Who cares if Samsung copied Apple?

“The web has been alight these past few weeks with the details of the Apple v. Samsung lawsuit,” James Allworth writes for Harvard Business Review. “It’s been a unique opportunity to peer behind the curtain of how these two companies operate, as the trial seeks to answer the question: did Samsung copy Apple? But there’s actually another question that I think is much more interesting to the future of innovation in the technology industry: regardless of whether the courts say that Samsung copied Apple or not, would we all be better off if we allowed — even encouraged — companies to copy one another?”

“Given the underlying reason that Apple has been bringing these cases to court was to enable them to continue to innovate, it’s hard not to ask: if copying stops innovation, why didn’t Apple stop innovating last time they were copied [the Mac OS, by Microsoft]? Being copied didn’t stop or slow their ability to innovate at all,” Allworth writes. “If anything, it only seemed to accelerate it. Apple wasn’t able to rest on its laurels; to return to profitability, and to take the mantle they hold today of one of the technology industry’s largest companies, they had to innovate as fast as they could.”

MacDailyNews Take: Allworth’s “logic” fails to take into account the extraordinary Steve Jobs. The Steve-less Apple floundered nearly to death in the face of Microsoft’s contractual ability to rip-off Apple’s Mac innovations ad infinitum. Not until Steve Jobs returned did Apple begin to innovate again.

Allworth writes, “Now, if you’re with me so far, then I don’t think it’s a leap to suggest that having these companies duke it out in court over ‘who might have copied who’ is counterproductive. All these lawsuits flying around suggest that everyone is already copying each other, anyway.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No, we’re not with you. Because Apple’s not copying Samsung. And because we understand the very simple concept of design patents vs. standards-essential patents.

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

Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement

Here’s what Google’s Android looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

Google Android before and after Apple iPhone

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


    1. You mean that non-Apple product owners get better second-rate products than they would’ve had they not been knockoffs of Apple’s patented IP.

      Who cares? Apple Inc. and millions upon millions of AAPL shareholders. That’s who cares.

    2. Really? Microsoft copied Mac OS in producing Windows — and that’s a better product than Mac OS? Is Samsung’s iLookAlike better than that which they copied?

    3. If you think Samsung being forced to change design, which has already happened as a result of legal action, produced a “better” Samsung tablet, then your idea of “better” would be quite different from the market’s, if you look at the results.
      I may be, of course, falling prey to a ‘troll’ simply out for some fun in possible a boring day for him/her. In either case, I would assume you have never created and taken to market any project that suffers from being replicated.

      Making a very real commitment of my time, energy and financial resources to innovate has never been, in my experience, so others can copy it to ‘make things better.”

      1. +1

        Every time I hear someone argue that it is ok to rip off Someone else’s designs, I know I am hearing from someone with no creativity, no originality, no honor, no sense of FairPlay, and certainly no experience with having an original idea.

    4. Wrong!! You stupid ass.

      It’s not about “…getting better products.”

      It’s called getting a ‘knock-off’. A second-rate, cheap-assed, wanna-be, 3rd world product because some people are either too cheap, too stupid, or both to get the real thing.

      Umm, yeah. I like drinking this cold donkey-piss… tastes like real beer.

      Much in the same way that Microsoft users have behaved since the mid 80’s. “Oh… it’s just as good as a Mac”. No, it’s not, and it never has been. You’ve just been taught to believe that it has.

      You’re either delusional, or a troll. If the former, get professional help. If the latter, go back to your bridge.

    5. Why it Matters…

      because Apple was RIPED OFF before and with a VENGEANCE plotted to regain its innovating glory to NEVER be RIPPED OFF AGAIN.

      That is why Apple is where it is today; due to the return of Jobs and his view to innovate with perfectionism and to regain the Apple glory. Protection is of most importance.

  1. Most consumers won’t particularly care because the overriding factor is cheapness and a hate for Apple. I have friends who will not buy Apple because ‘the iPhone is too popular’, whatever that means. Some won’t buy Apple on the principle that they (the company) are seen as being too arrogant and their products are used by hipsters and poseurs.

