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back to article Apple blocks sale of Samsung's Android fondleslab across EU

Apple has won a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab fondleslab across almost all of the European Union. The Samsung tablet went on sale in Britain just last week. According to a Google Translation of a report from German news agency dpa, the Regional Court of Dusseldorf has granted …

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FAIL

So quickly we forget history, and are destined to re-live it

The IBM-PC architecture became a standard, and fueled the growth of an entire industry, including Apple, specifically because Tandon and Compaq 'copied' significant parts of it, including the BIOS ROMs. Social gatherings in my hot-tub often turned to inter-company discussions of new BIOS design features.

Do we see here that Apple is claiming that all subsequent similarly functioning pieces of hardware have to use different chips? What is this? Another example of the Judicial branch not understanding technology, or a statement that incremental innovation is no longer acceptable?

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@Dr Trevor Marshall

No, that's not at all what the suit is about. If you do some research you'll find out that they are accusing them of some design patents and trade dress, which has little to do with the chips used.

Samsung's copying of Apple's devices is different than Compaq's reverse-engineering of the BIOS.

-dZ.

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well, it's not hw

it's the looks what this patent talks about not chips

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Title

It could be construed as Apple seeing the writing on the wall - since it no longer has the monopoly on fondleworthy phones and tablets, and perhaps can only see evolution rather than revolution in its future models in these markets, it's resorting to other means to try to maintain its advantage for as long as possible.

Or in other words, 'we can't think of a better idea that'll sell, so we'll try to stop anyone else selling their version instead'.

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IT Angle

"Social gatherings in my hot-tub..."

...turned to "discussions of new BIOS design features"

Please tell me that said hot-tub was full of nerdet lady-geeks who found this sort of thing soooo sexy?

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How quickly our resident historian forgets the true history of the IBM PC

IBM thought that they would only sell 60,000 of them, so they used cheap off-the-shelf parts and didn't insist on exclusivity for MS-DOS. It had two points in it's favour: it had an IBM badge (so the IT departments of the time would consider it) and it was one of the first 16 bit machines (admittedly a pretty poor 16 bit CPU, but definitely less limited than it's 8 bit brethren).

When it turned out to be a success and the clone makers came piling in IBM were somewhat limited in what they could defend. The bus was an open spec, the CPU, drives and MS-DOS were legally sold to all and sundry and the only thing that they could protect was the BIOS ROMs, which were being copied wholesale. IBM sued lots of companies over this and it lead to the creation of legal clone ROMs that were clean-room engineered to be both compatible and not infringe on IBMs copyrights.

Skip forward to today, Apple have two lines of attack against the cloners. Firstly they have registered designs. If the clone looks too much like an Apple product (and it doesn't matter what's under the hood) then they can fall foul of this (which is what the German court has provisionally held against the Galaxy Tab 10.1). Secondly Apple have patents on aspects of how their devices work. These aren't all valid everywhere (software patents aren't generally valid in Europe for example) but mean that the cloners need to try to engineer their way around them to produce non-infringing systems. Until they can clear both of these hurdles they are going to be seeing quite a lot of Apple's lawyers.

This is not about using different chips or removing "similar" functionality, or even copyright infringement, it's about making the clones sufficiently different from Apple's offerings, and the judicial branch understand that rather well.

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Joke

Pasta

"He he forgets da pasta, isa doomed to reheat it"

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Re: How quickly our resident historian forgets the true history of the IBM PC

"This is not about using different chips or removing "similar" functionality, or even copyright infringement, it's about making the clones sufficiently different from Apple's offerings, and the judicial branch understand that rather well."

Given that even basic digital picture frames resemble Apple's fondleslab in significant ways, why should Apple be given monopoly rights to the way their product looks? It's flat, shiny and has a big screen: backslapping terms like "registered design" merely obscure the fact that it's yet another landgrab by an organisation who doesn't want competition.

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@AC 13:29

Registered designs relate to a class of things. If you come up with a lamp stand shaped like a coke bottle (and lacking the Coca Cola logo) then you're not infringing their design. Add to that I've yet to see one of these mythic photo frames that looks like an iPad (they tend to have square corners, a lack of buttons on the front, are noticeably thicker and lack ports like a headphone socket).

