An interesting argument arose in the Apple-Samsung litigation related to Samsung’s F700 handset. As you know, Samsung sought to present this and other handsets – but the F700 in particular – as trial evidence of prior art that they were designing handsets akin to the iPhone before Apple got to announce its phone in January of 2007.

Judge Lucy Koh excluded that device and a bunch of other Samsung phones from the hearings, but Samsung defiantly publicized the slides yesterday, angering the Judge.

Apple had originally included the F700 as patent infringing in its suit, but later dropped it as it realized Samsung was working on this before the iPhone was released and especially after learning that Samsung applied for a South Korean design registration application in December of 2006, a month before the iPhone’s public unveiling.

Kill me but I just don’t see any similarities between the F700 and the iPhone, especially not ones that could establish prior art for either party.

Maybe you do?

Before you cast your vote at the bottom, first a little backgrounder.

In response to Judge Koh’s request to explain why it publicized excluded evidence, Samsung argued the move was in response to media inquiries, writing in a brief today that “Apple was allowed to inaccurately argue to the jury that the F700 was an iPhone copy”.

So the F700 establishes that Samsung’s designs for it predate the iPhone, right?

Note so fast.

The iPhone was announced on January 9, 2007 at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco.

Samsung pre-announced the F700 via a press release issued a month later, on February 8, 2007, which also promised that Samsung would show off the handset at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

So the fact remains that Apple announced its iPhone before Samsung took the wraps off the F700.

As for Apple, the company had originally asserted that the F700 copied the iPhone’s design.

Here’s the F700.

And this is the original iPhone.

Some similarities, eh?

As The Verge’s Nilay Patel noted last April, Samsung’s device has a physical QWERTY slider keyboard whereas the iPhone is all-touchscreen design that involves virtual keyboard.

Both have a touchscreen, the iPhone’s is 3.5 inches and the F700’s measures 2.78 inches diagonally. The iPhone understands multi-finger gestures and the F700 does not.

The F700 doesn’t even run Android.

A year later, the iPhone would gain ability to run Apple-sanctioned third-party apps through the introduction of the App Store as part of the iOS 2.0.1 firmware update released on July 10, 2008 through iTunes.

Samsung’s device doesn’t run third-part apps.

It’s a dumbphone.

The F700’s homescreen is also notably different than iOS.

Patel sums it up nicely:

Let’s look at the F700 in a different context. Instead of looking at the similarities, let’s try to highlight the differences.

With that in mind, cast your vote now.


On a related note, Apple had on its board of directors then Google CEO Eric Schmidt while the iPhone was being developed.

I wonder how long before Apple brought this up in the courtroom.

Feel free to explain your vote and post additional observations down in the comments.