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Ban is rejected, judges say no one is mistaking Samsung's tablets for Apple ones

U.S. Design Patent D504,889 and its corresponding patents in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere have stirred up a lively debate about patent law in relation to competition.  The Apple, Inc. (AAPL) design patent contains precious little text, so it's left to Apple's lawyers to interpret it, and is up to international courts to decide how broad the protected design space is.

I. Does D'889 Grant Apple a Monopoly?

Apple claims D'889 is essentially a blank check to a tablet monopoly.  While the pictured device in the 2004-era patent:

Apple D'889 patent

...has no buttons and is substantially different from the iPad in bezel size and form factor, Apple says none of that matters.  It says it has "invented" the minimalist tablet  -- in Apple's words a tablet with "slightly rounded corners,'" "a flat transparent surface without any ornamentation," and "a thin profile" -- and that competitors should not be allowed to produce rival designs of any size.  The only unspoken exception is Windows 8 tablets, as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) owns a favorable cross-licensing deal with Apple.

In the U.S., Apple's claims of monopoly ownership were backed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit who decided in a May 14th ruling [PDF] that Apple's design patent was valid and that Samsung infringed on it. The ruling led to Judge Lucy Koh in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose/San Francisco) to institute a nationwide sales ban on Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930) Galaxy Tab 10.1, despite her personal opinion that the patent was invalid.

Overseas in Britain, Apple's broad claims met a far different fate.  Judge Colin Birss stroked Apple's ego, while offering it a stinging court defeat.

II. UK Judge Rejects Design Infringement Claims

He writes, "[The Galaxy Tab line] do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design... They are not as cool."

Despite the kind words, the Judge says that 50+ examples of prior art both in the industry and in fictional works show that Apple's 2004 idea was hardly "original".  The Judge considered it ludicrous that Samsung be expected to differentiate the front of its device, given that extra face buttons hinder the user interface and that the hardware form factor is almost entirely constrained by the multi-touch display, an industry standard.

Judge Birss says where tablets need to differentiate themselves is in the back face and profile.  He found that "unusual details" on the back of the Samsung devices, as well as a thinner profile, made them trivially distinguishable from the iPad.

Galaxy Tab v. iPad
The Galaxy Tab (left) is substantially different from the iPad (right) according to a UK Judge.  
[Image Source: Gadgets and Gizmos]

In short, he argued that Apple's lawyers were completely wrong in their argument that customers would confuse the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for iPads.

His ruling means that there will be no bans and no damages on a design basis.  A London court previously ruled that three of Apple's most-asserted EU technology patents were invalid on the grounds of obviousness and prior art, while a fourth was too narrow to sue Samsung and others.

Apple has 21 days to appeal the ruling to higher courts in the UK.  Otherwise it risks a complete loss in its UK efforts to kill Android in court.  Such a loss could spell a permanent end to the company's slew of suits in the European Union.

Amid the losses in the EU, Apple's bet at banning the competition may be in the U.S. However, it faces some tough tests, such as Judge Richard A. Posner who argues that the U.S. patent system is broken and that Apple is using the broken system to its advantage as a weapon to kill free market competition.

Source: Bloomberg

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RE: separated at birth
By Pirks on 7/9/2012 5:34:03 PM , Rating: 5
Apple releases the iPod. Soon all mp3 players start to look like the iPod
Lies, my Sansa player never looked like any iPod out there
Windows Phone - which isn't actually bought by anyone
Lies, there are about 15 million users of Windows Phone right now.
Apple releases the iPhone. Soon all phones start to look like the iPhone
Lies, a BlackBerry handset with hardware keyboard doesn't look like iPhone, any other Android slider doesn't look like iPhone, Dell Venue Pro, which is a Windows Phone slider, is also very different from iPhone.
Apple releases the MacBook Air. Soon all lightweight laptops start to look like the MacBook Air
Lies, my lightweight 15" Sony Vaio S (lighter than MBP 15") is nothing like any Macbook, and lightweight Samsung 15" ultrabook is also nothing like any Macbook. My ultraportable Asus UL80VT with unbelievable for Macolyte battery life of FOURTEEN HOURS is as far from Macbook as it gets.
Apple releases the iPad. OEMs rush to release me-too tablets
Lies, BlackBerry Playbook looks and feels different and way better than iPad.
If Apple releases an iPad mini later this year all smaller tablets will start to look like the iPad mini
Lies, if Apple rips off Playbook and releases something as slick and comfortable in 7" form factor then brainwashed consumers will flock to the stores to buy the Apple logo for double the price while non-brainwashed ones were buying that stuff much earlier for half the Apple price.
Are there any original design department left amongst the OEMs or did the taste and design free years of the old Microsoft hegemony gut the tech industry of creative designers?
If MS Surface is not creative enough for you you need help Tony ;)
Tim says he doesn’t want Apple to be the “developer for the world.”
You equate the world with Samsung but Samsung is not the world. If Samsung rips off some Apple designs doesn't mean the whole industry does.