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Pot; may in introduce you to the kettle?

"Samsung's copying of Apple's devices is different than Compaq's reverse-engineering of the BIOS."

But very similar to Apples copying of the mouse/GUI developed by Xerox and others huh?

And very similar to Apples copying of the logo used by Apple Music (you remember, the company with which Apple Computers signed a agreement with promising not to become involved in the music distribution industry).

Welcome to the IT industry, it is based on copying.

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Mushroom

Re: @AC 13:29

"Add to that I've yet to see one of these mythic photo frames that looks like an iPad (they tend to have square corners, a lack of buttons on the front, are noticeably thicker and lack ports like a headphone socket)."

And is this really worthy of a monopoly? "Yes, I've ticked all the boxes and it definitely has a headphone socket, so stop selling all your products at once, Mr Samsung!" If Samsung had nicked the gear to make the cases, maybe there'd be some justified indignation, but instead all we hear is "Waaah, he copied me, Miss!"

Sheesh!

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Samsung is starting to get a clue

"The South Korean manufacturer has apparently agreed to modify the tablet before it comes on sales Down Under."

This is what the Japanese did untill the 70's, copy western tech and produce a lower priced and usualy crappy imitation. Then they got a clue that developing your own tech had higher margins, it's also about that time that they started giving a damm about IP. I see an out of court deal between samsung and Apple (thats samsung gives apple money) and then Samsung buying some design studios. All they need is some balls and faith in themselves because they do produce some good tech.

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Mushroom

Re: Samsung is starting to get a clue

"All they need is some balls and faith in themselves because they do produce some good tech."

Yes, let's be condescending to all those Asian people - that's what you're saying. Unfortunately, I have to interrupt your ill-informed rant by telling you that Apple would be waiting for Intel to give them some Atom-related goods and waiting to rebadge some Taiwanese products if it weren't for Samsung and the like stuffing the iToys with their technology, including stuff actually licensed from ARM (to burst your little "IP" tantrum).

In the line for clue you should be hurried to the front.

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No need to be condescending

Fact: IPR is widely ignored and imperiously flouted in Asia.

Fact: Living here reinforces this fact every day

Fact: Samsung are extremely large and extremely competent technology company

Fact: Samsung are a massive consumer goods company and produce some very cool stuff and unique stuff.

Opinion: Samsung were in a hurry because they missed the boat, and decided to copy Apple's lead a little too closely (read direct copy) because (a) they were in a hurry and (b) the culture of disrespect for IPR in Asia generally means that they think they can get away with it.

Result: Apple feel that their products have been illegally copied and are asking a court to decide. Subsequently, the jury is out as to whether Samsung "copied" and/or whether they can "get away with it".

As for your misdirection post, well it is typical of commentards who cannot keep the facts straight and construct cogent thoughts. And keep your ignorant and faux PC disgust for yourself.

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Mushroom

Re: No need to be condescending

Clearly there is.

"As for your misdirection post, well it is typical of commentards who cannot keep the facts straight and construct cogent thoughts."

Misdirection indeed! However, I didn't argue that there are loads of factories producing a range of products which might infringe various people's "IP". I merely stated that Samsung don't really need your pep-talk. If you read up on Samsung - oh wait, I'm sure you wrote the official company history since you live in Asia (sheesh!) - you'll find that the company doesn't exactly need it.

"And keep your ignorant and faux PC disgust for yourself."

Who said anything about political correctness? I was merely pointing out that companies in Korea, Taiwan, China all manage to design and build stuff that's worthy of more than cries of "they copy western tech". They now lead the world in display technology, for example. I'm sure that Apple will sue them because some sketch on the back of a napkin somehow shows that Apple thought of some display technology or other, but the fact is that the likes of Apple go to them for such stuff (and a large amount of other stuff).

Big conglomerate sells luxury products worldwide and "think they can get away with it" where "it" is some vague copying accusation. If it weren't for the likes of Samsung, Apple Stores would feature people strutting around with cardboard versions of Apple's designs and punters would be paying an entrance fee for the sideshow.

Sheesh!

