Microsoft and Apple fans may always be at each other’s throats claiming that one company is copying the other, but it looks like Microsoft and Apple don’t always see that as the case – Apple has just revealed in today’s Apple v. Samsung hearing that Microsoft and Apple actually have an “anti-cloning” agreement dating back all the way to 1997, prohibiting each company from copying the other.
In the words of Apple’s director of patent and strategy, Boris Teksler:
…we took special prohibitions from both parties so there is what I term an ‘anti-cloning’ provision… so we couldn’t copy each other’s products. There’s a clear acknowledgement that there’s no copying.
The Verge then did some additional uncovering of further specifics of the agreement, finding that the agreement covers both software features and hardware aesthetics, and specifically mentions user interface, a product’s form factor, and an agreement that a product or feature must be “identical or substantially identical” in order to qualify as an infringement.