Apple’s case against Samsung explained in 3 images

By , Aug 3, 2012

As you’ve probably noticed, Apple and Samsung are locked in a high stakes courtroom battle in northern California right now. Apple believes that Samsung intentionally copied its smartphone and tablet designs, and is seeking more than $2 billion in damages.

The debate on whether or not Samsung copied Apple has been going on since the Cupertino company filed its original lawsuit back in April of last year. But it’s hoping to convince the California court journey with the help of these three product timeline images…

AllThingsD points to the three pictures, which Apple submitted into evidence for the trial, and were released to the public late this afternoon. In them, Apple tracks the evolution of Samsung’s smartphone and tablet designs before and after the iPhone and iPad were released.

Now, we’ve seen graphics like this before. But put together, these two images do seem to make a compelling case that Samsung completely changed the design if its smartphones shortly after the release of the first iPhone. Notice that in 2006 and early 2007, Samsung was still making Windows Mobile handsets, with styli and slide out keyboards. Then, in late 2007 after the iPhone debuted, they moved to a touchscreen-only design with an app-oriented OS. Coincidence?

Of course, you can argue that this was the way that smartphones were moving anyway. But that’s a different debate. Right now, we’re just looking at the images Apple is using to help build its case, and again, they are quite interesting. Next up, tablets.

This image, as you can see, shows the evolution of Samsung’s tablets leading up to the release of the original iPad, and then after it. Apple first unveiled the iPad in January of 2010, and released it in April of that year. Again, it looks like Samsung drastically changed the design of its products after seeing Apple’s design. The photo also shows other tablets, such as the Barnes and Noble Nook and the Acer Iconia, to prove that Samsung didn’t necessarily have to make its tablet a black-bordered rectangle.

Apple’s case against Samsung is far from a slam-dunk, but so far, it seems to be winning the courtroom exchange. Obviously with more than $2 billion at stake, this trial is only going to get more interesting as it goes on. So stay tuned.

What do you think of the images? Do they make a good case?

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  • Alexander Dohms

    This Is pretty interesting and never really thought about it but it’s so true, seems to me Samsung doesn’t have much of an argument, it was kinda silly how Samsung was suing apple on behalf of Somy saying they had stolen Sony’s phone design, I think if Sony really cared that much they would’ve sued for themselves, but yet Samsung just need another leg to stand on so try brought this up in court.
    Great article Cody, and keep up the phenomenal work here at iDownloadblog :)

    • Melvco

      Thanks. =)

    • NoBigGovDuh

      A think rectangle is not a patentable shape.

      • xared

        I think your face does not deserve a separate name.

  • http://twitter.com/barnaburn barnabas

    This is the most convincing stuff I’ve seen apple present so far, but that’s not saying much. I think they’re argument looks kinda weak.

    • Kok Hean

      It’s too early to say that their argument looks weak until Samsung gives out a similar explanation.

  • @dongiuj

    You could pretty much say the same thing about every smartphone from every company from the past 4-5 years. They’re all rectangular with lockscreens, home buttons, applications and all do pretty much the same thing.
    What do apple/samsung really want exactly? World domination? Intergalactic domination? Think about the consumer guys.

    • carolo

      They dont want that. Apple wants to move the world forward but copiers like samsung are slowing progress down by doing what already has been done. Apple actually held a Phone from a different company in the air once and said something along the lines of “this is how to compete and innovate without copying us”

  • http://the-david.com/ David Christenson

    The iPhone was innovative and all, but I really don’t understand how else touchscreen smart phones would be designed. It’s only natural that we’d have big rectangular screens with a button (or buttons) at the bottom. Apple wasn’t even the first to follow that basic design.

    Tech companies need to lay off the litigation and patents, and we need to reform the system to stop such abuse. It’s suffocating business and innovation.

    • http://twitter.com/thundiyils Jacob S

      What a dumb comment!

      • http://www.facebook.com/kale.phillipson Kale Phillipson

        It really isn’t!

    • http://twitter.com/HuchongLing Joey_Z

      it’s only natural because it is the only thing we see everyday. every company copies iphone.
      maybe there are more natural ways, but these companies should really start doing some innovation.

      • Sophannuth Chreang

        Yeah! Now I saw every company copies iphone Designed and idea too!

      • Papapau

        If ratings are just bullets, you were already dead with your senseless, super biased comment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kale.phillipson Kale Phillipson

      I couldn’t agree with you more, the patent system is extremely flawed. Most of the time companies can’t because apple holds so many patents on the most intricate things. When a company does innovate, like what samsung/ Google did who the nexus they still get sued for patent violations.