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So Apple thinks packaging can be patented too?

Forgive me as I wet myself laughing.

@ Dr. Trevor Marshall. All that happened before software patents and the silly business we have today. Apple is only doing what the law allows.

Wait for the day when Apple wins all these suits and your iTunes account is charged per stroke across your iPad2 surface.

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Anonymous Coward

Passing off?

Not a patent, but a design right for certain, which copying would basically be theft. Alternatively, and more likely, there could be an accusation of passing off - apple have trademarks, and if punters buy a competing product and are genuinely confused, that would be a good avenue for attack.

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Design????????????????

Did you look at the European "Community Design", signed off by a mister "Wubbo de Boar", that's design???????

It's prior art I say... that's only a rectangle with rounded corners.... from powerpoint 97

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I really...

have had more than enough of Apples bully-boy tactics.

Level the playing field: Dump ALL these patents into the sea, and let's see some fair fighting for a bloody change.

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Anonymous Coward

Patents?

No. This case is about Trade Dress - which you obviously don't understand.

read about it here.

http://yarbroughlaw.com/Publications/pubs%20patent2%20Recent%20Developments%20in%20Trade%20Dress.htm

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This is why Apple really need to be taken down

They do nothing but use their patent portfolio to stifle innovation and try to create a monopoly on technology that they were NOT the first to develop - tablets and touchscreen interfaces were around long before the iPad, for one example. They are litigious, monopolistic control freaks and those who support them are doing the world of computing a great disservice.

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Facepalm

Yeah

Those other tablet & touchscreen interfaced devices were selling so well that we hardly noticed the iPad arriving on the scene.

But of course you are completely right that they do absolutely nothing but use their patent portfolio to stifle innovation. Nothing at all. It's not like they develop or sell any actual products. Not at all.

And they haven't, for example, kick-started an entire market segment by introducing a product that brought together existing technologies in a novel way - such as actually working in a usable way.

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Holmes

Maybe it is because it is better than the iPad?

The iPad2 was an insignificant design improvement on the iPad1 - upping clock speed and screen specs is not innovation, it is "waiting for the competition to catch up". So here we are and surprisingly, the Cult takes umbrage.

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I think you might be paranoid

There doesn't seem to be any cult connection in this article at all. It's Apple the company pursuing Samsung the company. I don't even see anybody coming out here to defend Apple, which is unsurprising given the circumstances.

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Have you seen the galaxy review?

If you had bothered to read the review on Reghardware you'll see Samsung have blatantly copied Most of the iPad 2 Including it's limitations such as no sd card slot proprietary connectors and expansion.

Samsung in this instance is a blatant cloner and deserves a slap if only for the failure to innovate as much as the rest of the android crowd.

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Devil

Good time to be a Dutch trader

This was probably the most stupid thing Apple could have done. The Dutch are pastmasters at selling stuff across the border and this is virtually an incitement to German consumers to go "Dutch". It will get Samsung much more publicity than they would otherwise get and I don't see the injunction going very far. German courts are often quite happy to grant temporary injunctions.

According to Heise Apple defends the move claiming that Samsung "is abusing the reputation of the Ipad a well-known product with cult status". Yeah, right. Nobody thought of tablet computing before Apple?

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are you sure?

as far as i know there's a separate lawsuit in Holland, since they have different rules and different law. and as far as i know that should happen today.

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Incremental innovation?

Oh, is that what you call photocopying something and pasting your logo on it now?

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Not sueing over the workings

Apple are sueing over a 'trademark and design' patent - which is allowed in europe.

You can patent the vague shape of a device which a person would associate with you - so a coke bottle shape is obviously coca-cola and apparently a slab shaped tablet with a screen on the front is so obviously Apple that it must be infringing!

Now if only IBM had the sense to file a design patent on having the keyboard in front of the screen - they would have been able to block all subsequent PCs

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@Dr Trevor Marshall

Apple doesn't invent the laws it has to work with.

YOU do.

If you don't like the way IP laws are working today, the onus is on YOU, *the people*, to get off your apathetic arses and demand that they be changed. It is not Apple's job to do this.

