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The Galaxy S (pictured) is outselling Apple's iPhone in Japan, but Apple hopes to change that by banning its competitor from the market.  (Source: Japan Now)

Those tricky devils! Somehow movie makers traveled back in time 37 years to infringe upon Apple's patented iPad design, which it fantasized in 2005, finally figuring out how to produce it commercially five years later.  (Source: Cinerama)
Samsung is outselling Apple, but Apple hopes lawyers will succeed in restricting market selection

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has a very big problem.  It can't compete with the superior hardware and broader selection of devices running Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system.  But its large legal staff has devised a clever solution -- it will try to kill Android in court [1][2][3][4][5].

I. In the Court of the Rising Sun

Apple's quest to remove its competitor from the market has now taken it to the "Land of the Rising Sun", Japan.  In Japan, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, top Android handset maker Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (SEO 005930) Galaxy S smartphone has been outselling Apple's iPhone.  But Apple's lawyers have a plot to change that situation.

News broke late yesterday that a couple weeks back Apple filed yet another lawsuit against Samsung, this time seeking to ban Japanese sales of the company's bestselling Galaxy S and Galaxy S II smartphones, as well as the new Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet.

The new Japanese suit, filed Aug. 23, makes the familiar accusation that Samsung "slavishly" copied Apple's smart phones and tablets.  It seeks 100 million yen ($1.3M USD) in damages and a complete sales ban.  

Apple initiated the court battle, suing Samsung in multiple courts in the U.S., Australia, South Korea, and Europe.  Samsung responded by counter-suing in these regions.  It was in fact Samsung who struck first in Japan, filing suit in April.  Samsung is looking to fight fire with fire and is asking for a ban on iPhone and iPad sales.

Sources we've spoken to close to Samsung indicate that the device maker does not truly wish to restrict consumers selection, rather they hope that a potential sales ban would force Apple to drop its questionable lawsuits out of self-interest and let consumers decide which company's products are victorious.

II. Does Apple Own the Exclusive Right to Make Smart Phones and Tablets?

Apple claims to own exclusive rights to produce any modern smartphone or tablet, claiming ownership of all multi-touch in mobile devices and all thin, rectangular minimalist mobile device designs.

Apple has been granted design patents in many regions that appear to grant it sweeping ownership of minimalist tablet designs.  In short the patents declare Apple to own exclusive rights to making thin rectangular tablets with a minimalist single (homescreen) button design.  

Apple was granted the design patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2005.  Apple would not be able to produce its vision commercially until five years later in 2010.

Similarly, Apple claims to own exclusive rights to develop multi-touch devices.  It was granted a patent on multi-touch in mobile devices, despite the fact that Myron Krueger and the University of Toronto developed and published papers on virtually equivalent technology almost 25 years prior to Apple producing its first multi-touch device (the iPhone).  

III. Outlook for Apple's Plot is Mixed

Apple's plans may be in jeopardy given a recent Netherlands court ruling, the first major decision in the case.  The judge in that case rejected Apple's claims of owning exclusive rights to the tablet design and multi-touch as ridiculous.  He wrote, "There was no violation by Samsung on any of Apple's design or copyright..."

The judge essentially handed Samsung a victory, declaring that it only infringed on one minor patent that dealt with a feature in Android's Gallery application.  The verdict cleared Samsung to continue sales in Netherlands, much to Apple's chagrin.

Apple has succeed in securing temporary sales bans in Germany and Australia.  The Australian case will be decided September 26, while the German case should be decided tomorrow, September 9.

If Apple can't topple Android's top handset and tablet makers with lawsuits its hopes of being the market's top player look bleak.  Reports indicate that Android is outselling Apple nearly 5-to-2 globally, a gap which is widening with every passing month.  

Meanwhile Apple has seen its tablet market share plunge from approximately 94 percent to 61 percent in a year, while Android has risen from 3 percent to 30 percent over the same period.  Most expect Android to soon pass Apple in tablet market share as Apple continues to stick to limited product selection (just a single product in the tablet market, in fact) and a sluggish release schedule (one new design per year).

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By Flunk on 9/8/2011 10:27:14 AM , Rating: -1
This entire thing does nothing but color my judgement on Apple Inc. I would expect a company like Apple to behave better than this.

RE: Atrocious
By R3T4rd on 9/8/2011 10:36:29 AM , Rating: 5
Seriously? Where have you been?

RE: Atrocious
By Souka on 9/8/2011 1:02:13 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, here's a question... who invented the iPhone?

If you said Apple...wrong.

Cisco invented, and patented it before Apple.....but no worries, Apple's lawyers took care of that problem.


RE: Atrocious
By adiposity on 9/8/2011 7:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
I think you mean, they (and by "they," you mean "Infogear," who was acquired by Cisco) used the term "iPhone" first. To say they invented "the iPhone" is a bit confusing, since they did not invent the "Apple iPhone" or anything like it.

The Cisco/Linksys iPhones were not cellular phones, and in 2007 Cisco and Apple reached an agreement, the result of which was, Cisco stopped calling their phone an iPhone.

A pic of one of the Linksys iPhone models:

RE: Atrocious
By therealnickdanger on 9/8/2011 10:59:48 AM , Rating: 5
Apple is behaving no different than my 5 year old niece. She can't win a game of Old Maid, so she changes the rules to claim victory. Even if you let her win graciously, she'll still gloat about it. She also believes in magic, unicorns, and fairytales.

... oh no, she's going to become a Mac user!

RE: Atrocious
By MrBlastman on 9/8/2011 11:13:43 AM , Rating: 4
You're screwed man. Once she becomes a member of the cult, there's no way to free her from their clutches. ;)

Not even a solid regime of de-programming (a la Jim Jones days) will save her. Sadly, the only solution to the Apple plague is to destroy all the devices. No, Ray Bradbury, this time it would be for good, not a detriment to humanity.

Apple is literally acting no better than a pissed off child that lost a round of the spelling bee. Instead of "Trying Harder," they "Sue Harder," which is really... "Crying Harder."

RE: Atrocious
By therealnickdanger on 9/8/2011 10:59:48 AM , Rating: 2
Apple is behaving no different than my 5 year old niece. She can't win a game of Old Maid, so she changes the rules to claim victory. Even if you let her win graciously, she'll still gloat about it. She also believes in magic, unicorns, and fairytales.

... oh no, she's going to become a Mac user!

RE: Atrocious
By therealnickdanger on 9/8/2011 11:00:30 AM , Rating: 2
Double post? How'd that happen? It must really have been important.

RE: Atrocious
By Uncle on 9/8/2011 12:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
These are the new Economic Wars that your witnessing. One Country's Corporation vs another Country's Corporation. Rather this, then flexing of the Military Muscle.:) One doesn't spend billions on patents unless your going to flex your Corporate Muscle.:)

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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