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Apple sues Samsung for 'copying' the iPhone and iPad

Vlad Savov
April 18, 2011
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Whoa! In the world of big-time lawsuits, this must be just about the biggest. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has sued Samsung Electronics for copying "the look and feel" of its iPad tablet and iPhone smartphone. This relates to the Samsung Galaxy S 4G, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the iPhone 3G / 3GS models, and the slightly less obvious Epic 4G, Nexus S, and Galaxy Tab (presumably the older 7-inch model, since the newer ones aren't out yet) devices. The claim for intellectual property infringement is phrased as follows:
"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."
The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California on Friday and seeks injunctions against Samsung, damages (both actual and punitive), and a finding that the infringement was willful. Lest we forget, the rarest outcome in such legal tussles is for an actual judgment to actually be handed down, so the greatest likelihood is that this will just lead to another round of grudging handshakes and licensing going one way with money going the other way, but still, it's fun to see the big dogs barking at each other.

Another aspect to these proceedings that shouldn't be overlooked is that, on the software front, they boil down to iOS versus Android (again). When Apple calls Samsung uninventive in its user interface, it's talking more about Android's perceived imitation of the iPhone's interface than whatever TouchWiz tweaks Samsung has slapped on top. And hey, if you're going to sue Google indirectly, you can't leave a major player like Samsung outside the courtroom, it just wouldn't be fair.



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