The smartphone industry is filled with ongoing patent suits. From Nokia and Apple to Microsoft and Motorola, it seems like all the major players in the mobile phone industry are currently in litigation.

Typically the lawsuits seem to be a stretch from patent infringement, but I think Apple’s got a real case here. Have you ever noticed that the Samsung’s Galaxy line of products look an awful lot like iDevices? Apple thinks so. So much apparently that they filed a trademark infringement suit against Samsung last Friday with a U.S. District Court in North California…

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Cupertino giant is suing Samsung, citing unfair competition and trademark infringement. Apple’s court filing is filled with examples of the copycatting, ranging from product design to user interface. The suit mentions Apple patents from 2009 and 2010 that explain the iPhone’s physical design and various app icon trademarks.

The lawsuit also mention Samsung’s infringement of the “trade dress” of the iPhone and iPad. Apparently “trade dress” is just a legal term that means the devices looks extremely similar. An Apple representative comments on the suit to Mobilized:

“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

The interesting thing here is that Apple and Samsung are partners in some aspects. Samsung manufactures Apple’s A4 and A5 chips as well as LCD displays, flash memory, and other components.

As I said before, most of the time I chuckle at these kind of lawsuits. This time, however, there certainly appears to be some serious plagiarism going on. Obviously there is always room for similar products in a market, but where do you draw the line on those similarities?

What do you think? Does Apple have a case here?

[Images via 9to5 Mac and TNW]

  • alf15

    Apple need to grow up, its looks slightly similar! Apple need to stop this pety stuff and put all there effort into improving their operating system as they are lagging behind the rest!! Grow up Apple you big babies!!

    • Jon Garrett

      not only does apple need to grow up., THEY need to stop stealing !!

      who here remembers the Compaq iPaq touch screen device from 1999 ? I do, cause I was one of the first few people on earth to own one.

      who here remembers apple taking netgear to court because netgear released a phone called the iphone in 2005 ?!?!? a whole 2 years before anybody even knew apple was making an iphone !! Apple’s claim was that people might confuse it with the ipod !!! thats ipod., not iphone.

      Apple stole the “i” from Compaq’s line of ipaq devices and iphone name from Netgear.

      why doesnt anybody ever talk about this on all the apple fanboy sites?

      in addition to what I already know from memory., I found this article that if Samsung uses in court., apple will come out looking like a spoiled child who got his ass spanked.

      http://phandroid.com/2011/04/20/did-apple-really-steal-their-iphone-design-from-samsung-pot-meet-kettle/

  • Chin

    How different can a smartphone be these days… I dont think apple will win this case, the size, use of material, weight, functions of buttons, etc are not THAT similar to have a case in my opinion

    • MrA

      Well the norm for iPhones has definitely changed, but do you know initiated that change? Right, Apple did. There are dozens and dozens of touchscreen phones, but none look as similar to the iPhone as the galaxy phones.

      • MrA

        “norm for smartphones”

  • Burge

    These smart phones are bound to look the same .. Touch screen has to be just right to be used, The in the hand feel has to be right is called ergonomics it’s how well something operates and how well the user finds it to operate .. Apple got it right with the iPhone but thay can not say that’s are shape that’s how are devices look and feel when it the best shape for the end user..get a grip Apple as for the apps that’s a different storey…but then again did apple invent the round button ( home button ) no..so who’s going bring a lawsuit against them for that ?

  • jimbo

    apple might have a case

  • It may look the same but it don’t taste the same lol

    • MrA

      Exactly.

  • Tommy salami

    This is dumb. You can tell the writers here are real apple fanboys. When anyone tries to sue apple they say it’s a real stretch but apple comes out w a dumb lawsuit against a company that can’t even hold a candle to them and it’s a legitimate case.

    I thought this was iPhone download blog, not we hang on apples dick and suck up everything they do blog.

  • Ben

    Technically Apple has a case here according to trademark laws, but, really, I wonder what are we going to do when all shapes/ideas/words/alphabet runs out. I mean, everyone registers everything they can think of and next thing is that you can’t use is in another product. This might seems fair from the point of profit but not from the point of evolution. Two points in here; the first being that, in example, I can register as a patent some ideas and just sit on them, maybe because I don’t have the means to pursue or just I’m too silly or egocentric to do so – meanwhile, someone else who have the passion and/or means to pursue them can’t do so because I “own” it. The second point is that I think it seems just silly to “own” ideas. Ideas are abstract – ideas transformed into products, in the other hand, are profit. If your product sucks, it’s just like that, it sucks and there is no patent or trademark that can make your product “shine”. And the other side too; if your product shine and is successful there is no trademark of patent infrigement that can make your product not-successful.

