When the iMac was introduced, Apple found that a few companies from Japan and the US thought they could copy Appleis industrial design. One company, Future Power, went so far as to claim that people had a right to industrial design.
Future Poweris General Manager, Bill Voecks, said in response to an Apple lawsuit in April of 2000:
"Future Power does not believe that consumers should be forced to wait another four years before fashionable colored computers become available to the vast majority of computer buyers who prefer a Windows operating system to the MacIntosh [sic] operating system."
What Future Power found out was that people would be forced to wait for a computer made with colored plastics that looked like an iMac. Industrial design is a concept that enjoys legal protections, which was how Apple was able to beat Future Power, SOTEC, and eMachines in the courts, and keep their iMac knock-offs off the market.
A new threat to Apple could be emerging in another part of Asia, however, and this other part has little respect for othersi copyrights, trademarks, or anything else. We refer to China, a country where piracy of intellectual property from other countries is the norm.
While pirated music and software in China are well-known, at least one Chinese computer maker seems to have taken a shine to Appleis Power Mac G4 industrial design. Observer Matthew Godden noticed this in a story from the Sydney Morning Herald about Chinais attempts to use local regulations to circumvent the status quo in the world of standards.
While we strongly recommend the article as an interesting (and important) read, it is the image from a Chinese trade show that will be of the most interest to Mac users.
A screen shot from the article that shows a G4 rip-off
In the image above, youill note a tower design with handles and a front design that are as near to a G4is design as can be. Atop the tower sits two spherical speakers, similar to Appleis Pro Speaker design.
You can find the full image and the original article at the Sydney Morning Heraldis Web site.