Was the Samsung Galaxy S III design driven by lawyers?

Was the Samsung Galaxy S III design driven by lawyers?
The Samsung Galaxy S III didn’t come with a fancy ceramic finish, nor was it in the shape of its predecessor. With curves floating around its sides making its corners fold differently, no black version and a couple of other interesting coincidences, the SGS III design is different. As in weird. It’s different than the one of the Galaxy S II, but most interestingly, it’s different than the iPhone. And this last interesting coincidence, caught by Android Police, might have been at the core of how the Galaxy S III came into being - designed by lawyers to avoid Apple’s lawsuits.

To be perfectly exact, it's the "trade dress" suit. This is a kind of a legal attack on design where Apple basically tried something bold by saying it owns a set of designs like black rectangular smartphones. Here are some of the pillars of design that Apple uses to lay blame on Samsung for copying its products:


The points are taken directly from Apple’s 2011 trade dress infringement suit against Samsung. Interestingly, nearly all of them are smartly addressed by the Korean company in the SGS III, and it’s hard to believe this is a coincidence. Of course, Cupertino can’t sue Samsung for having just one or two of those features like the common metallic framing, but it’s rather the combination of a lot of them that gives Apple it’s legal reasoning.

Take a look at the images below - they are a perfect illustration of what could have driven (and likely drove) Samsung’s designers in the process of creating the SGS III. 

Now, we wouldn’t call the design of the S III ugly - it’s not. And, Samsung achieved to narrow down the bezel significantly, allowing for a 4.8-inch screen while keeping the size of the last Galaxy S nearly intact. But doesn’t it bother you that Apple has the leverage to now force major phone makers to quit making rectangular handsets with equally rounded corners (for example)? Let us know how you feel about all this in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Android Police.

Related phones

Galaxy S III
  • Display 4.8 inches
    1280 x 720 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    1.9 MP front
  • Hardware Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, 1GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2100 mAh
  • OS Android 4.3
    Samsung TouchWiz UI

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47 Comments

46. djripster

Posts: 141; Member since: Dec 10, 2011

Would anyone be surprised if the next iPhone looked exactly like the GSIII

41. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Maybe Samsung realised square icons are stupid too? And I don't get why people say the SIII is ugly, at the back maybe, it doesn't look very "high end", but up front you can see it is truly inspired by "nature", the shape of a leaf, the curves of a pebble.

38. android1234

Posts: 203; Member since: Feb 09, 2010

I like the GS3 design. I have the verizon Galaxy Nexus as of now, and will probably stick with for the time being, as the GS3 and HTC OneX dont really provide that much of an upgrade for me to switch. I think the Gnex is still one of the best looking phones with its curved display. The 720p pentile screen is amazing, and I cannot notice any pixelation, the saturated dark blacks, and pop out colors make this display look beautyiful. Holding off for the next Nexus to be released end of this year, or any of the next gen phone early next year to offer more significatn upgrades to the GNex.

31. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Say what you want haters. This will not stop me from supporting the brand. While some have criticised the launch of the SIII saying it was as disappointing as the iPhone 4S launch, I beg to differ. The iPhone 4S has an almost identical physical design to the iPhone 4 while most people were expecting a departure from this including a larger screen. The SIII provides not only a larger and higher resolution screen, but a progressive new design which has curves inspired by nature. When it comes to design often it's something you like, or something you don't, the rest of the criticisms are arguably minor. Build quality is much less subjective, but often confused with build materials used. The original Galaxy S I9000 and Galaxy SII I9100 both used very similar materials, both of them also had high build quality and durability. As NZtechfreak has stressed so many times, using premium build materials does not ensure high build quality. In fact, while HTC often uses more premium feeling materials, their build quality is often appalling and most of their recent devices have been affected by one issue or another. While you might have been shocked that Samsung used a Pentile Matrix Super AMOLED HD 720p display on the SIII, you really shouldn't be - the full RGB stripe technology just isn't ready yet. In fact, you shouldn't even be disappointed, as at over 300 PPI its very unlikely that you will be able to notice any tell-tale cross-hatching or any issues with luminance inconsistency, the latter of which affected the Galaxy Nexus. Sure, it might not best the amazing SLCD-2 display on the HTC One X, but it comes close, and it's a huge step up from the resolution limitations of the Galaxy SII. While the software enhancements were a major focus; and some feel a major let down, there were actually a few ideas I found to be quite appealing. Keeping my screen on while I'm looking at it might seem fairly minor, but its small usability tweaks like this that become things that annoy you when they are no longer present. Another feature I'm looking forward to is the pop up play functionality, which would allow me to continue watching a video while texting the Fiancée on the train to/from work.

40. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

"Say what you want haters. This will not stop me from supporting the brand." thats what Apple consumer have been saying for 3 going on 4 years.. now...

45. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

technically, its what android users have been saying to the legions of Apple fans for the 2 years until Android took over as top vendor and the iNuts started to dissipate a bit.

