The iMac G3’s design earned praise from many in the industry, with two companies so impressed they attempted to copy it with their own products.
Daewoo and Future Power announced a computer called the ePower. The blue, rounded, all-in-one design would look familiar, as this image shows:
In 1999, eMachines joined the race and released the eOne, a machine that attempted to copy the success of Apple’s iMac by using as much blue plastic as they could find:
Apple sued eMachines and Future Power, stating that their designs were too close to the iMac’s and claiming they were trying to sell computers by capitalizing on the merits of Apple’s work. I’m not sure if anyone was actually confused by the differences, but Apple wasn’t happy. Here’s Steve Jobs:
There is an unlimited number of original designs that eMachines could have created for their computers, but instead they chose to copy Apple’s designs. We’ve invested a lot of money and effort to create and market our award-winning computer designs, and we intend to protect them under the law.
Future Power settled with Apple, but continued to ship all-in-one machines. Likewise, eMachines was allowed to sell a redesigned all-in-one computer. In short, the courts ruled that this was a color-scheme issue, as US District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled:
There are many ways in which modern lines, bright colors and translucent plastics might be combined in the design of a personal computer. Any of these combinations is available to Apple’s competitors, so long as the combination selected is not so similar in appearance to the iMac as to infringe on Apple’s trade dress rights.
Of course, neither company is making computers — or anything — today.