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The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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Icons are common, public domain and bad | 311 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Apple: Samsung even lifted our icons
Authored by: rcsteiner on Monday, August 06 2012 @ 04:00 PM EDT
Hmmm. Both look a lot like this public domain icon:

telephone symbol green - public domain clip art image @ wpclipart.com:

I wonder how old *it* is?

---
-Rich Steiner >>>---> Mableton, GA USA
The Theorem Theorem: If If, Then Then.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Apple: Samsung even lifted our icons
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 06 2012 @ 10:46 PM EDT
Sigh, generic symbols are considered trademark-able? I'm sure for at least some
of these symbols, there are examples of similar symbols being used elsewhere
before they started to appear on the iphone. The issue isn't even about the
similarity of the images, but the symbols that are rather generic.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Apple: Samsung even lifted our icons
Authored by: calris74 on Tuesday, August 07 2012 @ 12:18 AM EDT
Oh my golly gosh....

Sure, the phone one is somewhat similar, but the others are
just laughable!

I can just imagine this jury retiring to deliberate and
falling into fits of hysterical laughter... And then asking if
they were, in fact, watching a live rendition of a Monty
Python skit.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Icons are common, public domain and bad
Authored by: stegu on Tuesday, August 07 2012 @ 09:50 AM EDT
What next? Will Apple say that Android is not
allowed to use a cartoon-style speech balloon
as an icon for "chat", or a stylized envelope
to symbolize "send electronic mail"? These claims
are preposterous. They are overreaching into trying
to claim the concept and principles behind an
expression rather than the expression itself,
and they should be laughed out of the courtroom
for it.

The strange thing is, nowadays many people have
never used a traditional telephone with that kind
of handset. They have only seen one in films.
It's an icon that has outlived its real world
counterpart, much like the floppy disk symbol
which I still see being used for the "save" action
in quite a lot of modern software.

A common problem with icons is that it is easy to
portray nouns, but difficult to portray verbs and
adjectives. "Make a call" is difficult to depict,
as is "Louder/Softer", but "Telephone" and
"Loudspeaker" are easy, even though the icons
commonly used for these two items are very bad
matches both with the action and the actual piece
of hardware that is used to perform the action.
This creates a need to stay with the agreed-upon
symbols, or you will create unnecessary confusion
for users. Claiming design rights to common and
everyday pictograms like the handset icon is like
saying that you can't use the letter "E" in a text.
If you copy the image pixel buy pixel, OK, that's
infringement, but if you redraw it to look similar
but not identical, that's just good UI design.
Stay with what works and what people expect,
and don't unnecessarily reinvent the wheel.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Icons are iconic
Authored by: cbc on Tuesday, August 07 2012 @ 12:04 PM EDT
All of the icons related to telephones use a picture that resembles the Western
Electric G handset design from around 1949 used with the 500 series desk sets.
The design is occasionally copied in current manufacture but many consider it
too "square".
Speakers |<, loud |<))) vs soft |<) and similar designs are that way
they are because that is the distallation of the concept and quickly recognized.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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