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Apple got caught doctoring images of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to make them look more iPad-like.  (Source: icanhascheezburger)

The images helped Apple secure a ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales in Europe.  (Source: Webwereld)
Apple just might have confused EU regulators into their Galaxy Tab 10.1 ban

It looks like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has become Google Inc.'s (GOOG) latest foe to commit a legal blunder.

Webwereld.nl, the Dutch counterpart to Computerworld, was poking around in Apple's case files in its lawsuit [1][2] against Android device maker Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (SEO:005930), when it noticed something interesting.  An "exhibit" showed how similar the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 appeared -- but something wasn't quite right.

The Galaxy Tab was stretched via Photoshop or some image editor to look like it had the same dimensions as the iPad 2. The Galaxy Tab was reduced from a 1.46 aspect ratio (for the tablet, no the display) down to a more iPad-like 1.36.  The iPad has an aspect ratio of 1.30.

Given that a number of Apple's claims of infringement center around claims that Samsung copied its patented iPad design, this is a pretty serious problem.  Apple's claim that the products look "practically identical" is a lot more plausible if the Galaxy Tab 10.1 happens to be photoshopped to look more iPad-like.

EU lawyer Arnout Groen, a lawyer with the Dutch firm Klos Morel Vos & Schaap, suggests the mistake may be costly for Apple, stating, "This is a blunder. That such a 'mistake' is made in a case about design rights can scarcely be a coincidence. ... The aspect ratio of the alleged Galaxy Tab is clearly distorted to match the iPad more closely. Inasmuch as this faux pas will have consequences for the case is of course up to the judge. But at least a reprimand by the German judge seems to be in order."

A White Plains, New York career criminal's 2010 attempts to photoshop himself into images of volunteer work earned him over 23 years in prison.  It is unknown what penalties might be in store for Apple for its own digital doctoring in this civil case.

It is also unknown whether the erroneous image was included in lawsuits filed by Apple in other international courts.

Apple chief executive and co-founder, Steven P. Jobs has bragged about his mastery of stealing ideas from others, stating [video], "Picasso had a saying - 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." 

Mr. Jobs contends Android handset makers like Samsung, HTC, and Motorola should not be allowed to "steal" the iPad and iPhone's patented looks and designs.  

Apple has succeeded in banning sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, for the time being, in Australia and in the European Union.  Samsung will appeal the European Union ban in court on August 25.

Apple appears to have the dubious distinction of joining the likes of Viacom, Inc. (VNV), whose copyright infringement case against Google was dashed when it was revealed that Viacom employees themselves uploaded some of the infringed content to Google's YouTube, and Oracle Corp. (ORCL), whose patent infringement case against Google's Android was hampered when a deleted corporate blog post surfaced in which Sun's former CEO appeared to okay the use.  Either Google has the skills of a magician when it comes to pulling legal rabbits out of the hat, or Google's foes are a bumbling bunch, depending on how you want to look at it.

In related news Google recently acquired Motorola Mobility, Inc. (MMI) in a blockbuster deal worth $12.5B USD.  The deal gives Google access to 17,000 patents, which it can use to defend its Android partners.  Aside from Samsung, both Motorola and HTC Corp. (SEO:066570) -- the other two of Android's top three -- are also being sued [1][2][3].





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