Apple sues Samsung over Galaxy phones, tablets

By on April 18, 2011, 5:03 PM
Apple has sued Samsung over similarities between the companies' handset and tablet products. Filed April 15 in the Northern District of California, the suit alleges that Samsung has been riding Apple's coattails with devices such as the Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G, Nexus S and Galaxy Tab by copying design elements from the iPhone and iPad.

"Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple's technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products," the suit said. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong," spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said in a statement.

The infringement supposedly spans both hardware and software. Apple seeks injunctions, damages, punitive damages and hopes to establish that the alleged infringement was willful. It's unclear how the case will affect business relations between the two companies, considering Samsung supplies Apple with flash memory chips for its various mobile devices.

There's no denying that certain Samsung products strongly resemble Apple's, but this isn't an uncommon occurrence. Both the original iPhone and iPad paved the way for their respective markets, leaving competitors to play catch-up. In such a case, it's to be expected that many companies borrowed from Apple's success instead of reinventing the wheel.

Seemingly all prominent tech companies are guilty of leeching off others -- Apple included. Cupertino is currently entangled in patent squabbles with other firms including HTC, Nokia and Motorola. Whether Samsung took things a little too far remains to be seen. Apple's filing shows photo comparisons between the products in question. What do you think?

User Comments: 37

Got something to say? Post a comment
mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

I think this picture speaks by itself: [link]

Coodu Coodu said:

Next in news, Samsung to sell up Smartphone division, Apple Interested :P

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

Does this actually hold any weight? I mean it's almost like Ferrari saying Chevy copied their cars with the Corvette.

Apple, is it not enough you already make billions off your current flock of sheep?

Guest said:


So it has rounded corners..? All phones have a home screen button. What is appl'es complain again..? Why not Win7 phone..?

Guest said:

Wow it feels more like Apple is feeling threatened by the success of Samsung's products. Can't blame them but yet at the same time seems a bit stupid. Let see where this goes.

Scshadow said:

The actual phone I don't care about. All phones are similar. Its kinda hard to argue that there is any other logical configuration. Its the OS that is dead on exactly like IOS. But that is something they should take up with android and not the companies that run it on their phones. Thats just how it appears to me. I don't own an android device.

Guest said:

What the f+-k else are you going to do with a touch screen? Its a big rectangle that covers the entire product.

As for the menu its just a bunch of icons broken into blocks, I used to have a front end program in DOS in the early 90's that looked pretty much the same hows about they sue you apple, pull your heads out of your arses.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If it wasn't for copying other companies, Apple users would still be stuck using a one button mouse.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

I think this issue has grounds for a lawsuit if you compare them side by side there definitely is some copyright infringement there. If you see at the picture I posted earlier there was definitely a UI and form factor change for Android phones after the iPhone was announced and in most occasions it looks like they used the iPhone/iOS as a stencil.

Microsoft, Blackberry and Palm have showed that you can have a unique UI while maintaining usability on touch screens and that there are different form factors.

Cota Cota said:

Dam it i failed to patent rectangular devices

supportme said:

Then Apple should be suing Google and not Samsung. Coz the Android belongs to them... But do they have the guts to... ??


This makes sense really, I mean the Android platform is getting to be more popular than Apple's iPod. The similarities between the iPod and the Galaxy are quite obvious, but I think if samsung's sales from the galaxy where low Apple wouldnt bother suing. Then again I am probebly wrong, but nevertheless it looks like Apple is hating the competition as usual.

Guest said:

They didn't hide the fact it is a Samsung though did they? That's the one thing that stands out the most to me...

nismo91 said:

actually i agree that galaxy s looks very similar to the iphone in terms of physical styling. but in terms of OS (Android) it has nothing to do with iOS regardless whether it's similar or not.

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Own the galaxy S and well, I'd really have to agree as well, the Galaxy S is so similar to that of the iOS, that the first thing I did when I got the phone was to get rid of TouchWiz (Essentially what makes the interface look like an iPhone)

Apart from that, they're two different phones completely though. For that matter not when I use an ipod I keep trying to find for the touch option button or the back button only to find it doesn't exist XD

Good luck suing samsung, there are plenty more direct copies out there, search Java based china iphone lol

Guest said:


Samsung may have copied apple, but lets face it they have perfected the product! :)

Guest said:

Hmm, so large touchscreen are now Apple's copyright? How about buttons? How about round corner shapes? Next!

