The recent legal spat between Apple and Samsung has shown us that Android devices need to develop their own trade dress. With smartphones starting to merge into one image with no distinct look at all, lawsuits will continue to fly with pioneers keeping the better cards in hand.
Samsung Galaxy S4 should introduce a unique trade dress
When 2013 comes along and it becomes time for Samsung to unveil the Samsung Galaxy S4, or the Note 3, or the Nexus 5, these phones will need to have their own corporate identity.
Judge Koh ruled that Samsung stepped on Apple’s copyright toes and so now Samsung will have to invent its own wardrobe or get ready to face legal repercussions in the future again. It’s thought that Samsung copied Apple’s look because iPhones sell well, but it’s now time for Samsung to go “clothes shopping” so this misunderstanding doesn’t come about again.
Samsung could introduce unique colours or casings, or have decorations on the fronts – anything that makes future ranges of Samsung phones scream “Samsung!” not “Apple!” It’s believed that Samsung copied 13 or so of Apple’s patents and it’s these that have caused the problems. Even the Samsung Galaxy S3 has now been implicated in the lawsuit.
For instance, the D305 patent is about the famous grid of squares set against a black backdrop that Apple uses on its homescreen. The iPhone 5 still uses it several years on. This is Apple’s trade dress, so anyone else wanting to use something similar would have to alter this design – maybe by changing the squares to circles. If Samsung are, with Google, able to invent their own trade dress, then Android smartphones would be able to take their deserved place in the smartphone galaxy and put this embarrassment behind them.
Samsung should reinvent the smartphone starting from its Galaxy S4 the same way the iPhone did back in 2007 when it first launched.