Coincidence or rip-off: Leica T software has ‘surprising resemblance’ to AppCam OS

The Leica T interface has AppCam claiming foul play.

The interface of the new Leica T camera has AppCam claiming foul play.

Leica debuted the Leica T mirrorless compact camera last April, and the camera has already received a lot of positive feedback, in a short amount of time. Even the developers at AppCam offered praise, despite the fact that they claimed the Leica T’s operating system closely resembles that of AppCam’s.

Leica is one of those companies that pride itself on originality and exclusivity, but according to AppCam, the touchscreen OS on the Leica T is nearly identical to the AppCam OS, a system that AppCam allegedly pitched to Leica in the past, hoping to integrate AppCam software into Leica cameras. A few years later, AppCam claims the noted camera company took their idea and ran with it. In the short video below, you can see a demonstration of AppCam’s OS; compare it with the image above.

At a glance, it seems like AppCam’s claim could be valid, but it could also be a huge coincidence. Taking Leica to court would be a fruitless endeavor, since they’re among the top camera companies in the world (with high-powered lawyers at their disposal), but AppCam remains steadfast with its claim and fought back with a press release from its inventor Jürgen Habenstein:

“Last week we had the great fortune to get one of the coveted copies of the new Leica T in our hands. After we had an extensive look at this beautiful camera, we would like to congratulate Leica on this really successful piece of technology…But with a closer look at the new Leica operating system we must also notice that it has a surprising resemblance to the system of the AppCam. The only major difference is that the values ​​are set by tapping on the display on the Leica T, whereas by dials on the AppCam. The use of camera apps and their free configuration – like the apps on a smartphone – equates otherwise more or less exactly to our system.

“We must admit that we were skeptical at first whether this similarity is really just random. In particular, because we have presented our AppCam system about two and a half years ago to the product manager of Leica, Stefan Daniel, at the former company location in Solms. He had even asked us at that time to provide him with a computer simulation of the AppCam for a few days, for a more detailed test. But the cooperation failed. In the end, Mr. Daniel sent us a rejection letter because he saw no possibility of applying our invention to the products of Leica.”

The press release also states that Leica’s legal department told AppCam there must have been some sort of “parallel development” of the two companies’ OSes, and that each “publicly-expressed doubt from AppCam about that, will result in massive legal action and substantial claim for compensation by Leica.” Realizing that taking legal action against Leica could very well break the small company, Habenstein closes with some rather polite indignation and not-so-subtle sarcasm from AppCam, as he wished Leica much success in the future – “despite everything.”

The full AppCam press release can be viewed here

(Via Photography Bay)

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