      • Lordthree

        Siri is AI- not voice control. Apple iPhone doesn’t do ‘multi-tasking’ like android. Until you know what you’re talking about stick a sock in it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kale.phillipson Kale Phillipson

        first of all yes AI that you control with your voice hence what i meant by “voice control”. google has AI to, i chose to just say voice control. also i know for a fact that iOS has multitasking, i’v never tried it on the iphone but on the ipad it’s accessed by double clicking the home button.

        the fact that your nit picking such small details in my comment if proof of your inability to make a smart rebuttal. so maybe you should be the one who should put a sock in it.

      • Lordthree

        First off- Apple DOES not have ‘multi-tasking’ like you think it does. Apple didn’t want to kill the battery life and eat all the RAM like android so they waited a little longer to figure out how to make ‘app-switching’ (which is what you’re calling multi-tasking) work without affecting battery life or available RAM.
        See, the way it works is- Apple developed API’s that allow iOS to FREEZE a ‘save state’ for an app. The App isn’t running, but what iOS has done essentially is take a screen shot of what you’re doing with an app when you kill it. Then, when you reopen then app- be it on spring board or the ‘multi-task’ dock- it reboots the entire app and retrieves the save-state of exactly where the app was when you were last using it. These apps aren’t RUNNING- you’re not actually MULTI-TASKING in the proper sense of the word. You can google to read about how it works better, but that’s is the basics of it.
        Meaning- this isn’t something they took, stole, or even borrowed from android. It’s completely different dispute your inability to notice the difference. This is why Apple phones don’t require the processing power or high amounts of RAM that android phones need.
        Next- Apple had ‘voice control’ before Siri. Most people don’t know it, and it wasn’t that great so Apple didn’t advertise it a lot- but it was there. It could do things like ‘call my wife’ or ‘play the doors love her madly’.
        So, I’m not nitpicking- you’re simply wrong. Flat out wrong on both your examples. I’m not upset about educating you, but these are the kinds of things that you’re basing your opinion on, that are simply not true.

  • http://twitter.com/fizzDripper DRipper®

    it always felt that Samsung have copied Apple, images not withstanding

  • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

    Yeah i agree with most of you, almost all brands copy the innovative iphone but samsung does it most so apple sues them. Great post for more clarity than the previous photo post on this topic!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kale.phillipson Kale Phillipson

    Who cares about who coppied who and who was first. Product design is all about looking at things and inproving on them or applying your own personal touch. Apple does it, Samsung does it, everyone does it, it makes for better competition and better products in the long run. It just goes to show how seriously flawed the Patent system is when you can patent a rectangle, I mean seriously 90% of LCD screens are rectangle, its not like Samsung or any other phone company are going to make a circular phone with a rectangle screen. This is all coming from an apple and android user.

    • Gerard Hampton

      Agreed.

      Apple are trying to win a patent on generic design. as soon as this happens no one will be able to make anything similar to anyone else ever again. ive said it before but imagine this happening in the car industry. Sorry you cant have 4 wheels and an engine that was our idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

    Hey Kale, i say your comments doesn’t make sense, are you a kid? JK, anyway, i believe that your comment that apple copied google voice control… It is ridiculous, like saying I made the table, no one else can make another one. However, apple suing samsung is due to the similarity of detail, one home button etc including s voice which user interface is almost identical to siri. Another, apple has black frame around the iPads. samsung does not need to use black for their products. Did you read the post about the blue-shirt samsung shop employes and white display tables here at iDB? So if you don’t know, please dont comment.

    • presidentwalter

      Hey Liu, I say your comment doesn’t make sense, are YOU a kid? And apple never copied Google’s voice control, Siri had been out as an app until Apple bought it and then implemented it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        That is precisely what I am saying sirs pole bought sirin so it is legal and didn’t copy voice control from google please read properly.

      • presidentwalter

        Write properly.

