In reference to Apple's lawsuit claiming that Samsung copied their designs, JK Shin, head of Samsung Mobile Communications, recently made a bold statement to the Wall Street Journal. He said,Apparently, Samsung has an "Ace in the hole" regarding the lawsuit. This "trump card" has actually been circulating the web since the story first broke. It is the Samsung F700, pictured above next to the iPhone. As it turns out, the Samsung F700 was the predecessor to the Galaxy S line of phones from Samsung, and more importantly, it was released before the iPhone. It would seem that Samsung has a powerful argument regarding the physical design of their phone not being a copy of the iPhone.We didn't copy Apple's design. We have used many similar designs over the past years and [Apple's claims] will not be legally problematic.
It is important to note however, that the lawsuit also alleges that Samsung's TouchWiz UI copies the look and feel of Apple's iOS. Obviously, this is separate from the physical issues of the phones, and Samsung will have to mount a different defense for that. Perhaps even if Samsung can't win that part of the lawsuit, they could very easily just change the icons around a bit to "alter" the look and feel enough to satisfy the court. Most patent cases tend to be rather boring, but this one is becoming an interesting battle.