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Just more press for Apple. Samsung and the rest out there are just cloning everything. Panel, case an etc just the same except you got micro sd card slot where Apple doesn't have it yet or well never have it. If I was the Judge I tell Apple listen you all should just play nice in the tablet tree house. Case dismiss!

Next case: Microsoft vs Android.

mosu said:

Apple is trying, Samsung makes them perfect.I'm looking for a Graham Bell relative so I can sue them all!

Arris Arris said:

Seriously, my Windows Mobile 6.1 device had an application list display that looked like iphone. Even my phones from 5 years ago had square icons. My Palm Pilot from 10 years ago had square icons on a monochrome screen..., albeit much smaller screens so didn't "look" quite like todays iphone.

I have always felt the Samsung product did have a striking resemblance to the iphone but any other touch screen device is going to be quite similar when most of the front of it is touch screen. And for software, they are suing them for having a bar modification on Android (touchwiz) that makes it look like an iphone? As others have pointed out if they are really suing over the highly individualistic software styling of icons on a black background they should be targetting Google, not Samsung.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Have anyone noticed how blatantly Apple copied Symbian's square icons? I wonder if Nokia will be filing a suite against Apple ........


To an extent that is true, as I've said many times Android's interface does seem like a cheap copy of iOS; hence targeting Google may make sense; not sure it will hold out in the court of law though.

Arris Arris said:

I think the Lionel Hutz(lawyer from the Simpsons) has been pushing these cases forward.

What's up next?:

Microsoft vs Apple - Computers installed with Win7 use electricity in almost the same way as Apple MacIntosh computers!!

Apple vs Google/Android - Using a displayed keypad with numbers for dialing phone numbers is the same as keypad number arrangement in iOS on iPhone!!

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Exactly, Apple is throwing such claptrap at competitors for ages, may be it is the fact that iphone (arr read iOS) is going to be a loser in the longer run as others start to catch up and even better it; so they are trying to scare the competition.

Guest said:

Samsung have more money than Microsoft apple and Google reunited.

Chazz said:

Did you mean "combined"?

Vegasplaya said:

Honestly the people who are disregarding Apple's claim because they can't patent rectangular touch screens with buttons are not taking all the information into account.

I definitely see this Samsung phone as wy too similar to the iPhone to be ignored whether it is successful or not.

Plus maybe if apple wins companies with finally atop trying to "kill the iPhone" and come up with some innovation of their own.

That way we finally benefit!

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So... What if Samsung throws out an update to change the UI around, throw the icons into a circle or something like that, rather than the rectangular grid? I mean, yes the phones are similar, but there is a wide variety of phones that look and operate very much the same out in the wild today. So, if it's a matter of form factor and UI being too much alike, if Samsung changed the UI, would that basically deflate Apple's argument? Physically, there is enough difference (button placement, etc) to make a childish "they copied me!" argument ridiculous...

Guest said:

think i should go patent number order about number layout on phones. In all phones that i have ever seen its always is this layout..

1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9

* 0 #

then maybe i could retire finally, :) Unless ofcourse apple will sue me.

edison5do said:

More Shit from Apple... The apple legal department dont have nothing to do.... Hey there any work here!'''.... no we are looking Who to sue this time!!, lets sue the people.... ¿why?-- the breath the Steve jobs air!!!!! :toast:

NeoFryBoy said:

Crazy how two rounded rectangles can look so much alike...

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Cota said:

Dam it i failed to patent rectangular devices

I'm actually working on suing apple for using rectangular devices.. got that patent years ago.


mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

Ok, to those linking to the F700 Samsung device, the F700 was announced on 2006 but no picture emerged until a month after (Feb. '07) the iPhone was announced (Jan. '07).

Here's what Samsung actually announced and showed at CeBIT 2006: [link]

And this is the first unveiling of the F700 (see date): [link]

"LOL @ Apple?" More like "LOL @ Android Photoshoppers" -TUAW

Guest said:

If Apple like to make this kind of copyright sues, most likely they will be public enemy. Apple product is not cheap at all.

T77 T77 said:

Somehow,I don't find any striking similarity...

AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

Apple is too much of a *****. Maybe they should come out with something new so people won't have to go for something that is cheaper and better quality...

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.