Print 15 comment(s) - last by Adam M.. on Nov 20 at 6:59 PM

It's unclear whether Apple will sue Samsung again to block the new design

It's been two months since Germany dropped the ban hammer on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. A Germany court ruled that the tablet, manufactured by South Korea's Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) was too similar to the Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad in its minimalist design.  The judge found Samsung to be in violation of Apple's design patents.  This differed from Apple's other legal victories over Samsung -- an Australian ban and a Netherlands ban on Galaxy Tab sales -- which were due to technology, not design patents.

Since then Samsung has been rushing feverishly to modify the design in an effort to escape the German ban.  It finally has a finished product in the form of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 "N".

The N variant will have a revamped frame (e.g. the lip around the touchscreen) and the speaker position will be changed.  Samsung comments to Reuters, "We modified the model to reflect Apple's claims."

The move follows comments at the AsiaD conference by Samsung's Won-Pyo Hong, executive VP of product strategy.  During his speech, Mr. Hong said his company was looking to modify its products to escape Apple's design and technology IP infringement claims in 2012.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (original design) [Images Source: 9to5Google]

Samsung had previously removed a GUI animation from its distribution of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system in order to negate the ban in the Netherlands.

It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to satisfy Apple.  Apple's lawyers have exerted in so many words the opinion that they should be the only company legally authorized to produce "minimalist" tablets (the word minimalist here is specifically taken from a German judge's summary of the Apple lawyer's more verbose claims).  Thus it's unclear exactly how far Samsung and others will have to modify their products to escape bans in regions that side with Apple.

Samsung and Apple are currently trading blows in an international legal war [1][2][3][4] [5][6][7][8].  Samsung sells more smartphones than Apple, but Apple sells more tablets that Samsung.  Both companies occupy the #1 and #2 spots in global sales in these crucial electronics markets.

Apple recently gained another piece of legal ammo, patenting swipe unlocking in the U.S.  The company was fortunate that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office turned a blind eye to the multitude of prior art and decided to rubber stamp the patent, as it has done with other previous Apple patents, such as the controversial patent on multi-touch gestures.

Source: Reuters

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Oooh your car has four wheels!
By masamasa on 11/17/2011 11:06:23 AM , Rating: 5
Sorry, we own the four wheel car so you're gonna have to go with 3 or 5. Apple blows chunks!

RE: Oooh your car has four wheels!
By AssBall on 11/17/2011 12:55:48 PM , Rating: 4
Your car carries people in it, sorry, we patented that.

RE: Oooh your car has four wheels!
By borismkv on 11/17/2011 1:42:25 PM , Rating: 4
Your car has windows that go up. And down. We own that.

RE: Oooh your car has four wheels!
By Aloonatic on 11/17/2011 1:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
Just be grateful that they don't work in the biotech or pharma industries.

They'd patent being healthy :o)

Flame War
By cjohnson2136 on 11/17/2011 10:34:38 AM , Rating: 1
Let the flame war begin......GO

RE: Flame War
By AssBall on 11/17/2011 10:39:52 AM , Rating: 2
Tablets are pointless... who cares anyway.

Did I do it right?

RE: Flame War
By Iaiken on 11/17/2011 10:50:29 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Flame War
By Camikazi on 11/17/2011 3:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
Hey it's Tywin!

By Visual on 11/18/2011 4:58:05 AM , Rating: 3
I wonder if it is possible to sue a judge or a jury or a court for being stupid and coming up with a retarded verdict.

RE: countersue!
By Dr of crap on 11/18/2011 9:20:42 AM , Rating: 2
If it could be most of the cases in the last 30 some years would be in question.

I believe there sould be some "screening court" to filter out the not making sense suits or against commone sense rules, and keeping the courts from being clogged up with stupid things.

But I digress, common sense has no place in our court system or political process.

My new patent!
By Joz on 11/17/2011 10:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
Touching a screen to perform computer functions on a rectangular device no larger then (however large an ipad is, plus a few millimeters)

I just patented, touching.

Bite my hairy, pasty, white, ass.

RE: My new patent!
By masamasa on 11/17/2011 11:06:43 AM , Rating: 2

Changing history.
By drycrust3 on 11/17/2011 1:48:56 PM , Rating: 1
This differed from Apple's other legal victories over Samsung -- an Australian ban and a Netherlands ban on Galaxy Tab sales -- which were due to technology, not design patents.

It sounds far more logical that the Australian ban was for copyright violations (e.g. say Samsung had copied iOS), for patent violations (e.g. say Samsung had been taken to court by the Elographics Corporation for violating their patent on a computer screen that is touch sensitive), or because Samsung violated some sort of Australian import licence agreement (say Apple had bought the licence to sell Samsung products in Australia).
Recently there was a Daily Tech article about this ban, and it seemed to be that patents were pretty prominent in the evidence. Why would patents be used as evidence in a court case unless there was a claim of patent violation?
Anyway, I think the idea of patenting "a gesture" while touching a screen is absurd. A gesture is a non-contacting hand movement that conveys information and is perceived from a distance or remotely (e.g. visually). To me, what Apple patented was the ability of a capacitive screen to detect a finger moving above the screen surface, not one that is contacting the screen, or to use the smartphone camera to detect a hand movement as a "password". Looking at some of the other patents they sited in their Australian patent application, it seems to me this idea of detecting a finger moving across a computer screen is covered by patents that belong to other companies.

RE: Changing history.
By redbone75 on 11/17/2011 2:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
it seems to me this idea of detecting a finger moving across a computer screen is covered by patents that belong to other companies.

No, no, you must stop this. There is no room for common sense or logic in any discussion that concerns Apple. Move along.

Killing creativity.
By Adam M on 11/20/2011 6:59:40 PM , Rating: 2
I understand companies need to protect their intellectual property and need to keep new keep this information in order to compete. That being said I will never buy an Apple product simply because they keep trying to lay claim to normal interaction between people and their devices. It is ridiculous to sue another company because the end user naturally swipes, pinches or other wise touches their touch screen product. By its very nature any tablet is and should have a minimalistic designed. I think Samsung has a valid argument that we have been seeing these ideas in science fiction for years. Is Apple going to posthumously sue Gene Rodenberry?

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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