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.