Take a look at these designs in dispute and weigh in with your opinion.
In tech, imitation isn't the sincerest form of flattery; it's the surest path to a patent lawsuit.
To say that Apple and Samsung are "meeting" in court this week would be incorrect. The two have tangled too many times to call it that. This latest case focuses on design, with Apple claiming that Samsung devices like the Galaxy Nexus and Tab copy the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad.
In documents filed in the case last week, Apple's attorneys argue, "Samsung once sold a range of phones and a tablet of its own design. Now Samsung's mobile devices not only look like Apple's iPhone and iPad, they use Apple's patented software features to interact with the user."
Apple is asking $2.5 billion as compensation for what it says is the infringement of four of its design patents—two for the iPhone and one each for the iPad and the iOS GUI. Although to Apple design is in the details, some of those details are missing in its patents, making for interpretation open to judges and juries.
In a sit-down with Wired this week, Samsung chief product officer Kevin Packingham said, "For us, it's unreasonable that we're fighting over rectangles, that that's being considered as an infringement, which is why we're defending ourselves."
Which "rectangles" will ultimately be shown in the courtroom is the subject of legal contention, but the phones and tablets in this slideshow are the ones that Apple has put forth as evidence. Take a look through them and weigh in with your opinion of which qualify as infringement in the comments section.
Apple's iPad is a simple, elegant tablet with a single physical home button. That home button isn't in Apple's patent, though, which means the company can place a claim on tablets even without home buttons.
The original Galaxy Tab was a 7-inch tablet, but size doesn't matter here; the issue is the shape.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
This tablet was banned in Germany for looking too much like the iPad. As a result, Samsung released the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, which has a chrome edge encroaching a bit more onto the front of the tablet.
Apple iPhone 4
The iconic black-slab smartphone has rounded corners, an earpiece at the top, and a single home button at the bottom.
Samsung Galaxy S II
Apple's claim against Samsung is strongest with the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II, which are black slabs with a single hardware button at the bottom. But even there, it's hard to argue that people would confuse these with Apple products given that they spell out "SAMSUNG" on the front.
The original Galaxy S, known in the United States as the Vibrant, is another black slab but lacks a bottom hardware button. The back is also a different profile from the iPhone.
The Samsung Continuum took the black-slab form factor but added a unique bit of ornamentation—a secondary display below the main display. It's also even more rounded than the typical smartphone.
Samsung Droid Charge
How much are the details of the devices' body shape going to matter in this trial? The Droid Charge, which Apple included in its lawsuit, has a somewhat unusual body shape that comes to a point at the bottom.
Samsung Epic 4G
Apple probably included this phone in its lawsuit just so the judge would have something to throw out. The Epic 4G has a slide-out, hardware QWERTY keyboard, something you'd never see on an iPhone.
I hope we can all agree that this phone looks absolutely nothing like an iPhone. Why Apple included it in its design-patent lawsuit is baffling.
Copyright © 2010 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc