That's precisely what Apple was fighting for, of course. While many complain that the company's aggressive defense of the form of its devices means others can't make devices that look the same, it doesn't mean competitors can't make devices that look different.
Applauding the victory, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained: "We chose legal action very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work. For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It's about values. We value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. And we do this to delight our customers, not for competitors to flagrantly copy."
It's no surprise competitors want a little Apple in their products. The impact of Apple design is huge. There's no denying it. An interesting report today observes that white recently became the most popular car color. From Apple 2.0: "According to Sandy McGill, BMW Designworks' lead designer in color, materials, and finish, this is Steve Jobs' doing. "Prior to Apple, white was associated with things like refrigerators or the tiles in your bathroom. Apple made white valuable."
Good news for all
The news for consumers isn't that Apple has stopped innovation. It has merely moved to prevent imitation. This suggests tablet and smartphone manufacturers will now begin to explore different sizes, shapes and capabilities for their hopefully uniquely-designed devices. This means it is possible consumers will benefit from even more choice within device categories in future.
For Apple, the down side of this legally-enforced drive for originality could be that competitors manage to manufacture devices that capture consumer imagination more than those coming out of Cupertino. And why would that be a bad thing for people in the market for such devices?
It is surely in everybody's best interests that the industry begins to "Think Different". That was the remedy which gave Apple a new lease of life, after all, now, with competitors in a similar position on strength of depressed PC sales, it's looking like time they did the same.
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