Samsung is pulling out all the stops to protect itself from Apple’s lawsuit, but so far everything they’ve done seems like more of a distraction from the truth — they copied Apple’s iPhone.

One of the interesting things that I’ve noticed is that Samsung hasn’t actually come out and denied copying Apple, instead their tactic seems to be to say that Apple copied the design from Sony. Of course, as John Gruber noted this argument has already been discredited.

Here’s the thing, though — it’s not a Sony phone. It’s an in-house mockup by an Apple designer inspired by a very broad description of Sony devices. There is no actual circa 2006 Sony phone that looks like this.

Exactly right. The so-called “Jony” phone was a concept phone that Apple built. It was conceived and designed by Apple.

When that argument failed, Samsung moved to the F700 and tried to show that Samsung had the design first. Not even Android-focused Web sites bought that story.

Cory Gunther from Android Community:

This picture above says the F700 was shown at CeBit 2006, and then released in 2007, making Apple and the iPhone the one that copied them. This is completely false.

Samsung fans that have contacted me on Twitter and email have used the same argument that Samsung seems to be using now — you can’t patent a rectangle. That is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.

Using that argument doesn’t do justice to the billions of dollars in research and development that Apple has spent over the last decade to make the iPhone.

Apple has done more than patent a rectangle. They developed and perfected a new way to interact with a personal computing device that fits in your hand. They called it the iPhone.

Apple didn’t spend all of that time and money developing the iPhone so Samsung could just copy it and release products that looked the same. No matter how you look at it, copying Apple’s iPhone design is not right. That’s exactly what Samsung did.

The cell phone and nascent smartphone industry hadn’t changed in years when Apple showed the iPhone in 2007. If developing a new way of doing things was so easy, why didn’t Samsung do it earlier? Why did they wait until after Apple showed the iPhone to develop their phones?

The answer is simple — because they copied Apple.

Samsung would have you believe that they have designers that develop products themselves. These products, Samsung would argue, have not been copied from Apple, even though Apple released the product first.

Let’s look at the Galaxy Tab. Again, a Samsung product released after Apple’s iPad, but one Samsung says wasn’t copied.

It’s interesting then that not even Samsung’s lawyers could identify the Galaxy Tab when placed next to an iPad by the judge.

Katie Marsal for AppleInsider:

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh this week held both a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and iPad above her head, and asked Kathleen Sullivan, a lawyer representing Samsung, to identify what company made which. According to Reuters, she could not do it from a distance of about 10 feet.

Perhaps lawyers don’t know about design. I suppose you could make that argument if you were desperate. How about consumers — surely they know what they’re buying, right?

According to Best Buy, “Samsung tablets were being returned because customers thought they were getting iPads.”

And that is Samsung’s strategy. Watch what Apple is doing, copy that design as closely as possible in hopes of confusing the consumer and then sell millions of devices. It’s illegal and makes you a scumbag, but they thought they could get away with it.

Phil Schiller addressed this during his testimony last week:

“[Copying] creates a huge problem in marketing on many levels. We market our product as the hero and how distinctive it is, how consistent we’ve kept it over time,” said Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, as he was questioned by Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny. “Now when someone comes up with a product that copies that design and copies that marketing, then customers can get confused on whose product is whose…. If you steal [the way the iPhone looks] you’re stealing all the value we’ve created.”

I think Apple’s Scott Forstall summed up the company’s feelings about Samsung:

Asked if he told anyone at Apple to copy Samsung’s designs, Forstall replied, “I never directed anyone to go and copy something from Samsung. We wanted to build something great. There was no reason to look at anything they had done.”

Of all the people that contacted me, of all the arguments Samsung made, the one thing nobody said is that they didn’t copy Apple. That just seems to be a given. The argument is whether stealing from Apple is legal or not.

It’s impossible to argue that this lawsuit is about rectangles. Samsung ripped off Apple’s design because it wanted to confuse consumers and they thought they could get away with it. Samsung’s designed changed remarkably in 2007, after the iPhone was introduced.

That’s not a coincidence. That’s theft.

  • MisterK

    Nailed it.

  • Amen!

  • NOLA_Willie

    Apple lawyers should call you to the stand!

  • This is absolutely the underlying issue of the entire lawsuit, which seems to be getting muddled in all of the testimony being covered by various media outlets.

    Whether or not there was prior art when Apple made the first iPhone almost seems irrelevant given the fact that Samsung used various design and marketing/trade dress elements in selling their own devices, which yielded record revenues and profits for them.

