As we noted earlier this week, Apple and Samsung are officially back in the court room this month to continue their seven years and running debate over iPhone design patents. In addition to the comments made by Apple’s VP of product marketing Greg Joswiak, today’s opening statements brought a few notable tidbits about the iPhone creation process and more…
Richard Howarth, senior director of Apple’s design team and one of the lead iPhone designers, kicked things off today with a pretty blanket statement, as noted by CNET. Howarth argued that Samsung “blatantly ripped off” the iPhone’s design. “They were trying to rip off part of the iconic nature and say, ‘We’re cool, too,’” he said.
Howarth continued and explained that Apple rejected “hundreds and hundreds” of iPhone prototypes during the initial design process – included rounded models, one with an octagonal bezel, and more:
One had an octagonal bezel, one was rounded only on the left and right edges, and one had a light-gray front. “It didn’t represent what we were trying to do, which was create something that felt friendly and understandable,” Howarth said. “It looked pretty big and square from the front. It felt bitty — just lots of bits.”
The ultimate design is one that felt like “something you could get your head around,” Howarth concluded.
This, Howarth argues, is what makes Apple’s design patents so valuable. “The phone is an idea. The whole thing is the phone..You can’t take just a part and say ‘Let’s protect just that’,” he said.
During cross-examination by Samsung’s lawyer, Joswiak admitted that Apple does study competitors’ phones, but never copies what they do:
“We do tear them apart to see what’s on the inside, but we don’t copy what they do. That’s the difference between doing what’s right and wrong.”
Meanwhile, Tony Blevins, VP of procurement at Apple, gave an emotional recount of that initial design process, and when Samsung unveiled its copycat devices, it hit the Apple team hard:
“A small group of us had worked tirelessly on this product for years. We worked late nights and weekends, we sacrificed family time, we missed birthdays. We filed for patents and tried to do things in the right way so we could enjoy the fruits of our labor,” he said. When the Samsung phones arrived, “It was every negative emotion you could imagine.”
Blevins also recounted Apple’s design philosophy, explaining that many companies use a “building-block philosophy,” which is the “exact opposite” of Apple. He remarked that he spent two and a half weeks in a factory just trying to make the vibration motor small enough to fit.
More on Apple v Samsung in 2018: