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Posted : 2012-09-05 16:41
Updated :  

Copycatting ― Apple style

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US firm’s internal memo indicates iPhone imitated Samsung, LG products

By Kim Yoo-chul

Apple sued Samsung Electronics for copying its iPhone and a U.S. jury made a “patriotic” ruling ordering the Korean firm to pay $1.05 billion in damages.

Now, what appears to be an internal memo from Apple appears to show it was the other way around — the U.S. firm copying designs from Samsung and LG Electronics.

The San Jose verdict was made without key evidence being shown to the nine-member jury.

The evidence, rejected by the judge for its late introduction, concerned Samsung’s F700 smartphone and LG’s Prada-branded phone, both cited in the Apple memo in question.

It remains to be seen how this latest revelation will affect a court in the Netherlands and a ruling by U.S. Judge Lucy Koh on the San Jose verdict.

The “3GSM Congress Trade Show Report” was written just after the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in 2006 by Apple’s marketing executives; a copy of which was obtained by The Korea Times.

Apple’s first iPhone was introduced in June 2007, after the F700 had been released on the market.

The MWC, the premier smartphone show, is held in the Spanish city of Barcelona and the 2006 congress drew a lot of attention.

Apple never attends conventions, however, that year it showed up as everybody was talking about the iPhone.

Its internal report is very descriptive and compares the specifications of its first iPhone — thickness and length to screen size — with its competitors including LG’s Prada.

Also the document includes the release dates for South Korean companies’ mobile phones.

“Apple benchmarked the surface designs of Samsung and LG phones for its first iPhone,” said an industry source.

Samsung submitted the internal Apple document to the trial in California and it was accepted by Judge Koh; but the nine jurors apparently paid little heed to it.

“The Apple document could be crucial evidence that Samsung didn’t copy the iPhone in an appeals court or even the upcoming ruling by Judge Koh,” said another source.

However, according to Florian Mueller, a German-based intellectual property expert, it’s highly-unlikely that Koh will overturn the verdict of the jury, though some adjustments are possible.

As the jurors said some of Samsung smartphones including the Galaxy S, Galaxy S 4G, Showcase and Vibrant diluted “trade dress,” the document could take on more relevance, he said.

Trade dress is the design and appearance of a product together with the elements making up the overall image that serves to identify the product presented to the consumer.

Apple alleges that Samsung intentionally confused customers, “diluting” the former’s brand and connection to consumers.

“The latest document shows Apple’s first iPhone was somewhat influenced by Samsung and LG smartphones. Apple also blocked Samsung’s request to bring a former designer Shin Nishibori to testify. Some evidence is emerging Apple also copied from others,” said the source.

Nishibori had earlier said the iPhone was influenced by a Sony design.

In other news, Samsung had a 43.6 percent share in the Western European smartphone market in the second quarter of the year, followed by Apple with 19 percent, according to data from market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC).

Samsung sold 12 million phones, while Apple sold 5.2 million, IDC said. A year ago, Samsung’s share was 22 percent, while Apple had 21.1 percent.

Another court ruling in the Netherlands is set for Sept. 7. Samsung has higher hopes of a win at the Hague court as rulings related to design patents are shared by other European countries.

In the United Kingdom, Apple was ordered to publish statements in major newspapers there admitting that Samsung didn’t copy Apple.
관련 한글 기사

`애플도 삼성 베꼈다’

애플도 아이폰 개발 과정에서 삼성전자와 LG전자의 휴대폰 디자인을 참고했다는 증거가 나왔다.

캘리포니아 평결을 완벽히 뒤바꿀 정도로 파괴력이 있어 보이진 않지만 삼성전자는 항소 및 배상 금액에서 유리한 고지를 선점할 수 있게 됐다.

5일 관련 업계에 따르면 애플이 2007년2월에 작성한 `3GSM 무역전시회 보고서(3GSM Congress Trade Show Report)’라는 내부 문서에는 아이폰과 삼성전자 ‘F700(울트라스마트)’, LG전자 ‘프라다폰’ 등을 비교한 도면이 매우 상세히 실려 있다.

이 문서는 지난 2007년 2월12일부터 나흘간 스페인 바르셀로나에서 열린 ‘3GSM 월드 콩그레스’ 전시회 관련 자료를 한데 묶은 것. 당시 이 문서는 업계의 큰 관심을 끌었다. 2007년에 아이폰이 출시된다는 소식에 통신전문전시회인 MWC에서 애플이 아이폰과 관련한 사항들을 고객사들에게 설명했기 때문.

신비주의를 고수하는 애플은 연례적으로 열리는 소비가전전시회 (CES)나 IFA, MWC에 제품을 출시하지 않고 애플 내부 행사를 통해 신제품을 발표한다.

애플은 당시 행사에 나온 모바일 기기들의 동향이나 주요 특징을 보고서 형식으로 정리했다. 애플의 첫번째 아이폰은 같은 해 6월에 출시됐고 삼성전자의 F700과 LG전자의 프라다폰은 이 보다 몇 개월 빠른 시점에 출시됐다.

문서에는 삼성과 LG를 비롯해 노키아, 모토로라, 소니에릭슨, HTC, 리서치 인 모션(RIM)등 7개 주요 휴대폰 제조사들의 30여개 제품 사양이 열거됐다. 이 가운데 한국 제품들을 비교적 자세히 분석해 관심을 모은다. 문서에는 삼성전자의 ‘울트라 스마트 F700’ 및 LG전자 프라다폰(KE850)이 각각 애플 아이폰 제품 사진과 함께 나란히 실려 있다.

애플은 이들 각 제품의 정면 및 측면과 함께 가로ㆍ세로 길이와 두께, 화면의 크기 등을 아이폰과 비교했다.

특히 애플은 삼성전자 F700의 기능과 구체적인 사양, 출시 시점 등을 자세히 실었다. F700은 아이폰 이전에도 ‘모서리가 둥근 사각형 디자인’이 적용된 제품이 등장했다는 증거로 거론됐으나 미국 소송에서는 증거로 채택되지 않아 유명세를 탄 제품.

삼성전자는 미국에서 열린 애플과의 특허 침해 소송전에서 애플 측의 해당 문서를 법원에 제시해 증거로 채택됐지만 배심원 평결 등에서는 중요한 증거로 고려되지 못한 것으로 알려졌다.

삼성전자 측은 공식적인 대응을 자제하고 있다.

그러나 사정에 밝은 한 삼성 소식통은 ``미국에서 항소할 경우 애플 전 디자이너였던 신 니시보리 (Shin Nishibori)를 재판대에 세우고 아이폰 개발 과정에서 삼성전자의 제품을 참고했다는 증거를 판사에게 제시해 법률적 판단으로 배심원 평결이 잘못됐다는 것을 입증할 것’’이라고 말했다.


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