On Samsung and stealing

Tue, Aug 14, 2012

Legal, News

It’s a common thread of conversation these days, in the context of Apple’s litigation with Samsung, to claim that Apple is abusing the patent system. Or as a Samsung attorney seemed to imply, that Apple is trying to patent rounded rectangles.

To that end, it’s really hard to not see the overt infringement committed by Samsung – in our humble opinion. And sure, you can look at each one of Apple’s claims in isolation and construct an argument that Apple is being petty and their case has no merit, but what one really has to do is look at all of the alleged infringing claims together. A phone is a final product, an amalgamation of a number of features, and that’s how claims of infringement should be analyzed.

That said, Jim Darlymple over at The Loop has an apropos analogy wherein he compares Samsung’s infringement to copyright infringement in music.

If there’s a hit song on iTunes right now, is it okay if I learn how to play that song, copy down the lyrics and release the exact same song? Everyone would say no, that’s not okay. Even the most ardent Samsung supports would be aghast if they heard their favorite song copied and re-released.

But why? A song is just a collection of notes and words. What’s stopping me from taking those same notes and words and releasing a song? After all, musical notes and words are free for anyone to use, so copying that song and making a lot of money from should be just fine.

Except it’s not. What you would be copying is the way those notes and words were put together to create a song.

The iPhone and iPad are Apple’s songs. In fact, it could be said that Apple even created a few new instruments along the way.

Samsung didn’t just copy rectangles from Apple. They copied years of research in how to put together a hardware and software design that is new and fresh. It wasn’t done before and people loved it.

Using the music analogy, Apple had two blockbuster hit songs and Samsung stole them, note for note. That’s not right.




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