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Samsung Grabs Patents for Round Smartwatches, Because Round is King

When you talk Android Wear, there is still only one device that the majority of tech enthusiasts are excited about – the Moto 360. Why? Well, because it looks like a traditional watch, thanks in part to the materials used, but mostly because the device is round. It doesn’t have the square or rectangular face that the first wave of smartwatches carried. It doesn’t look like a futuristic, “There is a calculator on my wrist!” type of watch. It looks like a watch, a watch that does all sorts of cool things thanks to Google’s new wearables platform. Round is king.

While Motorola will more than likely be the first to get a fully-featured round smartwatch out the masses (assuming they ever release this thing), Samsung might not be far behind. The company applied for (3) patents back in March of 2013 for smartwatches that feature a similar round design. They were granted those patents yesterday. 

In the filing, there isn’t much going on outside of the round designs. The devices actually look a lot like the current line of Gear watches, only with a round face instead of a square one. We are seeing cameras built in to the watch band, along with charging pins embedded in the clasp.

If Samsung were to build a round smartwatch, would you be more willing to give it a shot? Is round actually king?

samsung round smartwatch

Via:  Mobile Geeks | USPTO
  • Razma

    samsung just in time to steal another idea and claim to be the first

  • JoeTi

    Tizen + round still = FAIL.

  • Mikeg1969

    What happened to prior art??

  • BoFiS

    Meh, it’ll be huge and the camera in the strap isn’t helping or useful

  • Jon Brashear

    Samsung is going to ruin the round face. Good thing the 360 was made before this patent.

  • tiev

    wtf… isn’t there prior art for this????

  • calculatorwatch

    Even I prefer round smart watches over those calculator-looking ones…

    This design actually looks pretty slim and sweet, but I doubt they can turn it into an actual product without sacrificing some serious battery life

  • mcdonsco

    And they look to be screwing it up again with a damn camera on it…wtf Samsung?

  • archercc

    No, I wouldn’t. That crappy dock and the camera in the band would be deal-breakers on their own. But once I fire it up to see how Samsung has attempted to ruin android it would be sealed.

  • FredCCoggins

    It looks like a watch, a watch that does all sorts of cool things thanks to Google’s new wearables platform. Round is king. http://ur1.ca/hvhaa

  • Michael Johnson

    While it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever buy a Samsung product, I’d definitely give a round smartwatch at least a look or two. Especially considering that Google’s not gonna let them F up the device with their crappy skin and software…

  • GPier

    I just received my patent today as well.

    Circle illustration with circumference (C) in black, diameter (D) in cyan, radius (R) in red, and centre or origin (O) in magenta.

    So therefore everyone who owns anything round/circle will be getting sued my me.

    Have a nice day!

  • needa

    this hideous looking thing over the 360? nah. this thing will be filled with plastic and rubber.

  • Taylor Abrahamson

    That is one hideous looking watch. The watch band is super ugly, that inverted curve around the display bezel is also super ooogly. But that’s just my opinion.

  • duke69111

    How do you patent a round circle? I wonder if anyone has a patent on the square.

    • needa

      they are patenting the design, to keep others from blatantly copying. not that it would do any good. look at how samsung got their start in the smartphone biz.

  • Daistaar

    All I want it a smart sun dial with Android Wear… C’mon Samsung!

  • Walter Partlo

    The simple fact that a patent was granted doesn’t make those patents defensible. These probably mean little.

  • DJyoSNOW

    I do like my Martian notifier…

  • nabooska

    They plan on still doing cameras in the band? *facepalm*

  • bsilver2988

    Can this in any way threaten the Moto360?

    • Shane Redman

      maybe if it’s cheaper…..but that still wouldn’t sway me.

      • bsilver2988

        I was referring to Samsung holding a patent for a device Motorola is making.

        • Shane Redman

          no it’s not, I think ppl are taking “a patent for all smartwatches round” thing a little too literal. It’s probably more so on the inner-workings of the design and layouts.

          • sirmeili

            It’s actually on the specific “design” of the watch. Including the round face, band, etc. It’s a design patent on the all over design of the watch. I’m not a fan of these types of patents.

    • nabooska

      Technically the moto360 isn’t COMPLETLY round 😉

      • Justin W

        Which means the Samsung version will have a massive bezel, or also won’t be completely round.

      • sirmeili

        It is. The screen is not, but the watch face is (missing the small sliver at the bottom). Or am I missing something?

        • nabooska

          I was referring to the 360s display but you are correct about the body of the watch

  • Damian

    Don’t worry Motorola, I’ll buy your products over Samsung’s any day of the week.

    • Ryan N

      I think “Samsung” is Korean for “me too”…

      • kixofmyg0t

        No, “me too” in Hangul is “Ell Gee”

      • Capt Obvious

        If you bothered to read the article, you would realize Motorola copied Samsung since this design was filed well over a year ago.

        Motorola might as well become “Me-too-rola”

    • Mike

      No Way they get this patent anyways, Round Watches have been around since the Sun Dial.

      If any company get’s a patent on a round watch, no matter what type, our system is truly fully corrupt and broken then.

      • Ted

        This would be funny if it weren’t so sad

        I’ve heard of reinventing the wheel, but this is idiotic.

  • Jonbo298

    This design will not survive. They tried using the band in this patent on the Galaxy Gear 1 and one of the biggest complaints is that it was not possible to change the band. Just at first glance I don’t see them patenting the round face but the overall design aspect.

  • M3D1T8R

    This is worse than Apple’s “rectangle with rounded corners”. Yeah, patent a circle. That makes sense.
    The patent system needs to be completely overhauled. We could start by scrapping the whole thing.

    • Shane Redman

      I call trapezoids next!

