Originally Posted by d-range
In the Ford/GM example, neither of these two companies introduced, invented or popularized the mid-size family saloon, or added anything substantial to mid-size family saloons that didn't already exist. They were both already in the business of making cars, there has always been a demand for mid-size saloons, so they both came up with a car that fit that segment, and apparently one of them ripped off the others design.
Ford did invent method of cars mass production. I don't think they could have patented that, otherwise for couple of decades everyone else would have to settle down for hand-made low volume super-cars.
With the iPad and iPhone, Apple launched products that were a complete departure from everything that came before it, taking a few very bold decisions that many, many people have laughed at and ridiculed, but eventually turned out to be the big selling points of iOS devices. Apple took all these design and product decisions on their own accord, they developed their own software, and basically innovated almost everything about iOS devices themselves (note: 'innovate' is not the same as 'invent'). Seeing the succes of iOS devices, Samsung simply decided to imitate everything about them, going after the exact same customers using the exact same hardware running software that looks almost exactly the same (touchwiz, kies), advertising it as direct competitor to iOS products (except 'better'), and so on.
I don't really agree with you here. I still think that, from GUI point of view, my iPhone is not that much different from my old Palm Tungsten; matrix of icons on colour touch screen. And there was Palm Desktop software for syncing addresses, calendar, ToDo... and transferring media between PC and PDA.
Apple refined all that nicely with iOS and (to lesser degree, arguably) iTunes, but I personnally don't see that as new invention.
I think this whole Apple vs Samsung war is about all of this, not just about how much the iPad looks like a Galaxy Tab. If that were true, Apple would be suing the manufacturers of about every tablet on the market, because they all look the same. They sued Samsung, because Samsung is trying to get a free ride on Apples success using products that you could almost call KIRFs with a big-brand name on them.
That is fine, except that German court didn't remark on packing and advertising and... but on basic minimalistic design of a product. The thing for me here is, tablets are designed around software they run on, and if software is designed for touch screen display, it is really nonsense to put buttons on device just to differentiate it, even if Android hasn't got need for such buttons. In case of tablets, buttons are of soft type (rather than physical) and Android 3.x does have different screen layout from iOS, thus it does differ when it comes to buttons as well.
I can see reason for Apple's complains re Samsung phones and their GUI overlay that does look like iOS, but tablet related Android is a different beast than iOS, for better or worse, and I cannot support Apple's claims on that behalf. Anyone holding (switched on) iPad and Android tablet for at least 30 seconds could never really confuse them.