    I’m not particularly bothered why the haters hate but they represent a substantial number of people, surprisingly enough. Not enough though to dethrone Apple as the king of the consumer hill but significant enough as not to care if Samsung copied Apple.

    1. You have some dumb@$$ friends. People buy iPhones (and other Apple products) because they are the best out there!

      If your friends (probably immature teenagers) don’t believe in Apple products because they supposedly signify a certain type of people or whatever had a lot to learn about technology.
      On top of that, if they are trying to be an “individual” or “against society” is a trend in itself so they are not different – POSERS!

      1. You are forgetting that the majority of people use Windows, and so in their minds all computing is hard, and similarly, smartphones are all the same — they don’t know that Samsung is better or worse than iPhone, they bought it based upon recommendations of sales people and/or friends. There are a lot of people who hate Apple and will give carefully guided biased opinions.

        I have aunts and uncles (far away) who are buying Samsung phones and liking Samsung on Facebook. They are anything but immature. They are value-conscious and BOGO offer matters. They see the whole imitator/copier/innovation dispute as immaterial.

        1. Yea and they will really love thoes Samsung cheap knockoffs when all of thoes features are taken away due to IP violation. And then the immaterial nature of purchasing cheap will really byte them in the ass.

          Save a Buck and you get what you deserve “JUNK”. And less features without updates.

          Really worth it , NOT.

  2. I’m thinking I ought to take that article, and put my name on it instead of Mr. Allworth’s name, and call it innovation!

    “I’m sorry Mr. Allworth, but there is no plagiarism any longer; it’s now called innovation!” Besides, the guy who stole your article is better looking than you are, and knows more powerful people, so why shouldn’t he get the benefit of the by-line?

  3. I care.

    Hard work, ingenuity and innovation are supposed to pay off in our capitalistic society. This is a question that ponders the very nature of the fabric of our culture and is one that everyone should care about.

    Forget the court cases, rhetoric and legal posturing. The simple matter at hand is whether a company should profit and be paid for the popularity of their product after pouring years of blood, sweat and cash into developing a game changing technology. Frankly, if there’s no incentive to do that, because every other company under the sun has the right to replicate and pilfer the profits of that work, then eventually there will be no Apple’s (or any other company) bothering to create something new and unique.

    I’m so tired of Google/Motorola/Samsung apologists cooking up reasons why it’s OK to copy Apple in the interest of competition. The simple fact of the matter is that before the iPhone came along, smart phones were by-and-large extremely limited and a pain in the rear to use. After the iPhone, every subsequent product has pretty much mimicked the overall design, look, feel and functionality of it. It’s disgraceful.

    1. “It’s disgraceful.”

      No. It’s progress. The bigger picture is Apple’s impact on the world.

      Cry me a river, if you want, but too much good has come from Apple’s “Hard work, ingenuity and innovation” to put the genie back in the bottle.

      Litigation is necessary to establish precedence and provenance. In the meantime, others can change the law if they like, but their reasoning will bring them to this case and others like it, if we are to preserve intellectual property rights.

  4. Steve Jobs is not that “extraordinary”. He is the guy who hired John Sculley and put Tim Cook in the CEO slot. Tim Cook is the guy who hired John Browett to head up Retail. So Steve Jobs is in reality a major screw up who just happened to get a couple of product ideas right. But what he did with Tim Cook and thus with Browett in just pure bozo incompetence. So, stop with the extraordinary stuff.

    1. Kent,

      Look at Apple: Sales numbers, profits, growth, customer loyalty, fearless innovation.

      Your opinion has no relevance to the above and therefore, Steve Jobs was extraordinary. He was human, was flawed but his accomplishments are amazing and unrivaled. Amazing.

      1. Kent Ramsay is not a troll. He follows MDN closely and as a result he knows that the big issues facing Apple are John Sculley still being allowed to live and breathe, and John Browett, who has run Apple Retail into the ground to the point where it is dragging Apple into the gutter.

