Apple: Even Google said Samsung copied the iPad

Apple has blasted back at Samsung's tablet design denials, telling courts that far from Google giving its universal support, it had actually warned its Korean partner that its slates were "too similar" to the iPad. Documents filed to the Californian courts claim that back in February 2010 Google warned Samsung that it believed its Galaxy Tab (codenamed "P1") and Galaxy Tab 10.1 ("P3") designs were too close to the aesthetic Apple was using, and asked that the Android models be made clearly "distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3", AllThingsD reports.

Google's admonishments weren't the only criticisms of Samsung's design laziness, Apple insists. Pulling out evidence from a Samsung-led formal design evaluation, where respected designers were polled on their opinions of the Galaxy S, the company was apparently warned that its efforts weren't sufficiently different from Apple's. The Galaxy S "looked like it copied the iPhone too much" one designer said, and "innovation is needed" to better differentiate Samsung's phone.

Even Samsung's own Product Design Group couldn't help but criticize its handiwork, Apple points out. Back in 2011, the team apparently described it as "regrettable" that the Galaxy S "looks similar" to Apple's iPhone 3G and 3GS.

Samsung had brought out design concepts and other evidence from its records that the company claimed demonstrated it was working on pared-back, touch-centric devices as far back as 2006, also taking time to in effect brand Apple a hypocrite for the Cupertino company's own "inspiration" taken from earlier Sony concepts. The ideas – one of which went on to be the basis of the Samsung F700 – also included a grid-style GUI of the sort iOS went on to popularize.

Contrary to Apple's insistence, Samsung argued, that the patented design elements at the heart of the current litigation are what make the iPhone and iPad particularly special, its Cupertino rival simply used "ancillary features that allow users to perform trivial touch screen functions."

Samsung had a "deliberate plan to free-ride on the iPhone's and iPad's extraordinary success by copying their iconic designs and intuitive user interface" Apple said in its new filings. "Apple will rely on Samsung's own documents, which tell an unambiguous story"; however, there's no obvious rebuttal to the pre-iPhone concepts Samsung included.