    I’m very interested to see how this whole thing plays out.

  • BastianC

    Hear hear

  • Jack

    I 100% agree!

  • MrPhotoEd

    Very well said.

  • Manish Bansal
    Of all the people that contacted me, of all the arguments Samsung made, the one thing nobody said is that they didn’t copy Apple. That just seems to be a given. The argument is whether stealing from Apple is legal or not.

    This is the best point I have read so far about this whole saga!

  • tyr

    I don’t particularly care Samsung copied Apple, I don’t even think it should be illegal but to pretend they didn’t copy Apple or they just “copied a rectangle” is just stupidity. Yet you’ll see this BS parroted on supposedly geeky sites like Slashdot.

  • D Pauw

    I wonder how many people who are bashing Apple here are bashing Zynga.

  • Adriano Geletes

    I am so sick of all these people defending Sam(scum) and their way of copying and steeling! Hopefully Sam(scum) is loosing this trial so they have to pay for their way of copying because there is no denying to it. At least to do justice to all Apple’s hard working employees.

    Although Sam(scum) is trying very hard to copy Apple in every way and because all their stupid fans are trying to defend them in each of it, there is no company like Apple – it’s undeniable and inevitable cooler.

    Thanx for this beautiful written statement Jim!

  • If they didn’t copy Apple, why didn’t Samsung just produce their own prototypes showing non-Apple copied approaches and enter that into evidence? I fear because it doesn’t exist.

    • They actually did. It was refused by a previous judge, and the decision upheld by Koh. Samsung can’t introduce this evidence in this trial. I take it you missed the leaked Samsung document(s) that basically show the F700 designs from before the iPhone was announced. Which kinda makes sense, since if the F700 was shown off just a little bit after the iPhone, don’t you think Samsung would have needed that little bit of time to design, prototype and show off such a device?

      • Jhrogersii

        That phone was a resistive screen device with a slide out landscape qwerty keyboard. I had an HTC Windows Mobile device that had similar qualities, just with a smaller screen, in 2005. Both devices have little to do with the iPhone.

        • Forget the keyboard. Look at the phone. It resembles the iPhone. Remember, this about the overall look, not the hidden functionality. They both look different, but so do the Samsung phones which Apple are saying copied the iPhone. That is the main burst of Apple’s argument — will consumers become confused when comparing both phones together. So, if the F700 looks like the iPhone, then Apple has no leg to stand on when it comes to saying Samsung copied them, since this phone was designed in 2006.

          It could have a holographic display for all anyone cares, doesn’t matter, since again, it’s the look of the phone.

  • jacker101

    Apple took all its Technology from the mobile industry’s Lemon Tree. They took these lemons and made lemonade. Now that everyone loves lemonade Apple decides it owns the Lemon Tree and Lemons. Samsung say” Hey we and others grew that tree for over 15 years…you cant own our lemons or the tree.

    Apple wont stop until it has its tree and only people can buy its one kind of lemonade! That’s why you people are ISHEEP!

    • Adriano Geletes

      Seriously? Lemonade?

      Have a coke!

    • This is what they’re teaching kids in analogy school today?

      Although it is true that pre-iPhone, cell-phones were generally lemons.

    • Jim

      No. This analogy is actually pretty good. Samsung is just on the complete wrong side of it. Apple figured out the recipe to turn the lemons into something people wanted to buy. Samsung can continue to use the lemons all they want. They cannot (legally) steal Apple’s recipe and set up a competing lemonade stand.

  • The problem with these South Koreans is that copying ideas is in their blood, they have stolen Japanese ideas in electronics design and even in pop culture for decades, and now that Apple is the big name they basically just photocopied every single Apple product made.

  • craigphilips24

    Boom. This. Jim, you’re a genius.

  • obiwandreas

    I seem to recall from the Jobs biography that they did, in fact, spend a great deal of time during the development of the Macintosh before settling upon the rectangle with rounded corners for windows and controls. Even if the rectangle were the issue, Samsung would still be wrong.

    Apple developed an interface with no physical buttons, in which the controls automatically reconfigured themselves for the task at hand. The only people putting out a design like that were the Daystrom Institute and the Utopia Planitia shipyards. If anyone has a claim against Apple, it’s Michael Okuda.

  • Dear Jim, Yup.

  • Jason Painter

    The only reason they’re making money is that their designs resemble nice-looking ones, Apple’s.

