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Print 53 comment(s) - last by darkhawk1980.. on Aug 16 at 7:39 AM

Thou shalt not clone, says the legalese

It's common knowledge that when Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) briefly stepped in to save the train wreck that was Apple, Inc. (AAPL) 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. (KSC:005930) 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 The Verge 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.

As The Verge has a copy [PDF] of that 1997 arrangement it then highlighted the passage that Mr. Teksler was talking about:

clone product

In other words, Apple and Microsoft won't sue each other for individual features (e.g. swipe to unlockdisappearing scrollers, 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 iPhone
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.

Source: The Verge



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By theapparition on 8/15/2012 11:19:48 AM , Rating: 1
If you kill someone, you'll be forever labeled a murderer.

If you post clearly biased posts on a news discussion site on ONLY one topic, you'll be labeled a fanboy troll. It's not me who has labeled you, but your own actions. Deal with it, or grow up. Pirks used to be the biggest troll here, but started to open his mind. Now sometimes posts factual and relevant information.

Opening your mind does not mean accepting the majority opinion to fit in, but it does mean that you give other topics their fair share of criticism and praise. You do neither. Only post on stories that praise Apple and criticize their competitors. Anyone who's unbiased must give props to the many innovations in Android or WinMo. But you've never had a single good thing to say about them. When the facts are clearly against Apple, you conveniently are absent......or religiously defend them. That's pretty much the definition of a zealot.

I, on the other hand, can look at the situation a little more unbiased and praise Apple for many of the things they do. I grew up using Apple products. But I don't like the closed ecosystem and the way I've been treated by Apple in the past and even now. It's my choice to not buy their products.

Getting back to your direct questions.

quote:
Do you think Samsung copied Apple or not?

I think apple took industry and market design cues and incorporated them into some of their designs, just as any good company would. Just as Apple took many design cues from existing handsets (full capacitive touchscreen, black rectangle, icon grid).

I don't believe Samsung's design was sufficiently similar to warrant confusion and infringe on both the design patent or trade dress.

quote:
Do you think Samsung has a history of copying other companies products or not.

Again my answer will be similar. Samsung and Apple both have taken design cues from current salable products and incorporated them. That is indisputable. The question is if those were protected by law.

I think a lot of people need to go back and look at Apple's history with the iPod. The scroll wheel was somewhat unique. Apples menu system powered most things, which was clunky as you always had to return home to go into different menus. But what brought about a completely different paradigm shift with the iPhone. Full touchscreen (already done) with a grid of icons (already done) sure seems like quite a departure. Seems to me, Apple copied a lot of existing designs into their new product. Natural evolution would have been to continue the iPod menu system, but they saw other designs and chose to integrate what the market was already going towards.


"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner














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