Samsung’s microphone icon design patent sure looks familiar

siri list

Oh, you wacky Samsung-ites — will you never learn?

Samsung was somehow recently granted a design trademark for a “display screen with icon” and, wouldn’t you know it, it looks almost exactly like the icon Apple currently uses for Siri.

For those keeping score, Apple received its U.S. design patent for the Siri logo/icon back in 2012. It filed a trademark for the design that same year. However, its usage of the design goes back at least as far as 1990, when it was first used as the icon for the microphone port on the Macintosh LC.

For those wanting to play “spot the difference” check out the two designs below:

Apple's design is on the left, Samsung's is on the right. We think.

Apple’s design is on the left, Samsung’s is on the right. We think.

As you can see, the only real notable differences are the additional concentric circles in Apple’s original design, and the microphone’s rounded edges on Samsung’s. Apart from that, both look identical.

Apple might not sue over a single stolen icon, and the amount of subjective stickiness in logo trademark issues means that the matter can be opened up for discussion, but how hard is it to come up with a microphone icon that looks substantially different from the one Apple is already using? Surely just for the sake of differentiation it would make more sense to come up with something that will stand out from whatever Apple’s doing?

But why would you bother to do that when you can just get out the Xerox machine? Shameful lack of creativity on display here.

  • moofer

    Unreal.

  • http://www.designstrategies.com Len Williams

    Samsung continues its viewpoint that what is Apple’s is Samsung’s. Why does the icon need to be a microphone at all? Why not come up with some other iconic image that relates to a talking mouth or some other design that is completely different from what Apple is already using. The folks at Samsung seem to want us to believe that everything Apple does is the only way it can ever be done because it’s so obvious (once Apple comes up with it).

    Apple’s R&D process involves years of research, testing and development. Samsung’s R&D is to check what Apple is doing and using whatever they find there.

    • Nick V

      Years of research my ass. They stole everything from everyone else, including Google, Palm, HP, and more.

      • balexandre

        straight your story … the mouse was created first, but they had no idea what they could do with it, Steve knew in the first 5 seconds.

        Google only has an Android because CEO was part of the Board Members of Apple and he had to know Apple products in detail. Steve ordered not to say said anything while he was around regarding the “tablet” and see the years it took for Google show an viable answer for it.

        There is plenty of research in all Apple products, iPhone… what was the market before and after it?

        As creativity, engineering and amazing hardware, it’s hard to beat Apple, and Samsung is a copy/paste company.

        Why didn’t Apple, from it’s first mobile phone in a brand new market (as they never, ever made a phone), didn’t “copy” the RazorX style back then as it was the most popular phone??

        everyone steals everything, it’s all about how do you remix those.

        I would point like to point out an amazing Vimeo series about it:
        Everything is a remix: https://vimeo.com/81745843

        maybe you would learn a bit more on “What is copy and what is influence”

  • 1Anticapitalist1

    Astonishing that SAMSUNG would do that

  • Jurassic

    This is not the first Apple icon that Samsung has copied. There have been many:

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/08/06/court_documents_allegedly_show_samsung_copied_iphone_icons

  • T_Will

    Samsung truly has no shame.

  • RedMercury
  • whistler lies

    Hey Samsungs has rounded corners on the mic stand……..

  • Kr00

    Which is why I always refer to them as Samescum. Yet in their advertising they spend so much money tearing Apple down, while in private they just want to be all like Apple. How many times do they need to be caught out before they realise that people aren’t stupid. A thief is a thief, and is obvious to all now.

  • tornacious

    Can we at least be clear that a patent and a trademark are two different fracking things? Only thing they have in common is they’re both issued by the USPTO. Let’s not lazily use one term when the other applies, okay?

  • Christopher Columbus

    I’m an apple user and I seriously cannot stand the fans of the device I use. Apple did not freaking invent this icon. Both Cult Of Mac and Apple fans are irresponsible and seriously way too full of themselves. It makes me embarrassed to be using an iOS device. I enjoy the device but definitely don’t want to be identified as an Apple fan sniffing my own farts and focusing on other devices “copying MY PRECIOUS” as if you invented the damn thing. You shelled out $400+ for a phone… this is not your accomplishment.

    Do a google search for “microphone icon” under images and see how common this icon is.

    If you’re going to say this, then Apple stole the drop down notification bar from Android, OTA updates, tabbed browsing, and I could go on and on. BOTH platforms STEAL from each other.

    Are you guys even seeing the changes being made to Apple phones lately? Apple is finally caving and turning iPhones into Android phones running iOS with a little bit more aluminum than the HTC One. That’s a fact… get used to it once you see that 5″ iPhone for sale.

  • Nick V

    I can’t imagine that happening. Hey what about the time when Apple stole the Swiss Clock’s design and was sued? I guess Apple continues it’s viewpoint that what is everyone elses, is Apple’s.

    Wait, then there is the notification shade that was on Android forever… Oh yeah, and then the Control Center… Hmmm… Yeah, Apple is so original. You people need to get over yourselves. Apple are the biggest thieves and pirates in the industry.

  • Dave Haynie

    And they both look similar to Android microphone icons going back to 2009 or so. Though as usual, Samsung’s is more Apple like. If you did a morph from Android to Apple mic icons, Samsung’s would show up about the middle.

  • Liquid Wolverine

    Not just Samsung, did you see the microphone icon for Amazon’s fire remote?

  • Jacob

    The next big photo-copied product is already here!

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/124581026@N04/14413611665/

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News, Top stories | Tagged: , , |