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I'm creating a web page which has an inherent link to smart phones, and therefore I would like to mimic the design of the iOS and/or Android platform in the website.

  • In the case of the iOS platform, this means that all website content appears as it would appear on an iPhone or iPad. It has the blue title bar, the gray header which indicates signal strength and battery (of course, the battery indicator does not make much sense on the website).
  • In the case of the Android platform, this means that the buttons appear in the same gray/green design as on any Android device.

I'm not yet sure about the details, but I hope you get the direction I want to take.

My question is: Am I infringing some copyright? Specifically, does Apple object to websites which are using parts of the iOS UI design? I mean, the web site's purpose and content is strongly linked to iPhones and such.

  • You can create a look alike design but it should be different in color and style so apple wont mind i guess. – Jack Mar 13 '12 at 10:47
  • Yes, I hope so. But do they mind if I use the same color and style? After all, it's kind of advertising for their platform. Also, do they have the legal means to prevent me from using their design? – cheesus SO stop harming Monica Mar 13 '12 at 14:01
  • That would be hard to comment, wait for the senior's such as @alan,farray,laurenipsum da01 they guys have pretty good view's on the same. soon you'll get a good response – Jack Mar 13 '12 at 16:21
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Legally, yes, you are copying protected IP. In this case, it'd likely be a form of 'trade dress' or, possibly patent infringement.

Would Apple or Google sue? Likely not. Your use could even be argued as fair use (though whether you have the financial ability to argue it in court is another issue).

Context is everything, of course.

All that said, I'd rethink this from a UX perspective. What are you gaining by 'faking' the UI in a web site? I imagine this could be more confusing for users.

  • Thank you! I do not have the financial ability to argue anything in court. But if Apple or Google want me to change the design, I would do so ASAP. Can they still sue me? Like, they tell me to change the design, I change it immediately, can they still sue me? Could I argue that I did not know they object to it, since they did not contact me earlier? – cheesus SO stop harming Monica Mar 13 '12 at 17:28
  • "Can they still sue me?" At least in the US, anyone can sue anyone. Kind of how our system works (for better and worse). In reality, I doubt you'd get sued, and, if anything, just get the cease and desist letter. But that's just my non-lawyer speculation. – DA01 Mar 13 '12 at 17:58
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    Even if Apple did not sue it seems to me that having gained enough knowledge to know that it is not right without permission and still continuing on with the project that way would cancel any argument you had in saying "Could I argue that I did not know they object to it, since they did not contact me earlier?" since it is clearly posted here that you do have knowledge to an extent. – Kate Mar 13 '12 at 18:36
  • Thank you, this answers my question. I do not think they would sue me, but I won't risk finding out. – cheesus SO stop harming Monica Mar 13 '12 at 22:03
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According to Apple.. yes: Apple's legal stuff You can't use Apple to sell non-Apple products. That includes Apple's "Trade dress" or look-and-feel.

I don't know about Android but I suspect there's a similar document somewhere for Google.

  • I’m not sure I agree. “7. Apple’s Trade Dress: You may not imitate the distinctive Apple packaging, web site design, logos, or typefaces.” They don’t mention their human interface here. They make their human interface guidelines available for developers so that people adhere to them. I think you can use them, but add some personnalisations to make it feel like your own. Though, the Human Interface Guidelines are for iOS and Mac apps, so it may be a gray zone. – user2985898 Jun 29 at 23:32

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