LG undecided about lawsuit against iPhone over similarities to LG’s Prada phone

“The iPhone of Apple Computer is allegedly a clone of a handset made by the Seoul-based LG Electronics, the world’s fifth-largest cell phone manufacturer,” Kim Tae-gyu reports for The Korea Times.

“…If LG sues Apple over patent infingement, it would be the second lawsuit against the iPhone after its long awaited release,” Tae-gyu reports. “As soon as Apple boss Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone last week, U.S. network company Cisco Systems filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming trademark rights on the iPhone [name].”

Tae-gyu reports, “LG Electronics also thinks the two gadgets are almost identical but the company seems undecided as to whether or not to cry foul against Apple through court action. ‘At first glance, we recognized the iPhone shares many form factors with the Prada phone. We are flattered that other makers follow our design policy,’ LG spokesman Lee Hyoung-kun said. ‘We can’t say at the moment whether or not we will file a lawsuit against Apple regarding this. It’s too early to make remarks on the issues,’ Lee said.”

“Experts predict that if the two phones share functionalities on top of looks, LG might file a complaint,” Tae-gyu reports. “LG has yet to reveal specifications of the Prada phone, which the firm looks to market soon. Yet, its exterior was shown to the public when it won the International Forum Design Product Design Award for 2007.”

Full article here.
LG spokesman Lee Hyoung-kun is correct that it’s too early to make remarks on the issues. One big question is how does the LG’s user interface work? Is the LG multi-touch or just “uni-touch?” An even bigger question would be who actually holds the patents that relate to each phone?

Apple’s iPhone user interface “is the result of years of research and development” and “boy, have we patented it.” – Apple CEO Steve Jobs, January 09, 2007

The Prada is a re-branded LG KE850 phone. A demo of the phone via YouTube (in French):

Apple Inc’s Phil Schiller shows CBS News’ John Blackstone some of the many features of the iPhone:

97 Comments

  1. Hmm…I have to imagine it’s going to be tough for LG to win this one, simply because the entire industry is probably going to move to handsets that look more or less like this–an iPod sized brick with a touchscreen. From that perspective, they’re all going to look more or less the same.

  2. I dont beleive the details in aethetics of the iPhone UI has been finalised yet. It was one thing that struck me as being not that great, I’m talking specifically about the icons as shown in the above pic. They just don’t seem that nice to me.
    I’m thinking the iPhone will be released with different icons, and this is just to stop people from copying it in the mean time.

  3. And how many phones has LG copies? I don’t think they invented the flip phone, probably didn’t invent voice mail, likely didn’t discover that a good location for the microphone was at the bottom of the phone, and I’m almost sure they don’t own the patent for a rectangular-shaped communications device.

    Sounds more like, “Hey, let’s threaten the iPhone with a lawsuit so our phone can get some free pub, too!”

  4. If the only similarity is the form factor and full screen I highly doubt there could be any kind of lawsuit. We already read that other phone manufacturer will have to go with full screen form factor but the patents are what is important here. LG does not have a patent on a device with such and such dimension and a full screen: you can’t patent those things and we all know how many so-called iPod killers try to use similar form factor as well: Apple cannot sue them for this.

  5. By all appearances, the two phones share a similar box-like design, but I’m thinking that’s where the similarities end. The Prada phone looks very basic, and like it’s seriously lacking in functionality compared to the iPhone. The interfaces don’t even look similar, based on what I see. Sorry LG … you lose this one.

    P.S. – Magic Word – “Take” as in, “Don’t take me for a fool!”

  6. I can’t decide if MDN types blind-folded or they just rush these out the door as soon as possible… Parda?

    I never thought there was another phone on a market as similar. Never heard of LC’s phone. Need a demo.

  7. Sue Apple just like Apple sued companies that made MP3 players that looked like the ipod.

    Please name one lawsuit based on “they have the same/similar dimension of an iPod” or “they have a screen on the top as our iPod” or “they are white as an iPod”.

  8. According to the documentation on the IF website, The International Forum Design Product Design Award for 2007, the official award ceremony is on March 15th 2007.

    Am I misunderstanding something?

    Also even if it was shown to the public as they state (likely when entered) the development of the iPhone would have already been well underway.

  9. “LG has yet to reveal specifications of the Prada phone, which the firm looks to market soon. Yet, its exterior was shown to the public when it won the International Forum Design Product Design Award for 2007.”

    Huh? They haven’t revealed the specifications, but Apple copied them? How could they copy something they’ve never seen? And how did they win an award for best design of 2007 when it’s only January 16? Weird world we live in.

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