“The case of Apple v. Samsung shows no sign of abating,” Paul M. Barrett reports for Businessweek. “Apple returned in February to the federal courthouse in San Jose to sue Samsung again, claiming the Korean manufacturer ‘slavishly copied’ Apple. An unrelenting recidivist, in Apple’s portrayal, Samsung has ‘continued to flood the market with copycat products, including at least 18 new infringing products released over the last eight months.'”

“The battle also signals a broader conflict pitting Apple against multiple mobile-device manufacturers in some three dozen legal and regulatory actions pending in 10 countries,” Barrett reports. “Beyond Samsung, Apple’s notable antagonists include Motorola Mobility and HTC. As Silicon Valley sophisticates underscore, however, the phone and tablet makers are mere proxies for another foe—Android, the operating system Google gives away to manufacturers. Google employs a come-one, come-all business model radically at odds with Apple’s and, in the late Steve Jobs’s view, existentially threatening to his company.”

Barrett reports, “In the last 18 months of his life, Jobs, who died on Oct. 5 at age 56, was obsessed with crushing Android. He explained to his authorized biographer, Walter Isaacson, that the litigation against device manufacturers was meant to communicate an unmistakable message: ‘Google, you f–king ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off. Grand theft.’ Jobs swore he would ‘spend my last dying breath’ and ‘every penny’ in Apple’s coffers ‘to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.'”

Much more in the extensive full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In the full article, Barrett reports: Several Asian manufacturers were noodling around with similar-looking rectangular smartphones before the iPhone came to market. Tipping its hat to a fellow Korean manufacturer, Samsung notes that in 2006, nearly a year before the iPhone appeared, LG Electronics (066570) announced the round-cornered LG Chocolate, with ‘virtually all of the [external] [design] features Apple claims’ to have patented.

Regarding “prior art,” “trade dress,” and patented software UI design and features: The world is not copying the LG Chocolate. The world is copying the iPhone, outside and inside, because Apple has invested considerable treasure in R&D, marketing, manufacturing, retailing, etc. Copying the iPhone in order to peddle it to the world’s ignoranti is theft. The copycats are riding for free on Apple’s considerable innovation and investment.

If courts rule that Samsung, for example, is free to copy the look of the iPhone because of “prior art,” then the courts are wrong. It’s not that the rectangle with rounded corners existed before Steve Jobs pulled the first iPhone from his pocket, it’s that Apple made the rectangle with rounded corners immensely valuable. Likewise for the iOS elements and features that Android has shamelessly stolen. Nobody is ripping off the LG Chocolate’s look or feel. They are ripping off the iPhone in order to sell their own wares. That is theft. Makers of pretend iPhones, iPads, and pretend iOSes are stealing from Apple.

In this case, it’s quite appropriate to ask “What would Steve Jobs do?” Would Steve Jobs slavishly copy another company’s successful products in order to move as many units as he could? No, he wouldn’t. Because Steve Jobs took pride in his work.

Apple’s products came first, then Samsung’s:

Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward Weber” for the heads up.]

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Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product; I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this’ – October 20, 2011