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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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RE: Apple hate!
By nocturne_81 on 9/8/2011 12:08:58 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sure there are many who took a rational approach, considered their options, and settled on the iPad. A vast minority I'm sure, but they have to exist...

I've only known 3 people who purchased an iPad.. one with the initial release, the other two standing in line the day the iPad 2 was released. All 3 -- can't figure out what to do with it. They all played around a bit with them, dragged them around as a totable status symbol; but all three finally opted to just leave it at home to collect dust like an expensive toy in which they lost interest, and returned to poking away at their iPhones..

RE: Apple hate!
By Tony Swash on 9/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: Apple hate!
By semiconshawn on 9/8/2011 8:07:04 PM , Rating: 3
Market share of Apple tablets is shrinking. Quickly. Phone share down as well. Thats not to say they wont sell a billion phones and tablets. They however do not seem to be content with being the single biggest handset/tablet maker, highest valued company in the world with hundreds of millions of extremely loyal customers and more money in the bank than the United States Treasury. No thats not acceptable they want to be the ONLY smartphone/tablet maker and dictate everyones mobile experience. This shouldnt just bother me and others who are not fans of the company it should bother you as well.

RE: Apple hate!
By Black1969ta on 9/9/2011 12:09:43 AM , Rating: 2
And the beauty of it is that those same three will go out and kill to buy the next iCrap item to go with their iPhone and iPad(2) that is where Apple thrives, selling to people who Impulse buy, aka Status symbols.

RE: Apple hate!
By MozeeToby on 9/8/2011 5:39:48 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I can't say much about the iPad but I did snag a TouchPad when the price was right and I've been pleasantly surprised by how much I've used it. Games, browsing, YouTube, messaging, and email in the most convenient form factor imaginable as far as portability while still be quite usable (as opposed to a smartphone).

RE: Apple hate!
By GotThumbs on 9/12/2011 1:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
Sweet! I would have so loved to get in on that purchase as well. I think HP's price cut and rise in demand should clue other tablet makers to beat Apple with competitive pricing.

Enjoy your touchpad. I have a Xoom through work and its a great tool.

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