apple_patent_generic (1)

At this point, it’s been pretty well established that Samsung is going to have to make some changes to their devices if they want to avoid any more legal trouble from Apple. But just what kind of changes can they make? They’ve already altered the appearance of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the wrath of Apple’s legal team. Thankfully, Apple has been ever-so-kind as to offer a list of what Samsung can do to make their devices more unique.

When it comes to phones, Samsung could make the following changes:

  • 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 at all.

And as for tablets:

  • 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.
  • Cluttered appearance.

At this point, you may be thinking, “Hey, this covers just about every other smartphone and tablet released in the last four years!” And you’d be right. According to this list, Samsung would have to make their tablets thicker, clutter their UI, do away with rectangles and lose flat surfaces. Smartphones should no longer be black (will Apple try to call dibs on white phones too?), Samsung has to do away with any bezels (so they can be picked on for copying the iPhone 4?), horizontal speaker grills are not allowed and, again, rectangles are no-nos.

Apple doesn’t necessarily expect Samsung to comply to every option listed, but we already know by their actions to block sales of the modified Tab 10.1N that just one change isn’t going to be enough. Hopefully, the legal system will step in here and lay down the law on what is an acceptable level of change. If even half of either list provided is expected of any manufacturer, you can kiss Android as we know it goodbye.

« »