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.


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.

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