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Samsung: 'Apple's proto-iPhone Jony is a Sony phone phoney'

Mobe design rip-off allegation emerges in court battle

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Samsung is pulling out all the stops in its patent battle with Apple. The latest allegation, which emerged in a court filing submitted yesterday, is that Apple based its iPhone 4 design on some early sketches that appear to borrow from a Sony design.

The South Korean firm presented prototype Apple CAD drawings [PDF] which even feature the Japanese entertainment firm's logo.

The filing stated:

Eliminating any doubt about the origin of the design‘s inspiration, Apple‘s internal CAD drawings had the "Sony" name prominently emblazoned on the phone design. As Mr [iPhone 4 and 4S designer Shin] Nishibori has confirmed, his "Sony-style" design changed the direction of the project that yielded the final iPhone designs.

The filing was put forward as evidence while Samsung prepares its defence in the Samsung-Apple patent spat. Apple has accused the South Korean giant of copying its iPhone designs, but it appears Samsung wants to turn the tables and allege Apple lifted ideas from Sony's blueprints.

The prototype iPhone CAD files – which were put together in 2006 – show various Sony-like designs, with one particularly iPhone 4-esque image even bearing a Sony logo. Another features the Sony logo changed to 'Jony', presumably a tip of the hat towards Apple design chief Jony Ive.

The iPhone 4 and 4S were actually designed by Shin Nishibori.

Either way – Sony, Jony or My Little Pony – the court case between the giants looms and both corners of the ring have taken their gloves off. In the same week Apple seeks over $2.5bn in damages and bans the sales of 7in Galaxy Tabs, the bad blood between the two mobile heavyweights has clotted into a public aneurism. ®

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