HP And RIM Produce Similar Device... Don't Freak Out

from the man-bites-dog? dept

ChurchHatesTucker points us to a recent story about how RIM's Playbook tablet device and interface looks incredibly similar to HP's TouchPad tablet device interface (using WebOS), but rather than get all freaked out about "copying," the two companies seem to handle this maturely, noting that it's just the nature of innovation. HP's initial response more or less suggests that RIM copied HP, but uses it as an opportunity to position itself as a leader in the space, rather than a follower:
From HP:

"It's a fast innovation cycle and a fast imitation cycle in this market, so we just know that we have the creative engine here to continue to build on what we have, and we'll keep innovating, we'll keep honing and those guys hopefully will continue to see the value in it and keep following us by about a year."

RIM (Blackberry) responds.

"Well, when you’re trying to optimize user experience that juggles multitasking, multiple apps open at once and on a small screen, you’re going to get people landing on similar kinds of designs."
Notice no legal threats. No claims of intellectual property violations. Some might claim this is a "non-story," but in an age when the default so often seems to break out the lawyers, cease-and-desists and threats (if not outright lawsuits), it's nice to see a response like this. In some ways it's more of a story, since it seems so rare.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    blaktron (profile), Mar 14th, 2011 @ 9:19pm

    I would suspect the similarities between the 2 began when RIM copied PalmOS way back in the day....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2011 @ 9:23pm

    I'm no lawyer but something about this doesn't feel right to me. Maybe one of Techdirt's "Anonymous Coward" lawyers could chime in and sue someone? Start quoting statutes? Bill somebody?!?

    What's happening!?!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2011 @ 9:41pm

    I suspect HP realized that the similarities are vague, the devices themselves different, and the operating systems different enough to make proving anything difficult, if not pointless. They would have to go into a whole bunch of discovery to discover, well, nothing.

    There is a significant difference from copying a look and feel instead of just two competitors landing in similar places in parallel development. If the code was copied from one to another, there might be something to discuss. Further, as this isn't exactly "unique" stuff, there is no "first to the solution" protections forthcoming. I doubt either of them will be able to patent or copyright their tablet top layouts.

    Do I smell "non-story" here?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2011 @ 10:27pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 14th, 2011 @ 10:28pm

    Re:

    only if your computer's cooling systems are failing.

    otherwise you're only seeing it, and it's only a non-story if you fail to consider the amount of stupid that usually goes on when these kinds of things crop up...

    which, if you read the actual article properly, you'll notice Mike spending most of the last paragraph on addressing exactly this claim.

    started well, that comment. weak end though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2011 @ 10:37pm

    Amazing how we've reached a point where avoiding frivolous lawsuits is considered newsworthy and engaging in them is considered the norm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2011 @ 11:25pm

    Re:

    Hilariously, if one of them HAD sued, I'd expect you to be one of the first to jump in line to scream at Mike for promoting piracy (or whatever you'd refer to this as).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2011 @ 12:38am

    Both of them sue more than they do not, so I will probably reserve judgment on those companies.

    Even though I think both are just crappy companies, with crappy products, so really who cares?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 1:33am

    Re:

    I suspect HP realized that the similarities are vague, the devices themselves different, and the operating systems different enough to make proving anything difficult, if not pointless. They would have to go into a whole bunch of discovery to discover, well, nothing.
    Yes, because that's always stopped major companies suing before. Yup, common sense based on lack of anything beyond superficial resemblance, works every time.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 8:28am

    Re:

    RIM is Canadian, so they obviously rule. If they hadn't got hosed by patent bullshit they would have portable teleporters by now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Donny (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 8:41am

    Feels

    It's odd, I feel encouraged to take note of HP/RIM as names to keep an eye out for now.

    Their exchange suggests they don't rest on their laurels, they work hard at putting out the best products they can, they are attuned to a broader picture than the first moment of sale.

    Naive, sure. But comparing it to how I feel about a company when I hear they're engaging in litigation...even if it's well-founded, my personal assessment of the company's 'character' is affected.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re:

    Expect HP And RIM to start laying off a bunch of lawyers soon. The only problem, those lawyers will find jobs elsewhere and retaliate for their job losses by suing HP and RIM. Frivolous lawsuit mania all over again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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