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Samsung's Galaxy S smartphone (left): Apple has accused Samsung of copying the "look and feel" of its iPhone (right) in the Galaxy's design. Ahn Young-joon/AP

Apple sues Samsung over iPhone design 'plagiarism'

Apple claims the design of Samsung’s Galaxy phones and tablet infringe patents and trademarks of their own designs.

APPLE HAS FILED legal action against Samsung, claiming that the design of the latter’s Galaxy smartphones and tablet computers infringe the trademarked design of its iPhone and iPad.

In a complaint filed in a court in California, Apple said Samsung’s devices infringed a number of patents taken out by Apple – including the pinch-to-zoom feature popularised by the iPhone – while also arguing that Samsung’s products deliberately imitated the “look and feel of its own”.

“Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products,” the Wall Street Journal quoted the filings as saying.

PC World added that Apple had furnished the court with side-by-side photographs of the Samsung products sat beside their own – drawing attention to the colourful layout of icons, the rounded corners, and same dark colouring.

Ironically, Samsung provides some of the microchips used in the iPad – some of which are also used in the Samsung devices.

Tensions between the two companies had been strained already, however, with Apple chief executive Steve Jobs naming Samsung among the company’s competitors in what he dubbed the “year of copycats” – a comment he made while launching the iPad 2 last month.

An Apple spokesman told Bloomberg that it was “no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging”.

“This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

A spokesman for Samsung responded by saying that the firm’s own intellectual property was key to its “continued success” and said the Korean manufacturer would “respond actively to this legal action”.

If the case is successful, Apple could be set for a collision course with Google, whose Android mobile operating system is used on the Samsung devices – as well as on those of a growing number of other smartphone manufacturers.

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