Samsung just can’t help itself: during a CES keynote yesterday, its executives brought up a slide to explain Samsung Pass which had what looks to be Apple’s Face ID icon on it.

Samsung Pass is the company’s new biometric identity management as-a-service product.

iMore first spotted the logo which appears to have been borrowed from the Face ID glyph. It should be noted that Apple has registered the Face ID logo in multiple countries around the world so it will be interesting seeing whether it will send its legal sharks after Samsung.

Keep in mind that it’s entirely possible that Samsung Pass is coming to the iPhone, in which case users may be able to authenticate using Face ID. And if that’s what’s happening here, then Apple probably gave Samsung permission to use its Face ID logo.

Samsung previously also “borrowed” Apple’s Touch ID logo.

This is Apple’s official icon representing Face ID.

Another possibility: Samsung being Samsung. And with that scenario in mind, what are the options that Apple’s legal team has to protect its intellectual property?

Cult of Mac explains:

‘In terms of copyright, the threshold for protection for user interface metaphors—such as using a trashcan to signify deletion—is quite high,’ Anna Ronkainen, an intellectual property scholar at the University of Helsinki, told Cult of Mac.

If Apple chooses to defend its trademark in this latest instance, Ronkainen thinks Samsung could make an argument about the transparent nature of the icon. That means arguing that the average consumer will associate the icon with generic biometric login via facial recognition.

Samsung could argue that the trademark should never have been granted in the first place. If that’s the case, Ronkainen said, ‘off to the courts we go.’ Literally. ‘The outcome is impossible to predict at this point.’ Impossible, that is, other than the high probability that it would involve years more Apple vs. Samsung battling in court.

Resembling the original smiley face Macintosh logo from the 1980s, the Face ID glyph was first used by Apple with the iPhone X that released in 2017.

This isn’t the first time Samsung has slavishly copied work by its rivals. In fact, the South Korean firm is regularly accused by its competitors of stealing their industrial designs and ideas. Samsung was famously sued by Apple for copying the iPhone look and feel.

It was eventually confirmed by courts that Samsung did lift Apple’s copyrighted work wholesale. As a result, the Galaxy maker is now on the hook for millions of dollars in damages.

What’s your opinion? Has Samsung just ripped off the Face ID icon and called it its own?

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