29. jibraihimi

Posts: 816; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

Is there any moore's law for the size of the screen on smart phones, which states "more the size of processor decreases in the mobile phones, the size of screen will increase in ratio"................ Now along with making these hugeeeeeeee size phones, manufacturers should also start making some machines and supplements which will increase the size of the palm...... Beacuse though size of screen of phones are increasing every yr. but the size of our palm is still constant..........

28. jibraihimi

Posts: 816; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

They should have tried to keep the screen size to 4.3"-4.5", this would have increased the ppi....... For bigger size screen lovers they already have galaxy note, so what's the use of increasing the size of GS3.......... I think with such a huge screen GS3 should also be categorized as phablet....... And I hope they don't increase the size of note2 from 5.3" to 6.0", as this will make it tablet from phablet................

26. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

The design sure ad hell wasn't driven by aesthetics.

43. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

matter of opinion you think it looks ugly and some thinks it looks nice...as with many things looks are always personal opinion..there is no right or wrong

25. M2Iceman

Posts: 9; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

I find this article very funny because in many of the leaks for the Iphone5 there has been speculation as to the screen size not being bigger. The current rumor now is that it will only be a 4" screen, why is that?? Im guessing that since Sammy and the rest of the phone makers have to worry about screen size and button placement, is Apple now worried about the same thing? If Apple goes bigger than a 4" screen could then Sammy and HTC start firing off patent suits claiming that Apple now has a product similar to their 4.3, 4.6 or 4.8 screen?? If its true that Sammy did what it did for the G3, (lawyer product development) then same has to be said for the IP5.

24. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

The galaxy s2 has a better design.

23. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

Luckily its not driven by gimmick like liquid metal.

22. matrix_neo

Posts: 334; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

It's good that at least samsung change the design, if not, same with s2, how people will know it's galaxy s3. Take the case of iphone 4s. Although samsung didn't make it the best design, many features are added, which differ from htc one x. I think one x is the best in design but still lacks of important features like removable battery. I still like the design of s3, lets wait once it is released and judge it by its users. Im sure lot of them will give their reviews and comments here in pa.

18. Phullofphil

Posts: 1846; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

I like the way it looks. I can really care less any way cause after the first week the only thing I look at is the screen and how well it flows. With the hardware it should flow great. The wireless charging I hope cost fifty dollars or less to make happen. Even though it will probably be a back cover that has to come with a battery for about fifty bucks pluse a fifty to eighty dolar charging pad that only works with the Samsung phone.

16. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Those Apple patents if trully applied make it impossible to make another awesome smartphone. Apple simply patented something that could not directly rival their own iPhone product. I call those patents bulls**ts. Currently right now there're many smartphone that lookalike the iPhone, but Apple won't sue them because their smartphone isn't top selling or not a threat.

21. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

those are not patents they mentioned. they dont have a patent for rounded corners.. its just a list they made to try to say samsung copied them. From the looks of it, they are trying to say anything that is symmetrical and well made is an iphone copy. There is nothing from that list that screams "iphone".. but it sounds like just about every smartphone out there. Notice how "large central button on the bottom bezel" was not one of their complaints? Thats one of the most recognizable features of an iphone other than the logo on the back.

15. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Whatever, the SGSIII still isn't a bad looking device. On contrary, the more i look at this phone the nicer it seems. Marble blue with that striped pattern is so fresh, the white one looks like it's made out of ivory, lines are clear and elegant..had it been made out of ceramic it would be pure class and elegance. It definitely isn't a black slab!

12. nikhil.agrawal88

Posts: 18; Member since: Mar 01, 2012

personally i dont care how powerful the phone is but atleast it should look good..and galaxy s3 looks ugly..i've got one x and have to say that phone is pretty awesome it might not be as powerful as s3 but atleast it feels good to hold it in my hands..

14. thelegend6657 unregistered

Agree I like the design of the OneX more . I also like the matte black paint

7. Fayeznoor

Posts: 74; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

don't make sense, Apple has lost all ip against samsung.

6. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

I dont care who it was designed by. Give me something good looking. Just like the one x, who the f**k worries about lawyers when you got something original and better?

5. Jaspzx

Posts: 3; Member since: May 07, 2012

Samsung should start taking Design lessons from Sony... ...

19. TROLL

Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!

4. jagroopdeol

Posts: 3; Member since: May 05, 2012

http://youtu.be/cBSp1j5tPyU check dis out..........

3. paulyyd

Posts: 340; Member since: Jan 08, 2011

in other words, samsung made one ugly ass phone hahah

8. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

I don't know if the design decision was driven by apple but samsung could have come with something better. Htc one X is awesome. So is the xperia s. Samsung shouldn't have listened to the lawyers, if thats the case. I don't think apple under Cook will sue blatantly.

37. jamrockjones

Posts: 345; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I think the phone looks sleek. I like it. I wish they would stop making them so big though, 4.3 is a good screen size.

42. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

yeah agree and also think the s2 was just the perfect size for a phone..they could have easily fit in a 4.5'' screen a phone the size of the s2 and that would have been just perfect...

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