Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

Summary:Apple's "suggestions" to Samsung on how to avoid infringing its iPhone and iPad intellectual property design claims show just how idiotic its over-reaching claims really are.

Apple and Dunder Mifflin-Sabre agree that the pyramid makes a fine, legal tablet design.

Apple and Dunder Mifflin-Sabre agree that the pyramid makes a fine, legal tablet design.

I've been poking fun at Apple's intellectual property design claims for some time now. Then, I got a look at Apple's “suggestions” on how Samsung could avoid Apple's legal wrath and I realized I hadn't even scratched the surface of how absurd Apple's claims are.

In a recently revealed Apple court document (PDF) we see an Apple-paid expert witness explaining why Apple's designs should be protected under intellectual property law and how Samsung could have avoided Apple's unique design decisions.

On the iPhone side, these include:

    Front surface that isn't black. Overall shape that isn't rectangular, or doesn't have rounded corners. Display screens that aren't centered on the front face and have substantial lateral borders. Non-horizontal speaker slots. Front surfaces with substantial adornment. No front bezel.

For the iPad, Apple's expert presented a nearly identical list of other possible designs:

    Overall shape that isn't rectangular, or doesn't have rounded corners. Thick frames rather than a thin rim around the front surface. Front surface that isn't entirely flat. Profiles that aren't thin.

To all of these suggestions, I can only say, “Seriously?” Black? No smartphones except iPhones can have black on their fronts!? Only iPads can have thin rims? ” But, the one that really got my attention was that crack about the overall shape of both smartphones and tablets not needing to be rectangular.

Apple iPad design - it’s been done before (images)

I guess Apple has a point. After all, that great design genius of The Office, Dwight Schrute, came up with Dunder Mifflin-Sabre’s new tablet, The Pyramid. So why can't other tablet design ideas work? Like say the circle! The square!

To anyone with two functioning brain cells and opposable thumbs, it's clear that a rectangle is the best and obvious shape for a phone or a tablet. It would be funny if this was just a joke on The Office. It's not. This is exactly the kind of design idiocy that Apple is using to keep rival smartphones and tablets off the market in its worldwide attack on Samsung. Software patent laws were bad enough. Now simple, common design elements are being used as bludgeons in the 21st century intellectual property legal wars. I'm beginning to seriously wonder how any non-multi-billion dollar companies will be able to get any product out on the market in the years to come.

If Apple has its way, not only oranges, but any fruit-shaped or fruit-colored objects would be kept from competing with apples.

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Topics: Laptops, Apple, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Legal, Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones, Tablets

About

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, aka sjvn, has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was the cutting edge, PC operating system; 300bps was a fast Internet connection; WordStar was the state of the art word processor; and we liked it.His work has been published in everything from highly technical publications... Full Bio

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