Now even though I've currently got an Android phone, I love a lot of what Apple has created and its design ethos. So I was interested to see that a gentleman in the US is suing Apple for (apparently) copying his design when it produced the iPhone (and iPad etc).
Mr Ross filed, and subsequently abandoned, a US patent in the 90's, well before Apple created its iPod and iPhone ranges. Despite this he has recently filed proceedings against Apple alleging copyright infringement.
Without getting into considerations of the (lack of) similarity, whether Apple actually copied his design, or 'idea vs expression' issues, Mr Ross has a more fundamental issue.
The US is not like New Zealand or the UK, where copyright in 'industrial' objects subsists, rather it is more akin to Australia (and most other countries) where despite having copyright protection for 'works of art' or 'sculptural works' that protection generally doesn't extend to 'industrial' or 'useful' articles (i.e. objects with intrinsic utilitarian or useful functionality).
Despite being "very confident", Mr Ross appears to have a mountain to climb to succeed in his claim.
Despite applying to protect his invention in 1992, Ross failed to pay the required fees and so his application was declared abandoned in 1995 by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Instead of using patent law, Ross is now battling the tech giant with copyright law. Ross argues that Apple’s iPhone, iPod and iPad are “the very essence” of his ERD.