    I know it’s not the same but think what would happen if someone was going to register as a patent the idea of making fiber cotton from the cotton plant and then sue everyone that produces clothing. Yes, the idea seems just silly and laughable, but, techincally, as per law, you can do that or other similiar ideas to that one. lol, I’m going to register some system about the dog language and I’m going to sue everyone his/her dog barks 😛

    Anyway, all that was just in priciple, as for the topic, yes, I think Apple has a strong case here and I can bet they are going to settle in the near future with some deal about parts/hardware/software. 🙂

  • anon

    some of you didnt read this article in full.

    @chin
    did you see the 3gs vs the galaxy s? open your eyes and take a look before you comment.

    what does the trade dress even mean anymore if you dipsticks keep saying its bound to look the same. eg. beccause “it looks slightly similar”, “its a touchscreen and has to be just right to be used”.

    not a fanboy, but by far the apple iphone far surpasses any other phone i’ve ever used.

  • Biff

    Can’t see this holding up. Before smartphones we had flip phones. Most flip phones looked alike and even worked pretty much all the same. Case closed!

    • Biff

      Also you have I believe it was the Nokia E71 looked pretty close to the Blackberry. I don’t keep up on my lawsuits but did RIM sue Nokia for that?

  • warnerve

    So, is Samsung (or Sanyo or Philips or whoever came up with the tv design) going to sue the rest of its competitors because the other tv sets look alike its products?

    For products that are “dead on arrival” and lack the magic, I think Apple (and ifanboys) are worrying too much.

    • MrA

      I think it’s Apple (not the fanboys) that are worried about it. Hence the lawsuit by Apple. And so far it seems like those other tablets are DOA. People dont want a tablet people want an iPad at least that’s what sales are showing.

      • warnerve

        ifanboys are always ranting against Droid phones. Why bother if those phones are such a POS as they constantly say?

        You’re right, people want iPads, but let’s see how does the market turn in the next two years. Remember the smartphone arena? Everyone wanted an iPhone 3G and Android was a small competitor. No one wanted a G1. Look how things changed in 24 months. I insist, for a product that is DOA, Apple is worrying to much.

        I concede that the Touch Wiz UI is awfully iOS look-alike (and awful by itself!), so probably this is going to make Sammy’s sales go up, once they’re forced to get rid of it.

      • MrA

        @Warnerve

        You are correct Android OS is far past (# of handsets sold) iOS. I don’t think you understand the reason though. The reason is because of carriers subsidies, there are dozens and dozens of phones running Android a lot of those phones you can get bogo/free with a 2yr contract. Still remains true though that not a single one Android phone has outsold the iPhone. Now in the future if carriers start offering Android tablets free or buy one get one free, then yes they will outsell the iPad, but until that time I don’t see it happening.

  • Ras

    Stupid apple fanboys.fuck apple.stupid childish freaks.

    • MrA

      Haha. U mad?

  • Manuel

    I owned a Sumsung S Galaxy phone, and the Vibrant looks JUST LIKE AN IPHONE. The way the apps are put, the way you move them, the way they look. It really seems like 1. Best story from me about this. I was selling my iPhone 3GS and giving to him to sell it for me, so he saw my girls vibrant and asked her is that another iphone. Then my friend who saw
    saw my vibrant while i had my iphone 4 in the box waiting for the unlock, and he asked me of the iphones are getting thinner now lol. This suing case is gay, but there isnt any denying that vibrant was made to look like and seem like an iPhone in my opinion.

  • school

    i think apple are upset after seeing the samsung galaxy series taking a little off its share, i think that after the samsung galaxy s II was announced with more or less same features as the rumours of iphone 5, apple wants to hit samsung. my view only

  • school

    must add after samsung re-thinned the galaxy tab 10.1 who wouldnt be upset. apple are just crying becuase the samsung thinned the tab down after hearing how thin the ipad2 was. lol

  • Mcsteven

    Wow. They’re identical! This will be an open and shut case. Good for you apple…

  • i hope its not a serious case

  • Liiloo

    I just can´t hold to not start laughing …

    Well what apple wants e publicity. In my logic it means ” well we do not have enough money so attention attention we are still here, buy us, use us need us”

    I was fascinated when ipod touch came to market, yes that was invention, but sorry the iphone.. what is in my mind a music player with calling options is nonsens. Apple didn´t had design crew in plac or what???

    Also the fanboys, itś the main thing what makes me not to have a iphone or -pod these days. Cause i can be different when i use samsung or lg or htc even thou they have android os but phones look different!

    I really do not care about the brand names, have never been, why cause why i need to pay my earned money for feeding the brand guys? Why…??
    I buy things by considering the facts what it has to offer to me, how usable it is, why i need it , is this have those or some other options. I do not watch a name on it, thou over the years i have started to avoid certain manufacturers and thatś by reason.