According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple is more than a little unhappy with the design of some of Samsung’s leading smartphones (Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G, Nexus S), as well as the Galaxy Tab touchscreen tablet.
In fact, Apple’s disgruntlement was so acute that it led them to file a 38-page lawsuit in the Northern District of California on Friday, alleging that the design of these popular devices violated Apple’s intellectual property. Apple’s action against Samsung includes trademark infringement claims, as well as a plethora of patent claims.
The lawsuit said: “Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smartphone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products.”
Although each company’s devices uses different operating systems, the lawsuit revolves around issues such as the similarity of the icons between the various devices – a look which, according to the lawsuit, was apparently not always so: “Even the icons in earlier versions of the Samsung smartphones looked different because they had a variety of shapes and did not appear as a field of square icons with rounded corners,” it said.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said in a statement: “This kind of blatant copying is wrong.” According to Reuters, Samsung representative Kim Titus said in an email that the company intended to protect its intellectual property and that they would “actively” respond to the lawsuit. “Samsung’s development of core technologies and strengthening our intellectual property portfolio are keys to our continued success,” Titus’s email stated.
A particularly interesting part of this legal action centers on the fact that Apple devices incorporate a number of components made by none other than Samsung. And even as recently as February it was being reported that Apple would be spending a whopping $7.8 billion on Samsung parts. It seems that Apple would prefer it if Samsung stuck to making components rather than complete devices.
The lawsuit is the latest in an ever increasing number of such actions; Nokia sued Apple in May 2010 over various patents; Apple sued HTC in a couple of months prior to that, and now they’re gunning for Samsung. Expect plenty of tit-for-tat lawsuits to continue to fly for the foreseeable future.
This latest lawsuit could be seen by some as a sign that Apple is feeling the heat in the battle for smartphone/tablet supremacy, with Samsung’s offerings proving ever popular with consumers.