People who support patents like to say that you should be able to patent anything under the Sun made by man. But what is new under the Sun?
The outer iPhone design, to which Apple is shamefully trying to obtain exclusive rights in seeking injunctions against the sale of the similarly designed Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, reminds us strongly of the Pharaonic cartouche in which the Ancient Egyptians inscribed the names of their Pharaohs. Indeed, Egyptologists, rightly or wrongly, regard the cartouche of the Pharaoh Snofru to be the first such royal cartouche.
From the image below that we have prepared -- trying to retain the original relative dimensions of the Cartouche of Snofru and the iPhone -- it would appear to us that a good argument can be made that the iPhone was preceded by prior art in the early stages of ancient human writing by the Egyptian hieroglyphs, which inscribed royal names inside a so-called "shen ring", signifying eternity. It is a pretty close design match.
|The Apple iPhone as conceivably copied in design|
from the first Pharaonic Cartouche, that of the Pharaoh Snofru.
The windpipe hieroglyph in the cartouche of Soris is a vocal determinative (so I allege) erroneously transliterated into English by the Egyptologists as NFR (as a consonant cluster corresponding to matching Indo-European terms such as e.g. Latvian aNVAR or aNTVAR, meaning "opening, windpipe").
The windpipe hieroglyph in ancient Egyptian writing in my opinion actually meant a "windpipe sound" rather than standing for the consonant cluster NFR or the "word" for windpipe.
You can compare the windpipe hieroglyph NFR to a comparable hieroglyph-like symbol we might draw for the word BREATH, showing the windpipe, which you would not then read as "Breath" but would rather make a breath sound, e.g. a hieroglyph in English written as Breath-A-R-D would be read "H-A-R-D" and not be read "Breath-ard" or "BRTH". The Egyptologists still don't get this.
In any case, there is nothing new under the Sun in this case. The shape and the relative dimensions of the iPhone are so similar to the first royal cartouche in Ancient Egypt, that this design in the context of a surface for a writing-oriented electronic device can have no claim to originality. Rather, it is the close implementation of an age-old design in the public domain -- for the last 4500 years.
There are few things new under the Sun, and this is the SUN.