  • Not bad, but mind-numbingly stupid, and disingenuous to the extreme. Samsung-focused websites didn’t buy that story of the F700? Bullshit. What you fail to grasp is a little common sense, and decent research; perhaps contact those in the know, who might just be a little bi-partisan, instead of, well, being slanted in a direction so far into the void that the end of that tunnel is probably Apple-shaped. Am I right?


    The F700, while being shown in 2007, was in development in 2006. If you wish to argue that to a fine grain of salt, then let’s move onto the LG Prada, which was shown in 2006.

    What you are griping about are the patents, not copying; well, you are moaning about the copying, however, since you’re focused on all-out copying, then you are plain incorrect.

    While other aspects of this case can be argued in regards to copying — and they are —you utterly failed to do any investigation into the history of the F700, and the LG Prada.

    You merely quote a site —which you and many others quote — without thinking that it was actually wrong in its assumptions. The article didn’t go far enough, and purely looked at when the device was shown to the public. However, Samsung can demonstrate that the design was done in 2006. If they can’t, and I’m led to believe they can, then we can move back to the LG Prada.

    So, forget rectangles for a moment. can Samsung, LG, even Nokia, show that they had a mobile phone that resembles the iPhone shown by Steve Jobs in 2007. I think they can, or hope they can to stop this patent nonsense.

    Sorry, no wait, I’m not sorry, but as loathe am i to use the term “fanboy,” it’s apt here. I even clicked on your links to your sources. One of them —gruber — well, I need my sense of humanity back after following the links back to some shit-hole site called daring fireball.

    Maybe pick your sources better next time, or perhaps not lump every Samsung/Android user into the same bucket just to imply that all us little folk are weeping for poor Apple who have been robbed of their ingenuity.

    P.S. I use an iPhone, but nonsense like this is what gives technology a shitty name these days. It’s not tech-reporting, it’s pure- unfiltered, slanted, fanboyism – oops, I shouldn’t use that term since another Apple site made the dumbest comment that they ignore articles which use it. Hopefully this one.

  • Just wanted to add this, and I posted this on another forum (Phandroid). God knows why I’m chasing this story today, but this article really irked me for its approach in portraying Samsung as some sort of rip-off merchant. Anyway, Apple copies, and they still do.

    Samsung copied Apple’s icons? Oh really? Ok, fine. What’s that? A million Apple fan-sites blowing their loads on how Samsung are shameful ripoffs, with no morals? In amongst this, these fan-sites liberally quote a known Apple shill –John Gruber of DaringFireball. Let’s take this to the heart of these fan-sites cheerleading —that Samsung copies. Oh really, really? Well, how about Apple copying the exact look of another developer’s application? Yup, this happened way back in 2004 when Apple showcased their OS X Tiger and a new thing called Dashboard. It was basically widgets that we know today. The developer behind this other product, Konfabulator, had been developing his software since 2000; blasted Apple for ripping off his work. Konfab featured rich interactive widgets, with a look and feel that we are used to when we use an iPhone, or some other phones today. Let’s go back to this Apple shill guy, Gruber. He’s one of the many out there, every single day guffawing at Samsung’s copycat routine. However, back in 2004, it was a different matter when it was Apple doing the copying – and getting caught at it, and Gruber being a hypocrite in the current patent case. Basically, Gruber went into a long rant about how Apple didn’t copy Konfabulator’s widgets, since Apple had already done something similar way back in the pre-historic age, albeit with a much, much different look and functionality. That’s great, Apple did have desk accessories, etc. However, comparing those to konfab is like comparing a Nokia from the 90s, to an iPhone. Gruber even mentions that Konfab had rich, colourful, anti-aliased graphics. Much like the current court case arguments. Now, before Konfabulator, widget type things weren’t full-colour, and beautiful, and highly interactive – they were pretty dumb and… well, let’s just say that comparing pre to post-Konfab, is like comparing pre to post-IPhone. Oops. So, let’s apply this logic to the current case. Are people correct in lambasting Samsung with being plain old copycats? Well, if it’s good enough for Apple, it’s a tasty treat for Samsung. Before the iPhone, in fact before OS X/Windows ever had these rich widgets, some other developer had them. Apple ripped off the entire look, and got away with it. The image attached is from Konfabulator. Look like anything? Yeah, looks like the OS X/Windows/iPhone weather widget, except, this was created years before Apple ripped-off that exact look. I’m not even talking about functionality, since even Apple, and their fans, are just condemning Samsung as rip-off merchants. This is about the UI, much like how Apple are talking about the look of icons right now in court. Point being, God knows if Samsung copied, hoever; the sheer bias from the Apple sites is unbelievable when they themselves were defending Apple when Apple was in Samsnug’s shoes. If you read gruber’s blog, replace widget/gadget with mobile phone.

