The verdict in Apple vs Samsung has brought the patent system sharply into focus.
Some argue the complexity of patent law is unworkable because, arguably, designers, engineers and techies need not only the requisite skills in their own areas of expertise, but also advanced skills at recognizing that a product does not infringe existing patents.
So, what does the verdict actually mean for creatives and designers, and does it matter?
A Monopoly Over Rectangles with Rounded Corners in Question
At this point it is worth looking at what the actual infringements are deemed to be. Samsung’s statement after the verdict ‘that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners’ was rather unfortunate.
Although, the court did find that Samsung had infringed a number of Apple’s patents, rounded corners was not one of them.
The infringements covered the software patents enabling ‘bounce back’, ‘pinch and zoom’ and ‘double tap to zoom’, and the design patents for the front face, the back and icon design.
It can be argued that some of these software patents could be seen as new standard forms in the industry, so why has Apple won a patent case based on some of these features?
Without going into the legal intricacies and without over-simplifying the issue, the key point in the verdict is the ‘willful copying’ of these aspects of Apple’s patents.
Apple Designer’s Choice of Sunflower for Icon Used Against Samsung
Mac Iconographer Susan Kare’s testimony in the witness stand illustrates this, pointing out that her sunflower design for the photograph icon was an Continue reading What Apple vs Samsung Means for Creatives and Designers: Imitation vs Inspiration in the Spotlight