Samsung had a smartwatch on sale before Apple did, but it still seems like the Korean giant is taking cues from its rival in Cupertino.
In fact, Samsung submitted several pictures of what looks like the Apple Watch as part of a patent application published on Thursday.
Most of the pictures in the patent application depict a generic smartwatch. But two figures clearly depict Apple’s smartwatch, not a Samsung device. Samsung’s submitted images including Apple’s crown and several of its proprietary band designs.
The patent, “Wearable Device,” describes a format for attaching watch band straps to a smartwatch device. Patent figures — the graphics — aren’t really the important part of a patent application.
But the doppelganger drawings in the patent application suggest that Samsung engineers have at the very least drawn inspiration from Apple’s smartwatch.
The Apple Watch is the best selling smartwatch with 72% of the market, according to an IDC estimate. Samsung is second with 7%.
A history of imitation
The patent describes the drawings as “views illustrating diverse shapes, structures, and materials of a first strap portion or a second strap portion in a wearable device according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.”
Samsung and Apple have had a lot of disputes over patents and intellectual property in recent years, and of the long-running battles over patents is entering its last act. In 2012, a jury in California found that Samsung had infringed three of Apple’s design patents for the iPhone.
Now, Samsung has appealed that $1 billion case to the Supreme Court. On Thursday, several major designers filed a brief with the Supreme Court backing Apple over Samsung.
“Samsung copied many many features” of the iPhone, an Apple lawyer wrote in an earlier brief in that long-running case.
Perhaps the watch is the next battleground.
Samsung declined to comment.
Take a look for yourself:
This is a piece of marketing material Apple published shortly after the Apple Watch announcement in 2014...
The leather band is less of a clone than the buckle, but it still looks similar to Apple marketing materials.
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