Patent Wars: Apple, Samsung, Google, Dyson, Hoover and… Mitsubishi?

This short post a month ago by “Cult Of Mac“‘s John Brownlee had my mouth hanging agape. It’s pretty short so I’m just going to go ahead and re-post it here, although I do thoroughly encourage readers (especially fans of Apple) to check out their site for all sorts of amazingly biased Apple news and anti-Samsung opinion posts.

Samsung’s a company of shameless copycats. They’ve ripped off the iPhone. They’ve ripped off the Mac mini. They’ve ripped off  the iPhone 3G. They’ve ripped off the iPad Smart Cover. Heck, they’ve even ripped off Apple’s commercial actresses.

So it’s kind of nice to see Samsung ripping off someone else for a change. That all said, this is beyond parody: Samsung is now looking to create its own social network, and their top-super-secret codename for the endeavor? “SAMSUNG FACEBOOK.” You can’t make this stuff up.

via Slashgear.com:

Image Credit: Slashgear / CultOfMac -- Taken from the Samsung Focus Review, showing their Facebook App Feed

Image Credit: Slashgear / CultOfMac — Taken from the Samsung Focus Review, showing their Facebook App Feed

Samsung is reportedly looking into creating its own social network to tie in with existing devices and services. The new social network, code named “Samsung Facebook”, is said to be an eventual competitor to Facebook that would be accessible on smartphones, cameras, and televisions. The company is interested in further social features after the success of its ChatOn messaging platform, available on multiple smartphone operating systems.”

A couple of thoughts:

1) Isn’t the entire point of a codename to obscure the project you’re working on from spies and outsiders? Way to go, geniuses: no one will see past this subtle and devious subterfuge.

2) Anyone want to bet on whether or not Samsung’s codename for the Galaxy S was “SAMSUNG IPHONE?”

SOURCE: Slashgear and CultOfMac.com | Samsung gets distracted from Shamelessly Copying Apple, Shamelessly Copies Facebook Instead | John Brownlee

Personally, I’m currently a Samsung Galaxy S2 owner, having defected over a year ago from the Apple iPhone 3GS. New to the strangely open world of Google Android, within ten days I was telling people I love the new phone’s operating system so much I don’t think I could ever go back to the closed, locked-down Apple iOS way of doing things. The customisation levels and personalisation levels, not to mention the ease of syncing everything with Google (well before iCloud came along) was the nail in the coffin for the current generation of iOS.

However, I’m not living in a fantasy world… To me, it’s blatantly obvious where Samsung and Google have copied the concept, design, UI, shape, buttons, features, home screen and presentation/advertising of Apple’s products.

It seems European Union and United States courts are inclined to agree.

As reported by TheGuardian.co.uk,

An American judge has banned the sale of Samsung‘s new Galaxy Nexus mobile phone in the United States after Apple claimed it copied some of the technology used in its iPhone.

A judge had previously banned the sale of Samsung’s tablet computer. Both bans will continue until the matter is considered in court.

By the time the matter is actually resolved, it will well and truly be too late for the Galaxy Nexus to regain traction. So has Apple already won this particular battle? Well, not completely.

As a condition of the injunction, Apple was ordered to post a bond of more than $95m (£60m), to cover damages sustained by Samsung should the injunction be later deemed a wrongful decision.

Source: Samsung Galaxy Nexus Banned In The US | TheGuardian.co.uk

Are you one of the eager would-be Galaxy Nexus owners residing in the US, angered by this action? If so, I’d be interested to hear your comment below.

Is this device really too similar to somebody else’s design?

Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Too similar to the iPhone to be sold in the US

But as reported by Smarthouse.com.auApple isn’t the only company taking patent jabs at its Korean rivals. Bagless vacuum-maker Dyson Ltd. is taking LG Electronics to court for patent infringing that it says has been damaging its business.

Dyson has also been historically in a patent war with rival Hoover.

