and waisting resources, just to get a share of the market. I know what I’m saying is blasphemy in a capitalist economy, but just thought I’d throw in my 2cents.

  11. Anynymous says:

    It’s all about the money.

  12. Raheem says:

    Work with Samsung for 4 years. They are just what they are. They will do whatever they can to get ahead. The end justifies the mean. I’m not surprise at all if they’re copying apple. They’ve done it with their manufacturing equipment, equipment software and many others… hardly an innovation at all…

  13. KOREANS_CHEATERS says:

    JUST SHOWS KOREANS HAVE NO TALENT–THEY HAVE NO BRAINS FOR ORIGINALITY, THEY HAVE NO TECHNOLOGY LIKE GERMANS/JAPANESE/APPLE–WHAT THEY ARE GOOD AT IS COPYING DESIGNS–KOREAN PRODUCTS ARE ALL DISPOSABLE–CARS, PHONES, TVS, APPLIANCES–ONLY GOOD FOR 2 YEARS AND THEY CONK OUT!

  14. michael says:

    this is bull there two different companies and there products are nothing alic

  15. Zen Ho says:

    If there was only one similarity there would be space for arguing. However, you take all those examples together and no one can deny what Samsung was trying to do.

  16. Chris says:

    Photoshopped (or other software) images to make things look even more similar is only going to hurt Apple’s cause.

    Look at the first image and how the phones are, supposedly, the same height… Now look at the last image. The Samsung phone is not the same size.

    Apple tried the same thing in their lawsuit with the tablet whereby they stretched the aspect ratio to more closely resemble the iPads.

    I’m not saying there isn’t some copying, but when you alter things to fit your argument you’re only hurting your cause

  17. CUSHLOMOCKREE says:

    This just another chapter in Apple’s continuing saga of suing people for stuff they did not invent.
    The moron’s who buy Apple’s proprietary stuff think they are chic and getting something “way cool” and works of art.
    Their products are just varying forms of computers using IC’s CPU’s and OS’s they buy like anyone else and integrate.
    They then customize the interface to make it look like it’s special for the computer illiterates who buy them.
    They tried to sue MS for using “Windows” when Xerox invented the concept and lost.
    Tablet computer’s have been functioning in the industrial and aerospace world since the 80′s, but most people aren’t aware even of the highly sophisticated devices that UPS drivers have been using since the 90′s.
    Microsoft had their go at it in the early 2000′s.
    They will lose, but there ignorant user base will cheer them on and continue to overpay and get buffaloed.

    • Paul says:

      Apple are good designers.
      MOST people aren’t interested in the tech under the hood. They’re interested in what the products can do for them and how easily they can do it.
      They MOSTLY aren’t interested in processors or circuit boards or the underlying technology.
      When you drive you don’t give a rats what the suspension components are made of or the shape of the pistons in the engine. You’re interested in getting there reliably and safely and enjoying the journey on the way.

    • Christopher Moor says:

      CUSHLOMOCKREE said it best. I am ashamed of the absolute bigoted red-neck mouth breathing zealot morons here talking trash about Koreans. Korea has been producing some of the most cost effective products of late in our markets. All of that aside, The look and feel of these products are not similar enough for a suit. Unless the fact that it is a phone and a tablet, beyond that the tech inside is entirely different. Apple uses Samsung processors.. WTH? how can they sue the processor manufacturer? Dummy zealots for Apple and their ignorance is how Apple thought they have a chance at a law suit.

    • yeserri! says:

      hehehe. You are Very right mate! SO TRUE! “Their products are just varying forms of computers using IC’s CPU’s and OS’s they buy like anyone else and integrate.”

      But use apple first. be e genius in it before you differentiate ^^,

  18. Charlie says:

    The majority of Apple law suits are frivolous and really only a way to disrupt and delay competition. The real game here is Apple sells its products with a heavy Apple tax, they are able to do this through huge investments in targeted marketing. When you buy an Apple product you invest most of your purchase in further marketing designed to lead the fan-boy/girl by the nose into their next version. Many Apple devotee’s have bought and paid for the iPad 1, 2 and 3 all within a relatively short time, as a result their iPad 3 has cost them well over $2,000. A whole other anti-competition play by Apple is “Apple Jail”, but that topic is for another time.

