Samsung thinks it’s irrelevant on if they copied Apple because Apple copied Sony

Lets face it, all this legal news has gotten way out of control and I was over it months ago, but I have to admit, it’s starting to get interesting again. With Samsung and Apple set to battle it out next week, we’ve seen trial briefs from both Samsung and Apple, but as part of Samsung’s trial brief there was a mention about Sony and this quote:

For good measure, Apple seeks to exclude Samsung from the market, based on its complaints that Samsung has used the very same public domain design concepts that Apple borrowed from other competitors, including Sony, to develop the iPhone. Apple‘s own internal documents show this. In February 2006, before the claimed iPhone design was conceived of, Apple executive Tony Fadell circulated a news article that contained an interview of a Sony designer to Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive and others. In the article, the Sony designer discussed Sony portable electronic device designs that lacked “excessive ornamentation” such as buttons, fit in the hand, were “square with a screen” and had “corners [which] have been rounded out.”

In 2006 two Sony product designers, Takashi Ashida and Yujin Morisawa, were interviewed by BusinessWeek. They were asked about design philosophies and how or if the iPod influenced their own designs for their new Walkman player. This very article was circulated internally to Apple executives and of course Steve Jobs saw it. Supposedly he ordered Apple designer Shin Nishibori to come up with a similar looking device.

Here’s what Sony had to say about it:

Right after this article [BusinessWeek's interview of Sony designers] 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.

By convincing the court that Apple copied Sony, Samsung’s hope is that any evidence that they copied Apple would be null and void. Lastly, Samsung said this:

“Samsung has used the very same public domain design concepts that Apple borrowed from other competitors, including Sony, to develop the iPhone.”

It’s a chess game at this point and I agree, nobody should have to be spending time and money in the courts over this stuff. Unfortunately our legal and patent system is set up to work like this. The attorneys win and innovation suffers. I will say though that I’m a little more intrigued with this case now as things are really heating up.

source: dottech

» See more articles by Robert Nazarian


  • RTWright

    The only thing I don’t understand about all of this, is why Samsung waited so long to pull this out? Man I’d done that right at the very beginning of all the major BS that Apple started and put a quick end to it right there. Because anyone in the world could have seen where this was starting to go a long time ago….

    • marcosrg3003

      They didn’t show this on the beginning because this evidence shows that Samsung really coppied Apple.
      So, now is like this: Samsung coppied Apple and Apple coppied Sony.

      • RTWright

        Samsung did not copy Apple, please. Get your facts straight. That’s what started this crap to begin with is such stupid accusations. No one should ever be given a patent on a shape, that’s the dumbest thing we’ve ever allowed anyone. It’s a rectangle with curved corners, big freakin’ damn deal.

        Samsung’s is bigger in size, thinner, and wider by some degree. And the edges on the top of their SGSIII is slightly got a curve to it as well it’s not straight. But even if it was, the insides of the device is not a copied product.

        By these standards, no one should be able to even make a car, house, window, building, that even slightly has any resemblance to another. Which we all know, is a crock, because all of the before mentioned are very much replicated to some degree from MANY DIFFERENT manufactures. Why should it be different in the technology world?

        So what, I make a window and patent it, then put it up for sell. Should that stop you from taking what I did, improving it, by redesigning HOW it works as apposed to how it LOOKS? Who cares, as long as it’s the consumer’s choice to purchase whichever one they want, then that’s fair competition. But when the manufactures start trying to run a dictatorship, by claiming patents on every single common aspect of something just so they can be the monopoly and not allow any others in? Then that’s no longer competition, that’s stupidity at it’s best. That’s Apple!

      • Frogbone

        Marco, obviously you don’t understand the article. The Sony designs were in “Public Domain” and Samsung isn’t claiming that Apple stole it from Sony. Samsung is saying that if Apple can take these Sony designs out of public domain then how in the world could Apple claim that Samsung stole them from Apple??

        • mark

          Well said

        • Danilo Viana

          Altough I agree with you, unfortunatelly the article title suggests that Samsung did copy Apple, but it is irrelevant because Samsung copied a copied design to begin with.
          That’s the problem I have with some “news” sites out there, they put titles in their articles with the sole purpose of catching your attention by saying something outrageous and then the article itself will explain things a little better (or not).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pietro-Angelucci/100003372909733 Pietro Angelucci

      That phone is designed by an apple designer who slapped a SONY logo on it. That is why they didn’t whip it out because they only used concepts (not shown here) which bear no resemblance to the iPhone or this mock up of what Nishibori thought SONY could have made if they were still cool.