Some tech writers do not get it.......
So I was reading Engadget's take on the Apple/Samsung legal battle this morning (read the Verge's Friday night) and I was just irritated when I read Darren Murph's thoughts on the suit. He said "But let's be honest: the notion that consumers could have been willfully deceived that an Android-based Samsung phone was an iPhone is pathetic. There's a giant "Samsung" logo on it. It's about as absurd as suggesting that someone could be duped into buying a Honda Odyssey instead of a Dodge Grand Caravan. They're both minivans after all, right?"
Obviously Mr. Murph does not have anyone who is a bit naive, or not completely up to speed on tech, and that must make his life so much easier, but the fact remains there are and were a lot of people out there who do not know the difference between some of those Samsung devices and the iPhone. Its not that people cannot read "Samsung" on the back of the phone, it is they think Samsung has their own version of an iPhone. I sit with relatives watching TV, or walk through a mall and they go "hey, there's an iPad" and I have to tell them no, that is a Samsung Tablet. I think many people have also heard the "so Samsung makes an iPhone too" when going past a display.
I think Apple went after Samsung because the Korean company so deliberately aped the iPhone in an attempt to make everyone think all smartphones were the same it did dilute Apple's brand. I think nothing is probably more telling than the phone button on the Samsung device - its not just that they used a receiver, which is a pretty universal identifier of a phone, but that that they used the same color for the background, a similar gradient on the button itself. Why not red, or blue?
Getting back to Mr. Murph's argument, Honda would definitely go after a lesser make if they built a near visual replica of the Odyssey, as has been done with knock off Jeeps in China.
It will be much more difficult to go after Motorola because the Droids (and their non-Verizon dopplegangers) have a look different than the iPhone. Then the argument will come down to some functionality.
Its hard to find analogies for this, but the two Copyright/Patent cases that come to mind are the Kodak/Polaroid instamatic case of the early 1980s, and the Associated Press case during World War I, the latter case which could also play a role on internet news. In the Kodak/Polaroid case, Kodak released an instant photo camera, something Polaroid revolutionized and continue to evolve. While instant photos may seem like a natural progression of photography, Polaroid did build the market and brought something to market that never existed before. The courts decided to pay off the pioneer, and ban the Kodak camera. In the other case, the court ruled against an AP competitor who basically took the news AP reported on and repackaged it, actually beating the AP reports on the west coast because of the telegraph lines they used.