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        Ok sry I was in a rush, Siri was bought by apple so it is legal and didn’t copy google

    • http://www.facebook.com/kale.phillipson Kale Phillipson

      No, i’m not a kid and why would it matter if I was. My comments make perfect sense, i admit i did make a mistake on that fact about siri. i do know that google was developing its software around that same time as that app and maybe they influenced each other? but one things for certain because of this influence and “copying” everyone can have this amazing software without being stuck to only one choice of phone or os, I dont see how this could be a bad thing.

      your comment ”
      It is ridiculous, like saying I made the table, no one else can make another one” is really ironic because that is more or less what apple is doing.

      on top of that the one home button is a good design but at the end of the day its just a button why should it matter if someone else uses one button? also the black frame, come on that is absolutely ridiculous. one its a color a pretty common one in fact you should not be able to patent colors (its like a large company trademarking a color just because its in their logo). black frames also have very good contrast to the screens, you could say that apple copied their idea from a black picture frame, now i don’t know whether this is true or not but you don’t see picture frame companies suing apple.

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        Read my comment what Samsung is doing is not just copying a table

  • seyss

    total absurd. why is there even a debate.

  • YujinNY

    i dont know how people can deny that before the iphone all phones were ugly as hell and had a horrible interface (windows CE?) after it everyone got rid of keyboards, antenna, and pinch to zoom and other apple first, were included in all phones…the iphone show the industry how a phone should work and everyone copied it shamelessly.

    • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

      And that, my friend, is how the industry works. Don’t be foolish and think how Apple somehow never did any of the things it is now accusing others of doing (Android, Prada, “Jony”, etc.). Apple improved upon previous ideas, packaged it nicely and called it an iPhone. Others are now doing the same exact same thing. But the problem begins at the point when you patent such generic design. Obviously, Samsung’s was influenced by Apple’s, but why is that a bad thing, since the only ones who are benefiting are us; the consumers? The reason why Samsung’s sales are so high isn’t because their devices vaguely resemble the iPhone, but because they are, in many areas, better then the iPhone. Whether it is the design itself, software, hardware, etc.. Design of a device is just one part of it, not the whole thing.
      “Don’t be stupid. This has nothing to do with protecting patents, and everything to do with killing competition. The similarities between these devices are marginal, at best. Copyright and patent wars are nothing more than a money-spinner, hence the reason Google bought Motorola Mobility. [...] Apple are hardly going to win people over to their side by preventing consumers from buying from their competitors.” – Dave Cullen (/watch?v=dWk5THT5y-M)

    • http://www.facebook.com/kale.phillipson Kale Phillipson

      yes apple did make one of the first beautiful phones and I commend them for what they have done for phones. Saying that, just because they were the first to make a good looking phone why should that mean the no other company can make a good looking phone in the form of a rectangle?

  • http://www.facebook.com/siddhartha.konwar Siddhartha Sankar Konwar

    It is not bad thing to copy the iPhone. At least many consumers are experiencing touch phone innovation in countries where apple doesnt give a damn (selfish apple) but Samsung should negotiate the damage charges and pay it and keep on copying :-)

  • Guest

    I don’t really care who makes the phone. Just glad samsung have some good phones. Don’t really care much for ios

  • http://www.sk1wbw.wordpress.com/ Wayne Williams

    What about the pics of the packaging that Samsung uses for its tablets? I can’t find it, but right down to the way the tablet is boxed on top of the setting inside the box, right down to the same exact cable…

  • sajutp

    I dont really care who makes the phone. just glad samsung comes up with good phones over the time. Dont really care for ios

  • http://www.facebook.com/sydney.liu.161 Sydney Liu

    No wonder Samsung’s defense is all about the ‘natural’ evolution of rectangular design. The fact that Samsung went public with excluded exhibits plus a plethora of litigation sanctions shows a pattern of abuse. Given such tendency for abuse, it’s not hard for Samsung to ‘naturally’ copying apple’s design.

  • Lordthree

    Wow. The commenters here are getting dumber and dumber.

  • MagicDrumSticks

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Stop supporting monopolisation. Why isn’t HTC, Motorola etc involved in this case? By what the article suggests, that a company should be burned at the stake for copying another. Apple has done its fair share of “copying” from android too.

    I for one am glad companies aren’t afraid of borrowing ideas. I’d hate to live in a world where iPhone is the only touch phone and everything else is still using keys.

  • http://twitter.com/thendrickson Trevor Hendrickson

    They copied Apple. This is why there are design patents. They protect design whether intentional duplication or not. Great article. Puts it into perspective.

    “A US design patent covers the ornamental design for an object having practical utility. An object with a design that is substantially similar to the design claimed in a design patent cannot be made, used, copied or imported into the United States. The copy does not have to be exact for the patent to be infringed. It only has to be substantially similar.”