RE: separated at birth
By Tony Swash on 7/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: separated at birth
By Pirks on 7/9/2012 6:59:09 PM , Rating: 3
Well... BB 10 phone to be released Q1 2013 is also going to have a hardware keyboard, at least one of them. The other with full touch screen is also not going to look an iPhone clone, you just have to use QNX on Playbook to understand why.

RE: separated at birth
By retrospooty on 7/9/2012 7:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
Pot, you leave Kettle alone.

Kettle, you stop teasing!

RE: separated at birth
By Pirks on 7/9/2012 8:02:59 PM , Rating: 2
Thorsten Heins has experience with turnarounds. He was at Siemens running the optical transport division at a time when it was losing money. It had an aged portfolio, outdated, under heavy attack from Chinese competitors, and he turned it around. Two years later, it turned profitable, and then it became the most profitable division of Siemens.

heheheee :) so who you calling pot, son? I'll listen to your babble the moment you turned at least ONE corporate division around. bye now troll! :P

RE: separated at birth
By retrospooty on 7/10/2012 8:05:29 AM , Rating: 3
I was referring to the blind idiocy you both hold so dear. It's just funny to see you both going at it. Thus pot and kettle via blind fanboyism.

RE: separated at birth
By Pirks on 7/10/2012 3:37:53 PM , Rating: 2
I have shown you a quote about RIM CEO above, that quote proves that idiocy holding troll here is you, I have at least some foundation to base my opinion on.

RE: separated at birth
By retrospooty on 7/10/2012 6:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
mmm hmmm... good luck with that.

RE: separated at birth
By geddarkstorm on 7/10/2012 12:38:38 PM , Rating: 2
Tony Swash and Pirks battling it out... Now I really have seen everything!

For some reason I can't stop picturing some sort of WWE female mudwrestling to describe these two.

RE: separated at birth
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/10/2012 12:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
Battle of the Dumbasses, tonight on WWE RAW!

RE: separated at birth
By Pirks on 7/10/2012 3:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
with a cheese clown being stomped upon multiple times in the process :P

RE: separated at birth
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/10/2012 4:07:05 PM , Rating: 2
Great comeback! Not. It's really a shame that being a moron such as your self isn't considered child abuse. It's pretty pathetic a kid has to grow up with you as a father.

RE: separated at birth
By Pirks on 7/10/2012 5:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
Ya I'll teach him how to pwn morons like you who can't even do their clown duties properly hehehe :)))

RE: separated at birth
By SlyNine on 7/9/2012 7:01:48 PM , Rating: 1
Which also makes you retarded, considering its just a rectangular device with a touch screen. How are they fucking supposed to look??? Is Goodyear supposed to be dammed for coping the shape of a wheel for its tires.

You act like its some great innovation. Just like their airbooks, They are just THIN laptops, What the F$%K are they supposed to look like???

RE: separated at birth
By marsovac on 7/10/2012 9:56:58 AM , Rating: 1
Soon all phones sold my companies with a chance of surviving start to look like the iPhone


* copy Apple or DIE *

your reasoning:

* still should not copy Apple *



RE: separated at birth
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/10/2012 12:58:19 PM , Rating: 2
He's a moron, don't listen to him.

RE: separated at birth
By swizeus on 7/10/2012 1:28:24 PM , Rating: 1
I really hope I'll be able to add another reputation to your comment. Tony is just way too Apple Zealot and takes others like a piece of shit that can't do anything without apple inventing it first. Pleaseee

Even Samsung MP3 Players never been close to any Apple music player, and they sound better, not troublesome when you have to convert MP3 to whatever apple likes it to play (and get you error when it says there is something wrong with your MP3 while the MP3 itself is fine)

I really interested in iPad. Very good battery, awesome display, only 1 thing, they don't support industry standard of Adobe Flash. No Thanks !

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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