When you look at this image, you would imagine Braun & Dieter Rams would go crazy and sue Apple for design infringement and copying, much in the same way Samsung was taken to the cleaners by Apple.
When asked about the Apple “imitation” by Jonny Ive, Dieter Rams said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Perhaps the sands of time allow for derivative designs to be flattering rather than stealing. Apple’s iPod hardly infringes on Dieter Rams’ shaver design given the products don’t compete, both in terms of function as well as the time they were released. Perhaps it’s the fact that Rams & Ive are both respected in their field, while Samsung simply don’t have an equivalent. If Samsung had an industrial designer of that importance copying Ive’s designs, maybe they would get away with it in the “flattering” sense.
With that in mind, this court case could be simply born of desperation from Apple as they feel that the imitation is too close to home and too obvious. There’s nothing worse than having someone not innovate hard but benefit from your innovation. In a cheeky way.
Apple absolutely benefitted from Braun designs from the 60s, 70s and 80s. However they don’t compete on any level, and it’s an inspired level of design inspiration, rather than a direct rip off. Jonny Ive is a very smart man, as was/is Dieter Rams. Samsung aren’t playing a smart game, which is all Apple had to prove in court. Samsung aren’t really designing anything. No one is harking back to the good old days of design from their favourite designers in Samsung’s corporate offices. They’re buying iPads and saying “do this”. And this is the issue.