    • systemx

      Did they sue anyone because of the round patents? Hardly comparable to apple at all

      • sirmeili

        Not yet, but they were just awarded the patents yesterday. So I guess we will see if Samsung tries to go after Motorola*.

        * I haven’t read the patent, so I’m not sure if there is more to it than it just being round.

      • M3D1T8R

        Which round smart watch exists for them to sue? Moto’s isn’t even out yet.
        It’s not just about suing, it’s about the threat of lawsuit from these massive companies with huge patent portfolios (patenting common sense) which they use to leverage out any potential new smaller players (avoiding real competition), and trade with the other few big boys, keeping their monopoly positions in place.

      • James

        The point isn’t whether they HAVE sued anyone – after all, they haven’t even had the patent for a day yet – but rather that they COULD. American courts have consistently been willing to hear cases based on vague patents. Not every case has won, but the threat alone is significant enough to stifle innovation. This is why patent reform is necessary.

    • Mike Aurin

      Let’s be clear and take a deep breath before you get over excited and pee on the rug. They aren’t patenting the round shape of smart watches…they patented their development of their smart watches using round shapes. This is dealing with their internals and and the way they are laid out inside round watches more than its patenting smart watches that are round.

      • James

        Except that interpretation is up to the courts to decide. Listen, I don’t blame Samsung for obtaining the patent. They’re paying the game by its current rules. But that game is rigged against small entrepreneurs, against true innovation that happens to look similar, against a lot of common sense. The fact that the courts could potentially hear cases against a huge range of similar designs is a problem.

      • sirmeili

        No, this patent really isn’t about the way the internals are laid out. You bashed me below for not looking at the patent. This is a 100% pure “design patent” to patent the design of the watch, not it’s layout of it’s internals.

  • sirmeili

    How the hell do they get a patent on a round smartwatch? It’s a damn watch!!! Watches have been round likely for as long as there have been watches. So these are smart? That makes a huge difference? Sometimes I really hate our patent system.

    • j

      Requires complete overhaul. Can you imagine if design cues were patentable in other industries? Sorry, you can’t make rectangular TVs. We don’t care if all content is produced as a rectangle. Nope, that car will need a total re-design or we will sue you for infringing upon our curved windscreen patent. Your windscreen must be totally flat, and not rounded on the bottom corners. et al.

      • j

        “A curved transparent device for re-directing wind at higher speeds, placed in front of an operator in a motorized vehicle with two or four wheels.”

      • sirmeili

        I mean, I get, to a degree, patenting a “smart watch” in general (it’s iterative development, which the patent system is meant to promote). But yeah, patenting a shape seems wrong.

      • velocipedes

        Not overhaul, just elimination. There’s no valid excuse for it.

    • r0l

      Ignore the sensational article tittle. If you read the source the patent isn’t for a round watch, but “the ornamental design for an electronic device, as shown and described”. So no one can copy the overall look of the entire watch.

      • James

        Tell that to Apple, and the courts which have honored their vague patents.

        • r0l

          But it isn’t vague, read the source material.

          • James

            I have read the source material, as well as the source material for most of the Apple patents that have gone to court. If you don’t think this material is vague enough for a wide range of questionable lawsuits, I suggest doing a little more research on the topic. This generic design could potentially be used against circular smartwatches, since the current law allows wide leeway in the application of design patents.

          • James

            isn’t vague enough, not is vague…sorry for the typo

    • Mike Aurin

      You “really hate the patent system” because you have no idea what the hell the patents mean. You hound in on one word (round) and ignore the rest of the patent, or worse, don’t even read the patent itself. Read them and educate yourself with the full patent before talking yourself into thinking Samsung just patented the circle…

      • James

        I agree a lot of people have been talking about patents recently without any real understanding of the system. But are you arguing that the system is NOT in need of reform? If you look back, this patent is not that different from many others that have been used in extremely vague lawsuits. Not all those suits have won, but the threat alone has changed how the industry functions – and not to the benefit of consumers.

        • Mike Aurin

          I don’t like Apple’s patent trolling but they patented EXACTLY what they needed to patent and Samsung technically infringed on it. It was a sad day but lessoned learned. Samsung is improving the way they design certain aspects and the courts are realizing how vague patents can hurt the system instead of improving the industry. I think the lessons have been demonstrated so we won’t see something ridiculous like a center home button law suit debacle again…

          • WAldenIV

            Most of those patents should never have been awarded in the first place. Once a chair is patented you can’t received one for a chair with arms. The entire system is broken, particular when it comes to electronic devices. The reviewers don’t understand prior art well enough and they award too many patents that are not novel.

          • James

            “The courts are realizing how vague patents can hurt the system” – how so? A few judges have expressed frustration or reluctance over specific cases. The job of the courts is to enforce the law, not protect innovation. And the current law is flawed, as many legal commentators have expressed. The fact that Apple was allowed to patent such a generic design in the first place, which is technically allowed by the current legal structure – is the underlying problem.

      • sirmeili

        This is at best a design patent, and I don’t think design patents should exist. I’m sorry you disagree. The patent itself states “The ornamental design for an electronic device, as shown and described”.

        I do understand patents, but this is not a patent that truly creates innovation. It’s to lock in their “design” for a watch. I stand by my point that I really hate our patent system.

        • James

          I agree with you generally, although technically a “design” patent can refer to internals as well…

          • sirmeili

            I was not aware of that (you learn something new everday). The patents in this story though at least appear to only be about the external appearance.

  • Ruurd Bijlsma

    why can’t samsung just use regular watch bands

  • Shane Redman

    Strap still looks hideous…

    • Dustin Wood

      Not to mention, impossible to use.