Apple and Microsoft's Licensing Pact Spells Out Cloning Taboo
August 14, 2012 1:24 PM
comment(s) - last by
Thou shalt not clone, says the legalese
It's common knowledge that when Microsoft Corp. (
) briefly stepped in to save the
train wreck that was Apple
, Inc. (
) in the mid-nineties, the pair cemented their bond with a
deep cross-licensing pact
which has been responsible for the relative peace between the pair in these hyper-litigious times. During the
copyright infringement trial
being held at the
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
between Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) and Apple, that licensing relationship was the topic of some questions, questions that raised interesting details.
Apple patent licensing/strategy director Boris Teksler is quoted by
as testifying, "The Apple and Microsoft cross-license does cover the design patents. However, we took special prohibitions from both parties so there is what I term an 'anti-cloning' provision... so we couldn't copy each other's products. There's a clear acknowledgement that there's no copying."
The cross-licensing agreement covered both design (aesthetics) and utility (technology) patents worldwide.
[PDF] of that 1997 arrangement it then highlighted the passage that Mr. Teksler was talking about:
In other words, Apple and Microsoft won't sue each other for individual features (e.g.
swipe to unlock
, or bounce animations) or minor design details (e.g.
a rectangular smartphone
), but if either company feels the other is "slavishly copying" the entire comprehensive product, they could -- in theory, at least -- sue the other.
Is this interesting? Certainly.
How does it affect the Samsung v. Apple case? That is unclear. Apple clearly claims that Samsung "cloned" its products.
Apple claims Samsung "slavishly copied" its products. [Source:
David Paul Morris/Getty Images
But ultimately this testimony could be used against Apple if Samsung can establish that its smartphones/tablets are as different from the iPhone/iPad in design and user interface as Windows Phone 7 handsets and Windows tablets are from the iPhone/iPad. Because if the level of differences is similar, and it was enough to constitute "slavishly copying"/cloning, the question would be why Apple isn't suing Microsoft as well.
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RE: cut from the same cloth
8/14/2012 3:08:36 PM
You're reasonably intelligent, so let me do you a favor by telling you you're a complete idiot. What you think you know, you don't.
Now, stay with me. I'm not trying to bring you down, just sometimes people need reality checks. They are so blinded by religion that they start to see things that aren't there, like a blurry picture of the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich.
The first picture you linked to is horribly photo-shopped. I suggest you go to an unbiased site like phone-size.com and really see the two phones side-by-side.
Let me tell you the differences:
Not the same physical size. One is taller by .5". Cut from the same cloth? Hardly.
Note the lack of visibility of the two soft buttons flanking the rectangular button.
Different locations of hardbuttons
Prominance of Samsung logo on front (not trying to disguise its origin)
Center mounted camera vs one tucked in the corner
Lack of apple logo on back of Samsung. Yes, this seems ridiculously obvious, but is extremely important for the trade dress argument.
Remember, Apple's argument is that Samsung is infringing because they look to similar and one could be mistaken for the other.
Anyone with an unbiased opinion can look at the two and tell them apart, that is if they are given photo-shopped pictures that intentionally try to mislead. I suspect you're smarter than that to intentionally deceive.
RE: cut from the same cloth
8/14/2012 7:52:43 PM
My Galaxy S (work phone) looks nothing like a iphone 3GS that I owned 2 years ago.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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