August 01, 2012

Swampash explains why Apple has to take Samsung to court:

The Fender Stratocaster was released in 1954 and totally changed the then-new electric guitar market. You can look at well-known electric guitar designs like the Telecaster and the Les Paul and just SEE that they were created before the Stratocaster was released. And you can look at a metric fucktonne of electric guitar designs and just SEE that they were created AFTER the Stratocaster was released. There’s a clear point at which the “before Strat” electric guitar industry became the “after Strat” electric guitar industry. The shape of the Fender Stratocaster - influenced by pre-existing stringed instruments like the cello, but still new and unlike any electric guitar made before - became what electric guitars look like.

Fender did not pursue the Strat-clone manufacturers in court; and then after attempting to trademark the iconic Statocaster contours decades later, a court ruled in 2009 that “the body shapes were generic and that consumers do not solely associate these shapes with Fender Musical Instruments Corporation”. The ruling went so far as to say “in the case of the [Stratocaster] body outline, **this configuration is so common **that it is depicted as a generic electric guitar in a dictionary.” (bolds mine)

Apple ain’t making that mistake.

Weiran Zhang

Written by Weiran Zhang who lives and works in Nottingham. You should follow him on Twitter.