        1. Now it appears you’re trying to back out of a baseless accusation about S. Jobs ( in which you appoint yourself more knowledgable then the market, Forbes, Fortune, endless others acknowledging his skills).
          By using John Sculley, history now, and Browett to gather “isn’t he a jerk” agreement, your attempt to cover a totally unfounded criticism appears a not very skilled effort to somehow save face. Samsung loves this kind of logic. Read transcripts of the trial.

            1. And what was that…

              Poor Bullshit is seen for what it is Kent.


              And Kent, your history is way off, snippets and half truths don’t make a complete picture Son.

            2. “snippets and half truths”? – you mean like goofy stories sourced by anonymous “tipsters”?

              The story is lame from beginning to end. MDN is pushing it because it needs something to whine about to generate hits during the lazy days of summer. Apple is becoming boring because it is just a well run company executing most of the time on all gears. If it such a real story then MDN should do the right thing and push for Tim Cook to be fired by the Board. The Board could pin it on “tipsters”.

  5. Authors, musicians, artist and engineers work to make things that are new and different. If they can’t monetize their work, how are they supposed to survive to make the next thing. Being inspired by others is great. Stealing will never be acceptable. the excuse that the patent system is a disaster is NOT good enough.

  6. I guess the craptastic stylings of populist anti-Apple hitwhores has infected the Harvard Business Review. Apple innovates because that’s what Apple does. An environment of rampant copying won’t deter them, but that doesn’t make it right.

    Regardless of the outcome, this will not hurt Apple. Who it will hurt are the thousands of small entrepreneurs who are thinking of doing something groundbreaking. The message that a wrist-slap for Samsung will send that group is “anything you do is up for grabs”. Even if these companies can “lawyer up” – and that’s a big if – why bother? Your IP is only worth the time-to-market advantage you have before some shameless copier rips off the thousands of hours of work that the courts won’t help you defend, so take the safe route and make something that is only marginally iterative of what came before it.

    Watch innovation slow to a crawl and then wonder why people aren’t pushing the envelope anymore.

  7. Idiot.

    He doesn’t care because he hasn’t had an innovative thought in his life, probably doesn’t know any innovative people either.

    Why don’t we all just go out and copy $20 bills and spend them?????

  8. Apple almost do not survive. Those of us that were with Apple back when MS stole windows remember the years and years of beleaguered Apple predictions that followed. Apple was the best then yet almost died while MS grew to the largest company in the world on the stolen product. It’s taken Apple almost 20 years to finally become the largest today.

  9. Venture capitalists ought to be screaming about the prospect of Samsung walking away with a “wrist slap” or — even worse — the equivalent of a free pass.

    It used to be that a good idea that got off the ground might become one of two things: 1) A company that takes off (such as Google) or 2) a company that is able to license its designs or be acquired, thereby rewarding the inventors and early investors.

    If there is no incentive for these startups because the big companies can just take what they want and say, “You can’t patent rectangles!” then the pace of innovation will slow down quite a lot.

    To me, it’s madness that Google/Samsung/HTC/and all the others might get away with this.

    I hope Apple has a few people in a room reverse engineering Google’s search methods because if this is allowed to stand then that should be the very first market Apple enters next.

    1. If Samsung wins, Samsung’s reverse engineered circuit diagrams and chips AND google’s search algorithms and cloud architecture should be posted as open source projects for all to learn, build on and earn money from.

  10. I created a product a few years ago, a medical alert system. It had a radio pendant for remote activation. But this was different. The pendant could receive as well as transmit, so the user could be notified that his emergency was being acted on. Last week I discovered that another company just a few miles from me has come out with a pendant for their home automation & security system, and it has the same capability. I can’t do anything about it since the pendant wasn’t patented, but just the same I feel like I’ve been robbed.

    Obviously I don’t think ideas should be a free-for-all.

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