Samsung Tries To Convince Court That Apple Has Already Copied The iPhone Design… From Sony
The festivities begin in a massive Samsung vs Apple patent case on Monday, and AllThingsD reports that Samsung has released their full trial brief today. In it, they outline not only how they’re not guilty of copying Apple’s designs, but also show that Apple’s designs aren’t even theirs. That’s the angle Samsung will be pushing in court, and they’ve got some convincing claims to back that stance up. Included in the trial brief are claims that the iPhone design was copied from an earlier design philosophy professed by Sony.
An interview with some Sony execs by Businessweek in 2006 outlined Sony’s ideas behind the design of the Walkman NW-A1200, in which they talk about “not having buttons.” Samsung says that’s where Apple stole the iPhone’s design ideas from. Here’s how Samsung presents this point in their trial brief:
Right after this article was circulated internally, Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was directed to prepare a “Sony-like” design for an Apple phone and then had CAD drawings and a three-dimensional model prepared. Confirming the origin of the design, these internal Apple CAD drawings prepared at Mr. Nishibori‘s direction even had the “Sony” name prominently emblazoned on the phone design, as the below images from Apple‘s internal documents show:
Soon afterward, on March 8, 2006, Apple designer Richard Howarth reported that, in contrast to another internal design that was then under consideration, Mr. Nishibori‘s “Sony-style” design enabled “a much smaller-looking product with a much nicer shape to have next to your ear and in your pocket” and had greater “size and shape/comfort benefits.” As Mr. Nishibori has confirmed in deposition testimony, this “Sony-style” design he prepared changed the course of the project that yielded the final iPhone design.
If that picture really is an Internal design concept from Apple’s engineers, it’s a bit of a slam dunk for Samsung. Whether they’ll be able to prove that they really got that image from someone inside Apple remains to be seen, however.
Also included in the trial brief is Samsung’s denial of any Apple-copying they’ve been accused of, and they’re citing a very iPhone-esque design of theirs that was finalized months before the iPhone was announced. A design that eventually became the Samsung F700 was the subject of a patent application in Korea in December of 2006, and sports the no-buttons, all-screen design that Apple claims Samsung stole from them. Unfortunately for Apple, the patent application predates the announcement of the iPhone by a month. Samsung even points out that the F700 was even named by Apple as an infringing device previously, but was removed from the list when Apple realized it predated the iPhone.
You can check out the full 23-page trial brief over at AllThingsD. Samsung appears to have some strong arguments contained therein, and Monday’s court proceedings are sure to be interesting.