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Samsung design boss responds to Apple’s copycat claims

Apple and Samsung have met in court dozens of times over designs, patents and more over the past few years. Among Apple’s numerous complaints was the repeated allegation that Samsung smartphones and tablets are copycat devices that stole numerous elements from the iPhone and iPad’s designs. While similarities between rival gadgets are sometimes bound to appear from time to time — Apple’s own iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S feature a design that is quite familiar — the Samsung executive responsible for the Galaxy S II design has finally spoken out in response to claims that the device is an iPhone clone.

“I’ve made thousands of sketches and hundreds of prototype products (for the Galaxy),” Samsung vice president of design Lee Minhyouk told Reuters in an interview. “Does that mean I was putting on a mock show for so long, pretending to be designing?”

Lee takes Apple’s copycat accusations personally and is offended by the claims. “As a designer, there’s an issue of dignity,” he said. “(The Galaxy) is original from the beginning, and I’m the one who made it. It’s a totally different product with a different design language and different technology infused.”

The executive has great respect for Apple in some regards, however. He admires Apple design guru Jonathan Ive and strives to make devices as iconic as the ones Ive has masterminded. “I might not be at (Ive’s) level yet, but I believe Samsung will produce such iconic products one day,” Lee told Reuters. “It’s not just effort that makes it possible for a new product to be a massive hit. It also has to be timely, and technology should be ready to make a certain design a reality.”

Samsung’s next-generation flagship smartphone is expected to be a departure from its current models. The case on the Galaxy S III, which will be unveiled in April or May this year, will dump flimsy plastics in favor of ceramic according to an earlier report from BGR, and the handset is expected to feature a high-definition 1080p Super AMOLED display that will set a new standard for smartphones moving forward.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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