Industrial design expert on why Samsung is the copyist

Samsung has been called the copyist by Apple many times over, the first time in court documents the iPhone maker filed as part of patent infringement claims brought against its frenemy in April of 2011.

But evidence is mounting that Samsung slavishly copied some areas of the iPhone experience, like the iPhone’s gorgeous icons.

On Monday, Apple brought in an expert to testify before a northern California court where the iPhone and Galaxy makers locked horns in the patent trial of the century…

Peter Bressler is a former president of the Industrial Designers Society and the founder and board chair of product design firm Bresslergroup.

Himself an inventor credited with inventing or co-inventing about 70 patents, Bressler testified today that, in his opinion, Samsung did in fact lift Apple’s designs for a few of its own smartphones and tablets.

He said, according to CNET‘s Josh Lowensohn:

My opinion (is) that there are a number of Samsung phones and two Samsung tablets that are substantially the same as the design in those (Apple) patents.

And what might those patents be?

According to The Verge:

One of the iPhone patents covers the flat, front face of the device while the other protects its rounded corners and the bezel Apple that ditched with the iPhone 4 design. The third design patent protects the iPad’s rounded corners, flat face, and the thin black border beneath the glass on the front of the tablet.

He went on further to opine that uninformed would-be buyers could easily confuse Samsung’s Galaxy-branded smartphones and tablet with Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

It’s my opinion that this phone, the design of this phone would be considered substantially the same when viewed by regular consumers.

His opinion especially pertains to Samsung’s first and second-generation Galaxy S smartphones.

What makes Bressler qualified to make such assessments?

According to his own words:

Industrial designers are trained to pay attention to a lot of the little details that work together to form the overall impression that the usual consumer would view. So (consumers) may see those details, but they tend to be somewhat subconscious to the overall view.

It was also discovered in the courtroom last week that an internal email circulated at Samsung following the iPhone’s debut five years ago, in which Samsung’s executives described the iPhone as causing a “crisis of design” at the company.

According to Forbes, the email message reads:

All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide, yet when our [product] is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth.

It’s a crisis of design.

I also love this bit from Samsung’s email message:

When everybody (both consumers and the industry talk about [user experience], they weight it against the iPhone, the iPhone has becomes the standard.

That’s how things are already.

Asked by Apple’s attorney William Lee about its contents, chief strategy officer Justin Denison tried to downplay internal communication by calling it Samsung’s “hyperbolic” management style, to which Lee pointed out that the only documents that refer to a crisis in design refer to the iPhone.

In other legal news, Samsung also broke rules by taking witnesses to see the courtroom.

As this litigation drags out, Samsung is planning to launch the 10.1-inch Galaxy Note tablet later this month as it tries to solidify its position as the leading vendor of Android tablets, seen right above.

And here’s the promo clip.


Building upon the original 5.3-inch Galaxy Note phablet, the upcoming Galaxy Note 10.1 is driven by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and sports a 10.1-inch 1280-by-800 pixels display and a pen meant to “elevate a user’s creativity and productivity”.

It also has a 1.4GHz quad-core chip with 2GB of RAM, a five-megapixel back camera and a 1.9-megapixel one out the front. WiFi and cellular models will be offered, with three storage options ( 16/32/64GB).

Samsung is also slated to update the 5.3-inch phablet with a 0.2 inch larger display and refreshed internals at a media event on August 29, two weeks before the next iPhone announcement.

Looks like it’s gonna be a busy fall, with the new iPhone coming and just about everyone else scrambling to spoil Apple’s party by outing their hero devices.

So, would you say that you tech illiterate friends might confuse Samsung’s Galaxy gear to Apple’s?