    • Dan Andersen

      Gee, E, that Konfabulator thing sounds serious. Based on what you say, if the Konfabulator people had sued Apple, they could have made millions. I wonder why they didn’t bother…

      • That brings us to the lovely topic of patents. I’ll just bandy around some words for ya:

        Patent reform. Photo app on the iPhone using generic flower symbol, which one can find on digital cameras fating back to, well, before Steve Jobs knew how to hold a phone right.

        Point being, this article is almost slandering Samsung, based on mostly mis-informed nonsense. Does Samsung copy? Inspired, perhaps; copy, maybe. Does Apple coy? Damn tootin, they do.

        So, did/does the OS X/iPhone weather widget –and others– resemble Konfabulator’s? Uh huh. Think of it like this, before Konfab, widgets, and desktop accessories were ugly, boring, hardly anyone made them. After konfab, they looked amazing. See the similarity in argument between Apple and Samsung?

        Oh, and money. Yeah, I don’t think the dude at konfab had the money to sue, nor the energy. Of course, this happened before Apple had a product which was popular with the public. All changed now since the iPhone.

        • Dan Andersen

          Gee, E, I’m not sure I follow you at all, what with your mentioning all manner of things hither and thither-like. But a few things you mentioned caught my eye. For example, you stated, “Think of it like this, before Konfab, widgets, and desktop accessories were ugly, boring, hardly anyone made them.”

          Well, no, not really. In fact, widgets, desk accessories, and applications (numbering in the thousands at that time, by the way) looked pretty great in Mac OS X which was released almost two years BEFORE Konfabulator.

          You then asked, “See the similarity in argument between Apple and Samsung?”

          I must confess: No, I don’t. I don’t see any similarity here at all. Perhaps one of us is dealing with a personality defect, intellectual deficit, or wilful blind spot…

          You then opined, “Oh, and money. Yeah, I don’t think the dude at konfab had the money to sue, nor the energy.”

          Actually, E, it wasn’t one dude, it was three–Arlo Rose, Perry Clarke, and Ed Voas. And those three dudes had a very successful–and expensive ($25 and later $20)–product that was available on both Mac and Windows platforms. In fact, Konfabulator was sold to Yahoo! just shortly after Apple released Dashboard. Yahoo!’s pockets were pretty deep back then and even Tahoo! didn’t take the opportunity to sue Apple. I wonder why not…

          You then opined, “All changed now since the iPhone.” On that, we agree.

          • Putting aside the random misdirection, and the utter failure to grasp the point; please, do show me one, just one widget/gadget/ etc. made by Apple prior to Konfab/Samurize/the-many-other-widget tools on OS X/Classic/Windows. Go on, produce just one example of a weather widget which looks (the important part here since we’re talking about the look) like Konfab, et al. Got anything before OS X Tiger was previewed at WWDC in 2004? Nah, didn’t think so.

            Ad hominem remarks aside, your opinion on not seeing any similarity between the arguments is just that, an opinion. I do see the similarity, therefore your point is rendered obsolete.

            I know the story behind Konfab. I know what happened to it, and before it, which has nothing to do with what I wrote. You were the one who introduced the remarks about why you wondered they never pursued Apple when Apple copied them.

            So, back to the original point of what I wrote; show me one Apple-made whatever that resembles just weather widget.

            I’ll wait while you re-adjust your attitude, and the condescending tone, which does you no good when you shift the goalposts as you do.

          • One other point, which you couldn’t grasp, was the reaction of this site, and other Apple-baised sites in whining about Samsung copying Apple. One of the main people behind this, is Gruber. A name I just became aware of a couple of days ago, alongside this blog.

            See, the hypocrisy is mind-numbing. Why? When Konfab was released, and the developer blasted Apple for ripping his idea, Gruber went on the rampage on his blog to point out the exact same arguments that Samsung are using now. Go read it, do a quick Google (I love saying that) search for it. When you read it, just replace widget/gadget with mobile phone.

            Talk soon, hopefully!