In 1979 ,James Dyson of Dyson LTD invented the first portable, household cyclonic vacuum cleaner, sold it for twice the price of other vacuum cleaners and made an absolute fortune as it became the most popular cleaner in the UK. (Source: Wikipedia)

In 1999, US company Hoover was found guilty of patent infringement. Ten years on, in July 2010 Dyson finally lost a legal action against [Hoover’s] Vax in the High Court. The ruling rejected Dyson’s claim that the Vax Mach Zen had infringed one of its registered designs. However, although it lost this case in England (and the subsequent appeal in 2011) it won a similar case against Vax’s sister company, Dirt Devil, in France. (Source: Wikipedia)

Like Samsung vs. Apple, is this product too similar in look-and-feel and function to somebody else’s design?

The Hoover Mach Zen Whisper

The Hoover Mach Zen Whisper

The Dyson DC11 (Image Source: http://media.dexigner.com/article/16926/Dyson_DC11_Telescope_Swan.jpg)

The Dyson DC11 (Image Source: http://media.dexigner.com)

Pretty darn similar, methinks. I think it’s really very lazy to copy a product to THAT level of similarity. It’s basically telling consumers that “we know you want to have the top brand, so instead of releasing a competing product of our own that has our own product design, we’ll release one that’s so identical, your friends won’t know it’s not the original.”

Now to be honest, I used to think “poor Apple, poor Dyson. The two true innovators, who always get their ideas stolen.”

Then of course we discovered that Apple, it seems, were just as good at playing dirty and “stealing” intellectual property (see claims in: Apple Steal Ideas Too: Originality is in the eye of the Goliaths | Intentious), and we find out that the hailed Dyson Airblade (pictured below), credited with re-inventing the hand dryer itself, is a complete rip-off of the Mitsubishi Jet Towel!

Image: Engadget, "The Dyson Airblade: Not All That Original" 2006

“We just “caught wind” of another such dryer from Mitsubishi — called the Jet Towel — and not only does it offer similar guarantees of speedy drying and improved hygiene, it’s actually shaped almost exactly like the Dyson model. Now there’s nothing wrong with releasing a competing product onto the market — hey, that’s what capitalism is all about — but we’ve got to take issue with Dyson’s press release that states “The hand dryer: dirty, ineffective and expensive to run…so we reinvented it.” Um, no you didn’t — you just took an existing dryer, added an iodine resin filter, and snazzed up the design” –Engadget, “The Dyson Airblade: Not All That Original”, 2006

And don’t even get me started on Microsoft vs. Apple.

This all leads to a few key questions.

If you invested millions of your own personal blood sweat and tears into innovation only to have it completely copied a short year later, wouldn’t you be miffed and try and protect it?

Is it any different to copying large slabs of a best-selling book and passing it off as your own?

Or is it fair game?

Does such infringement deserve aggressive lawsuits, despite “better competition” in the market? I choose the word “better” over “healthy” because this copy-cat practice of companies borders on inethical so closely, we have courts incapable of ruling and years of deliberation and appeals.

Whether you’re for or against companies both home-grown and abroad mooching off the successful innovation of others, it’s pretty clear that a large number of industries are awaiting the Apple vs Google/Samsung case with bated breath.

The outcome of this patent war has the power to send ripple-effect lawsuits throughout other industries. Whitegoods manufacturers will be at each other’s throats more than ever before. Car designs will be brought into question. Hybrid motors aggressively defended. Watch mechanisms. Image processing in cameras. Monitors and televisions. The list is endless.

Is this war, therefore, out of control? Is it up to the courts to reign this in before they open up a can of precedent worms? Or does this come down to whichever company can hire the better law firm?

Have your say below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Business, Science, Technology

Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

Subscribe to Intentious

Be notified by email whenever new pieces are posted by the blogging team tackling controversial current events or issues.

2 Comments on “Patent Wars: Apple, Samsung, Google, Dyson, Hoover and… Mitsubishi?”

  1. Jimbo
    July 3, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Is the Samsung really any more similar to an iPhone than any other smartphone? It runs on Android for a start that couldn’t be any more different to iOS. This smells of legalised industrial espionage to me. Considering the iPad I’m writing this on is 50% Samsung components I would have thought they would benefit more in collaboration rather than legal brawling.

  2. Sam
    July 4, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    I just saw an advertisement for the new blackberry thought blackberry was finished?

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: