As with their other design claims around the world, it basically comes down to the argument that generic and functional are actually unique and purely aesthetic. The document is a redacted version of a declaration from industrial designer Cooper C Woodring in which he makes a number of astonishing claims about what Samsung should do to avoid infringing on Apple's intellectual property.
Even as he argues that the design elements of both iDevices are purely aesthetic, he suggests changes for Samsung which would make their phones and tablets decidedly less functional.
Let's look at a few of them. First, he argues, Samsung could make the area around the display raised, rather than flush with the display. Of course that ignores the fact that it would make it nearly impossible to swipe all the way to the edge of the display.
He also says they could make the devices less rectangular. In fact it's arguable the shape of the iPhone, which is significantly wider than the display, is purely functional because the extra length is needed to make it usable as a phone.
At the same time, the design of Samsung phones is equally functional. Since their displays are significantly wider (in landscape mode) than the iPhone, expanding the chassis in the same way would make them too big. And, of course, it would provide a different feature for Apple to claim was too close to the iPhone.
For tablets this claim simply falls flat. Samsung tablets are so different in shape from the iPad, Apple decided to alter a picture of one in a European filing to make them look more similar.
He also suggests the display does not need to be centered on phone, and perhaps for the iPhone with its smaller display, that's true. For Samsung phones that would once again make them less functional. No surprise Apple would be arguing in favor of that.
Woodring also says Samsung could make the display itself less rectangular. But that suggests Samsung's displays have essentially the same aspect ratio as Apple's. In fact that's not true at all. Samsung displays are significantly wider (in landscape mode) than Apple's, both for phones and tablets. If narrower displays are different enough, why aren't wider displays?
The answer seems pretty clear. Wider displays make their phones more desirable, while narrower displays would make them significantly less useful in nearly every conceivable way.
There are other suggestions, which you can read for yourself in the filing below. While Woodring claims the Apple design elements are not designed for functionality, the changes he claims would be required to avoid infringing would almost all make Samsung phones less functional.
Maybe Samsung's best defense against these claims would be to create a prototype implementing his suggestions to show just how ridiculous they really are.
Written by: Rich Fiscus @ 6 Dec 2011 16:22