    • Papapau

      If i were you, remove your slide lock of your door, its substantially similar to Apple’s patented slide to unlock.u

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728548305 Miras Safadi

    Oh yeah…samsung is pretty much f***ed!

    • http://www.facebook.com/kale.phillipson Kale Phillipson

      If it does turn out that apple wins, it will be a very sad day the true winner would be monopolisation. further development in the phone industry will slow.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728548305 Miras Safadi

        True..but i’m just saying that judging on the pics up there. It is important to have a competitor!

      • carolo

        Get real Kale, Apple will and did win, and there will be no monopolization. The point here is that Samsung not only barrows something essential to designing (like equal corners) but intact goes out of their way to copy as many things as they can from Apple. hardware, features, Even icon! now you can’t tell me that Samsung HAD to make their photos app in the shape of a yellow sunflower (like Apple’s) right in the middle of a square (like Apple’s) with the same background color as Apple, because its the only way for that icon to function. Then when samsung gets sued for OVER DOING IT, samsung tries to rage counter sue simply because they now hate Apple.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthancockUK Matthew Hancock

    Nokia could sue every phone maker who used a keypad and an lcd screen. This is bonkers. The competition between companies makes phones better. Don’t you think Apple will be bringing out a phone that is slim, fast and has a larger screen? The present iphone is like a brick compared to the the HTC One and Samsung S3 for example. Stop suing and keep making your phones better than the competition. Appleheads, android fans and just people who want a phone that suits them are happy. I chose not to go iphone because I don’t like being tied into their music, apps etc. My phone gives me freedom to choose these things from numerous sources. But that is just me. Shut up people and get on with enjoying the phone you prefer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthancockUK Matthew Hancock

    By the way, why are so many HTC and Samsung phones that have touch screens for as long as iphone not included. A bit selective me thinks.

    • carolo

      I referred to this above. Samsung shamelessly over did it

  • Qlobster

    This is about how Samsung copied the iPhone to look and feel like an iPhone, and this is NOT good for consumers at all. Sure we all get the same looking smartphones, but that way there is no innovation. Why not let Samsung design and make a great smartphone themselves, one that doesn’t look like an iPhone, one that’s even far better, why not a round phone with octogonal screen??!! copying is not innovation, it’s just more of the same.

  • http://twitter.com/kenkyee Ken Yee

    They’ve evolved…cell phones in general have evolved. Apple at one point was copying Sony’s XPeria in prototypes even though they deny it.
    The difference in Apple’s phone vs. the Galaxy isn’t the faceplate…it’s the rest of it…Apple = blocky/chunky metal/glass block. Samsung=thin/curved. Pick up both and they have a totally different feel. There’s no way you can mistake them for each other unless you have no hands… :-P

  • Kevin Gladwin

    Apple showed the industry how to make a bad smartphone. Samsung were then good enough to take inspiration from a format and build a good smartphone. Apple say they don’t mind the competition so long as their competitors don’t steal their ideas. They left out the fact that the iPhone is built on numerous patented ideas created by Samsung which Apple feel they don’t need to pay for. Whilst Samsung have equipped each new generation of their phones with bigger screens, bigger batteries, better cameras, etc. Apple have made only minor cosmetic changes and then got bitter when they saw how Samsung began to dominate the market, well go figure! It seems to me that Apple have figured that they’ll struggle to overtake Samsung’s dominance and so seek to attack them in the courts instead. Yes my opinion is highly biased, but then so is the above article.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ZaidSkyler Trevern Diaz

      your pretty dumb. apple places great detail on intricacies what apple did was take things that already existed but fine tuned them to fit there needs or reinvent them i.e innovation what Samsung does is simply take ideas already implemented in ios and reuse them under the guise of bigger, more or better. when the iPhone came out it reinvented the idea of a smartphone, i got one so i knew and still know the difference what Samsung does is provide exactly what apple does for cheaper, with more ram and privileges

  • http://www.facebook.com/stuart.copland.9 Stuart Copland

    Huge respect to apple, I love their mobile products and design philosophy. No doubt in my mind did Samsung and others copy apple. But let’s face it, imagine someone invented the car today, patented it – that would have meant the technology never moves forward or at a snails pace at best. Competition is healthy! Why don’t both companies say ok, enough of this bulls***, whoever creates the best/cheapest phone/tablet wins? Better for the consumer and better for the companies in the long run! Sick of the broken US patent system!

  • Jose Cheong

    … technology has always been improvement from the past. You throw a bunch of stuff out to the public and see what sticks. Then you improve on the stuff that works. Do you think Mac OS started from scratch??? it started as a copy of UNIX. Its not wrong to focus on ideas that are working at the present and improve upon it. Look at the iPhone its basically a rectangular box with a large screen and one home button slimmed down from previous phones. So in your point of view all phones can’t be rectangular and slim; and can’t have a home button and can’t have a mic at the top???

  • Craig Sipp

    The reason they were developing similar apps was because Eric left Apple and went to google and took technology with him….Google stole Apple’s original idea by luring Eric to Google.

  • http://twitter.com/jayminho jayminho

    so..
    tv makers will be suing each other forever..
    damn..
    what about watch makers.. endless fights ahead!!

    get over it.
    apple designed a amazing product, and should take take the copies that came up after it, as a form of compliment. :)

    by the way..
    should samsung and htc sue apple because of its upcoming 4.0″ display.. ??

    • Rhuaidhri Tynan

      Exactly. A typical bad article from an Apple fan boy. I can show hundreds of
      different tablet computers designs that existed long before the iphone
      and ipad were even rumours all of which have the exact same
      characteristics that apple are claiming to have “invented”.

      The simple fact is that function dictates form to a large degree and
      tablets have always had a certain shape dictated by function and a form
      factor dictated by the video standards in the same way TV’s etc. have
      been. As the phone became to incorporate more and more of the
      traditional tablet functions it has to take on a more and more tablet
      like design. Heck HP certain Tablets have had a black rim with rounded
      edges for over 12 years.

  • http://twitter.com/bbra1n Brian Climaco

    Throw HTC smartphones in that timeline, and it will look very different for anyone who thinks the iPhone was an original idea.

  • John viviers

    If Apple win Ford can now be the only car in the USA just use the apple case

  • http://www.facebook.com/ZaidSkyler Trevern Diaz

    yup seems legit

  • zanymonster

    if anything, Apple ripped off everyone else (again) with the iphone. The 1st gen iphone sure looked and worked a lot like the HTC touch or the nokia N series and 5000 series or the early BB, MS, and Palm touch screen devices. Apple basically took the best major features of every other smartphone and combined them into the iphone. Then, knowing it was an incomplete product in the development cycle, they decided to release it anyway because the market was so ripe. people were so marveled at the “bold” ALL touch screen UI (which was far from first) that they assumed it was best, completely ignoring the fact that the device missed many of the features and functionality that had become standard at the time on every other device. (i.e. copy paste, voice recognition, bluetooth audio, etc) Through a full on assault on the senses style advertising and hype campaign (which apple is famous for) the general (and ignorant) public was duked into thinking the iphone was first at everything. This, by the way is exactly how the ipod launch went down too! ;) Then, after several years of being the worlds most dominant consumer electronics company, Apple claims they were ripped off by one of the same companies that invested many millions developing the smartphone concept into something that had apparently become a viable enough market for Apple to (finally) take a risk with all those years ago.

    Apple fans are annoying. They think Apple is some kind of peace loving, intellectually profound, life giving, awe inspiring, god-like, benevolent being.

    Nope! Sorry folks, Apple is the new GM. The new M$. The new 3M. The new GE. It is just a corporation, which is at its heart no different than any other before it – a machine that is designed to take your money. Every corporation that gets that fat eventually peaks and crashes. Apple will too, and this to me a just a sign that their leadership sees the writing on the wall.

    HTC, Samsung, Palm, RIM, and Nokia were all totally ripped off by Apple. Thats the story no body want to cover, but its the truth.

    If you think Steve Jobs was a nice guy that wanted to improve your life, you are very wrong. Just ask Ross Perot, Steve Wozniak, Paul Rand, Warren Buffet, or really anyone else that he screwed over. Apple’s suit is totally frivolous. Even if Samsung eventually beats this, it wont matter, Apple just needs to flux some muscle here, and that is all that’s happening. The damage is already done, and the consumers will ultimately suffer – as is usually the case.

    Boooooooooo Apple.

  • http://twitter.com/Telejeesus Telejeesus

    I hope Apple lose this thing(hate Apple and its business model SO MUCH) but I still have iP4 and iPad 2(products are ok, but everything else SUCKS)
    What Apple is grying about??
    They steal Nokias patents(and still pay rojalties from every iPhone)

  • http://twitter.com/Telejeesus Telejeesus

    All companies copy/loan decine etc… from another.

  • http://joli3133.blogspot.com/ Jolie

    these 3 graphs are very supportive evidence..