Over 100 Designers Side With Apple On Samsung Patent Dispute

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In 2011, Apple sued Samsung claiming that the company copied various aspects of the iPhone and its technology and applied it to their own Galaxy S flagship. Apple won the case and Samsung were required to pay Apple damages of $548 million. However, this did not signal the end of the legal battle as Samsung appealed against the case, stating that the $399 million awarded for copying the design of the iPhone (including the rounded corner front, the bezel and grid of icons) is "excessive." Samsung's belief is that the the similar design of the Galaxy S to the iPhone only marginally contributed to what they considered to be a complicated product. Back in March of this year, the US Supreme Court agreed to review the case, which is the first time a design patent has been assessed by the highest court for over a century. Today, a group of over 100 design professionals sided with Apple stating that the iPhone's distinctive look persuades people to buy the product. Furthermore, these designers stated that Samsung offering a similar looking phone could hurt Apple's sales.

They include famous fashion names Calvin Klein, Paul Smith and Alexander Wang, the industrial design director at Parsons School of Design, the design director for Bentley Motors, and Tony Chambers, the editor-in-chief of Wallpaper magazine. These designers stated that for consumers, the "look of the product comes to represent the underlying features, functions, and total user experience." However, Samsung has a number of supporters in its defense, including two heavyweight technology companies, Alphabet and Facebook, plus a number of trade groups such as The Internet Association. A Samsung spokeswoman, Danielle Meister Cohen, explained that if the decision on the $399 million damages is not reversed this "could lead to diminished innovation, pave the way for design troll patent litigation and negatively impact the economy and consumers" but declined to go into additional detail.

Although the story is newsworthy because it highlights how the Apple versus Samsung battle is still ongoing even after a decision has been reached and five years have passed. The Supreme Court's decision centers around what exactly an "article of manufacture" is and how the appearance of the product could influence a consumer's purchasing decision, and as Samsung state, have meaningful implications on the industry.

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