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Samsung Galaxy series designer offended by copycat claims

updated 05:55 am EDT, Fri March 23, 2012

Samsung's Lee Min-hyuk speaks out

The lead designer of Samsung's massively successful Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets has revealed how he feels about allegations by Apple that the Korean company has 'slavishly' copied its designs. In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters, Lee Min-hyuk, Samsung's 40-year old VP of Design for Samsung Mobile takes affront to Apple's claims arguing that his designs are fundamentally different.

'I've made thousands of sketches and hundreds of prototype products (for the Galaxy), said Lee. 'Does that mean I was putting on a mock show for so long, pretending to be designing?'

'As a designer, there's an issue of dignity. (The Galaxy) is original from the beginning, and I'm the one who made it. It's a totally different product with a different design language and different technology infused,' Lee argued.

Lee also revealed that he aspires to reach the heights of Apple design guru Sir Jonathon Ive. Although he admits he is not currently in Ive's league, his goal is to create and design a breakthrough product.

'I might not be at [Ive's] level yet, but I believe Samsung will produce such iconic products one day,' Lee posited. 'It's not just effort that makes it possible for a new product to be a massive hit. It also has to be timely, and technology should be ready to make a certain design a reality,' he continued.

However, while Samsung may not currently be recognised as a design and innovation leader in the highly competitive consumer electronics segment, that has not stopped Lee's designs from achieving massive success globally. Last year, for the first time, Samsung's Galaxy S II and related smartphones edged out Apple to take the unofficial title as the world's leading smartphone maker.

Samsung's success in the smartphone market has also led to the division becoming the company's biggest profit maker, delivering $7.4 billion in operating profits to its coffers. However, Lee is far from finished yet.

'As a designer, my job is to blend new functions and technology with aesthetic beauty, as far as possible,' Lee said.

'I'm confident that one day Samsung will make a product that defines our time, and I hope it's one of mine.'

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By Electronista Staff
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  1. Think4D

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2012


    comment title

    I think he meant to say "we speak a different language (Korean) when we steal Apple's design," but it was mis-translated.

  1. hassanpr

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2004



    Is this guy serious. Its obvious. Clear as a sunny summer day that they copy. at least when other companies copy they make subtle changes. SMH He's offended. LOL

  1. kerryb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    keep on trying

    outside of the different shaped bottom button the Samsung phone is nearly identical. There is no shame when it comes to copying in some cultures apparently S Korean is one of those places.

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005


    Power adaptor

    Have you ever seen the power adaptors that come with these things? Other than being black, they are identical to those shipped with iPhones. That can't be just coincidence!

  1. skepticus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2011



    Perhaps he is somewhat fresh from the culture at Hyundai, although this seems to be a form of perjury unimaginable here in the enlightened west.

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002


    holy cow

    the guy made thousands of sketches and hundreds of prototypes and came up with this? so, how many shapes did he made that bottom button before he settle on this? polygons? acute triangles? isosceles triangles? hexagons? pentagons? dodecagons?

  1. tcphoto

    Junior Member

    Joined: Oct 2004


    comment title

    If it walks like duck and quacks like a know where this is going. Mr. Lee is obviously in denial and laying the groundwork for his testimony in the legal proceedings. Look at how smartphones looked before the first iPhone and then how they changed afterward. Samsung must think little of Intellectual Property law and of the publics intellect.

  1. ethical_paul

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2002



    Thousands of drawings, hundreds of prototypes, and each one looks just like an iPhone

  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008


    the leader???

    Last year Same-sung edged out Apple for one quarter and MacNN keeps repeating this yet if pressed will admit that Apple was holding back to introduce Siri a few months later. When The 4S version came out it blew the hinges off the door! No, Same-sung was not a serious leader last year. This 40 year old designer will only get in Ive's league when he wakes up and produces something different. If there is something worse than being in denial when you are already in denial, this guy has it. Copying is "no sin" in the Far East, this has been going on for decades.

  1. ASathin8R

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2010


    Any photos from the back?

    Any photos taken from behind Mr Lee when this interview was being done? Fingers crossed anyone?

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