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Thread: Apple's Former Icon Designer Finds "Substantial Similarities" in Samsung GUIs

  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Akshay Masand's Avatar
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    Default Apple's Former Icon Designer Finds "Substantial Similarities" in Samsung GUIs


    As the Apple vs. Samsung court case continues, graphic designer Susan Kare took the stand, stating that she saw “substantial similarities” between Samsung’s home screen icons and the Apple’s iPhone. Here, she seemed to echo the previous testimony from Apple expert witness Peter Bressler. According to The Wall Street Journal, Kare, a designer who has been credited with many of the original Mac’s icons including “happy Mac,” gave her testimony as an Apple expert witness at the trial, noting elements of Samsung’s UI infringing on the look of Apple’s iPhone home screen.

    When Kare made her comparisons, she studied home screen icons on 11 Samsung smartphones released after the original iPhone debuted in 2007, including the “Captivate” and “Galaxy S 4G.” Among the icons studied were Contacts, Notes, Photos and Settings, which were compared to the counterpart on Samsung devices. In addition, the grid-type layout of the iPhone’s home screen was also accused of bring infringed upon by Samsung’s designs. Here, it should be pointed out that Apple owns patents regarding the look and layout of icons in the iOS platform, as seen in the company’s D’305 patent, which was filed for in 2007 and granted in 2009. According to the testimony, the two companies’ iconography was similar enough that Kare herself became confused at one point and mistook a Samsung headset for an iPhone. She mentioned the following:

    I mistook one for the other. In addition to the analysis, I personally had the experience of being confused.
    Samsung countered this by presenting the icon design of the messaging app featured in Samsung’s “Fascinate” smartphone, an example which does not share the iPhone’s rounded-square imagery. When it came to the cross-examination, Kare agreed that the specific designs are not “substantially similar” to Apple’s assets, but noted the two shared the same metaphors. “It’s not 100% different” referring to the Settings icons, Apple’s take displays a set of three gears while Samsung’s presents one large gear. Kare pointed out that in her search for design alternatives, she found examples which “show you can do a design that doesn’t look confusingly similar,” referencing a UI solution from RIM.

    Samsung lawyer Charles Verhoeven argued that any customer would see the difference between an iPhone and one made by Samsung. To illustrate his point Verhoeven turned on three devices to show their respective boot sequences pointing out that that each smartphone displayed a company logo followed by a brief Droid animation, while Apple’s iPhone displayed the infamous Apple logo.

    After going back and forth several times, the timeframe for today’s case had ended with the Apple vs. Samsung trial set to continue on Friday with testimony from Apple expert witnesses. In the mean time, you can see some of the court documents proving the similarities in icons below:









    Source: The Wall Street Journal

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand

  2. #2
    Wow. Good job apple. Found one similarity finally. Good job. Try again and you'll fail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PokemonDesigner View Post
    Wow. Good job apple. Found one similarity finally. Good job. Try again and you'll fail.
    Android user... I myself see so many similarities, it's not even funny anymore, just ridiculous.

  4. #4
    they got them on the phone icon and the music icon, whoop dee doo, i fail to see how these similarities are impacting Apple's business model or their sales figures. If its that big of a deal then change the stupid icons no one gives a **** but Apple.

  5. #5
    You guys really need a separate forum for this ridiculousness. Just start an Apple lawsuit sub-forum where you can post this "news."

  6. #6
    Not defending either side here, but I've been an iphone user since the first one. When I picked up my friends S2, it was easy for me to figure out what I wanted to do without looking for it because the icons (in my eyes) were the same.

    Just stating my personal experience, not that it matters.
    Find it pretty funny in the end.

  7. #7
    Livin the iPhone Life steve-z17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xshey View Post
    Android user... I myself see so many similarities, it's not even funny anymore, just ridiculous.
    I agree. Obviously not all the icons are the same but this was only one section they were looking at, there's other things on Samsung devices that look like Apple's...it's just a matter of time now before Apple grabs the W.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by artbran View Post
    Not defending either side here, but I've been an iphone user since the first one. When I picked up my friends S2, it was easy for me to figure out what I wanted to do without looking for it because the icons (in my eyes) were the same.

    Just stating my personal experience, not that it matters.
    Find it pretty funny in the end.
    Is that a bad thing? I'm not so sure. There are other icons that have become standardized (I'm thinking of "play", "pause", "fast forward", etc.), and I'd argue that this is a good thing.

    The real question is whether Apple is losing sales due to confusion about products. I doubt that it is in any meaningful way, and if it is, I really don't think that it is due to similar icons.
    Quaerite et invenietis.

  9. #9
    Looking at these, the music icon is similar, but definitely different. They could probably get them on the phone icon, but the rest have no similarities that I can see.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Akshay Masand View Post
    In addition, the grid-type layout of the iPhone’s home screen was also accused of bring infringed upon by Samsung’s designs. Here, it should be pointed out that Apple owns patents regarding the look and layout of icons in the iOS platform, as seen in the company’s D’305 patent, which was filed for in 2007 and granted in 2009.
    A grid of icons. They are complaining about the fact that Android has a grid of icons. Do they have any idea just how absurdly common a grid layout of icons is and has been for over two decade? Just look no further than your desktop on your computer, and also open a file browser window (Finder, Explorer, etc) in Icon layout.

    each smartphone displayed a company logo followed by a brief Droid animation, while Apple’s iPhone displayed the infamous Apple logo.
    Also, Android doesn't go directly to a screen displaying all apps, that's a separate location that has to be manually accessed. Instead, there's a landing screen where widgets and commonly used apps can be placed.

    In the mean time, you can see some of the court documents proving the similarities in icons below:
    Ok, I agree the phone icons are similar, especially the fact that green tends to be commonly used; perhaps it actually comes from the convention in cellular phone makers over the year of using green for "send", in that long time cell phone users tend to go for the "green button" when they want to place a call and it seems this has just carried over to touch screen phones?

    As for the music icon, it's a musical note. Not exactly unique. The contacts icon is a depiction of an address book in either case, again, a generic depiction, as is using a notepad for a notes application. Also, I've seen numerous usages of one or more gear wheels used for settings/preferences/options menus and dialogs in all sorts of applications and systems, it's not something that began with iOS or OS X for that matter. Them problem with all these icons, save for maybe the phone icon, is that they are just incredibly generic depictions, that most likely could have found via google images for years before the iPhone debuted.

  11. #11
    i remember when apple sued microsoft over the use of a trash can icon ... and lost.

  12. #12
    I can also recall when practically ever E-mail application has an envelope as prominent part of it's icon. I honestly can't believe they are making a fuss over icons that contain a telephone receiver. And guess what, the angle and shape that Apple originally used and still uses is nearly identical to one I recall seeing on the cover of a phone book back around the early-mid 90's or so, side profile and angle, and white. Everything except the green background, which someone else stated might be a hold over from the green "send" buttons on pre-touchscreen phones used to place a call, which was always opposite of the red "end" button to, well, end a call, a color which Apple also uses for it's hang up button. So given the small bit of history, I can actually understand why Samsung might have used a green background for their phone button as well, albeit they could have used a different angle or so.

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