  19. blee says:

    well, if Apple is going to be a stingy about who thought of what first..
    1) samsung specializes in phones

    2) samsung’s PRADA phone SOOO first. -just unaffordable
    and aimed towards people with a lot of extra $$

    3) Apple finally took action by making THEIR version of the PRADA phone… then hoped that everyone forgot about the innovative PRADA phone. (I almost did)

    4) after Apple found out that they wated to globalize their products, they made the iPhone kind of affordable by signing a weird contract with ATT, and abroad. $300 with 2 yr. contract.

    5) feeling that they earned their right to claim anything they figure it’s okay to just point unneeded fingers to make it seem like APPLE is the best at coming up with STOLEN ideas.

    6) I still LOVE Steve Jobs. He even vaguely said that you have to take others’ ideas and put them together to make something better. But suing SAMSUNG?? wheres the respect in your own beliefs by doing that???

    i miss Mr.Jobs i’m using a laptop that he impeccably designed this very moment. APPLE software is still the best in my opinion.. very build and mentally ergonomic. (maybe i’m just used to it)

    • Christopher Moor says:

      Let’s not forget, IF Apple wins this suit, IBM gets to sue Apple for the PC concept. Not to mention everyone who ever built a PC or Laptop

      • yeserri! says:

        I think we are not talking about the tablet? we are talking about what it looks like? we can create tablets I think? but we cant copy what it really looks like like size, apps, buttons? a buttonless tablet will do i think? ^^, hmmm… who made the first car? maybe he can sue the others not because they have the same look but because they are cars. hehe

  20. blee says:

    yuck! (at my own grammar)

  21. Paul says:

    The Autobahn rocks. Unlike in Oz where almost everybody drives 20km below the limit sitting in the outside lane never looking in the rearview.
    The attitude is “Don’t worry mate” you’ll get there…..

  22. richard says:

    latest news apple have won the court case against samsung, in apples hometown, they pretty much couldnt loose really could they.
    apple feel a bit bitter cause samsung are the leaders in the smart phone market at the minute so there doing something right
    i have an htc one xl which pretty much looks like the samsung s3 but dont see anyone sueing anyone there cause noone else is babies and likes to play fair unlike apple.
    patents shouldnt exist if you can make something better weither it looks the same or not your should be aloud to, if i remember correctly “its a free world” wish people wouldnt be soo greedy makes them look like idiots.
    people at apple are the type of people who like to trip over cracks in the pavement and sue the state for a good payout so they can go on holiday to europe, instead working there asses of like everyone else and earning a payout ethically and honestly. i like to punch them types of people in the face for making this world a crap place to live.
    p.s i hope steve jobs rots in hell for what hes created

    rant over

  23. C says:

    What a shame. It all boils down to who can have their cake and eat it too. What difference would it make? iPhone’s (as well as all Apple products) are extremely popular. Did the executives over at Apple seriously think that this phone stood a chance? So what if they copied you? This gives you the opportunity to make them a public embarrassment by creating another product that looks different and performs better.

  24. Gusdreyer says:

    Apple does not have the right to have ownership over formats, a rectangle, screen sizes or round shape corners. This is public domain.

    Icons?!? C’mon! Icons are icons! Why does Apple think that they have rights over icons layout?!?!

    If we allow a company to have ownership over things like that pretty soon all car builders will have to pay royalties to Ford, since they were the firsts to produce a car with four wheels.

    Then Samsung releases the S3, bigger screen, thiner. And now th iPhone 5 has bigger screen and is thiner. Should Samsung sues Apple over this?!

    Apple is a cry baby.

  25. meevil says:

    Oh I forgot: VW is German! Mercedes and BMW are German, too. And I know how much Americans love those cars, and even have one for their own. Do you know how many Germans drive American cars? Almost nobody :-)
    And that’s not even just in Germany. You find almost no American cars outside of the US…..

  26. Ed says:

    Well that’s because American cars are totally unsuitable in Germany. Handling, agility, speed, economy, refinement, braking control are always way behind their German counterparts.
    Don’t even bother replying unless you’ve experienced the Autobahn.

    America makes nice IT products though!

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