Furthermore, this has f*ck all to do with IBM-compatible PCs. Compaq created a "clean-room" implementation of the old PC BIOS (look it up; it's not as simple as it sounds, and it was a massive risk). This avenue is, however, utterly irrelevant as Apple has NEVER relied on the old IBM-compatible BIOS still commonly found in Windows and Linux boxes. Even its Intel-based Macs use Intel's own (arguably superior) BIOS replacement.

"Do we see here that Apple is claiming that all subsequent similarly functioning pieces of hardware have to use different chips?"

Whoosh! And THERE goes the point RIGHT OVER Trevor's head!

Read the bloody article and its sources, before commenting upon that which you clearly no sod all about. This is about IP infringement. Making a tablet is one thing. Making a tablet that copies Apple's own work *right down to the packaging* is quite another.

If Samsung are found guilty—and this is not guaranteed—they will deserve everything they get. They're a big, grown-up, multinational corporation. They know what they were doing, and clearly hoped they'd get away with it. They got caught.

If it had been Microsoft, Oracle, or anyone else, instead of Apple, I'd still be supporting them. Apple did all the heavy lifting for their iDevices: they created a brand new platform with their iPad. They reinvented the smartphone, yanking the rug from under all their competitors who sneered that Apple would never succeed.

But the moment Apple (finally!) get some decent traction, the entire planet suddenly turns on them as if they'd made some kind of social faux pas by having the mere temerity to actually turn a decent profit! What the _hell_, people?

This is a wake-up call to the industry: do your own damned R&D, instead of sitting on your arses waiting for Google to do it for you. If you *truly* wanted Apple to fall, you have to beat them at their own game. Merely copying their products with "me-too!" tat isn't going to cut it.

Don't go crying "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home to the nearest blogger or pundit when Apple catch you copying their exam answers and you get seriously slapped down for it.

Fucking well INNOVATE, damn it! Give Apple a run for their money! Some *serious* competition! Give us punters something genuinely amazing, instead of this tired, uninspiring copycat rubbish.

Motorola: now there's a company that's got the hang of designing some cool-looking hardware. Want an iPad with a keyboard? Moto's got you covered. (Hello? Samsung? Learn, please.) Now if only they could get a grip on their software too.

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Trollface

Um...

So they created similar packaging? I imagine the Apple boardroom:

"Waaaaahhhhh! Waaaaahhhhh! They copied our packaging! That's OUR packaging! Only we have the right to fancy packaging!"

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Anonymous Coward

Read about Trade Dress

You will then see that copying Apple's packaging does leave you open to legal action.

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Anonymous Coward

"F***ng well INNOVATE"

Easy to see why you consider yourself a great writer !

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@sean

Aside from the fact your a committed fanboi do you actually read and believe what you post?

If we take your logic to its obvious conclusion then no one but Nokia should be making mobile phones.

I have laptops predating mac books therefore Apple shouldnt be allowed to make laptops!

Have you actually used the Samsung products? If so you would know they make the Apple units look clunky, the S2 is way better than the iPhone and the Galaxy Tab is an all round better product than the iPad.

Dont get me wrong, the Apple products are not bad products in there own right, but they have been left behind in terms of the capabilities that the hardware now provides.

They have innovated, and worked to produce something way better thats how progress works. In your apple utopia only one company would be allowed to provide manna to the masses and no one else would be able to.

In terms of the packaging a black box with a logo on it is hardly unique is it, Orange have been doing that for years perhaps they should sue Apple?

What these lawsuits really show is that Apple is seriously concerned about the co operative strength of Android and the ability for multiple competitors to enter the market with solid hardware and a functional OS and ecosystem to rival Apples.

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The packaging is an important part of the user experience

and therefore an important part of the product's appeal. Apple's packaging is unique and legendary, not "fancy", which anyone can do. When was the last time you saw designers huddled around a new non-Apple product because they were dying to see the new packaging?

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@Sean

"Apple doesn't invent the laws it has to work with. YOU do."

OMG, are you serious? Has there EVER been a time in all of History when any government took public opinion into account while drafting Patent and Copyright law?* It's always done behind closed doors between meetings of rightsholders and their lawyers, and the public interest be damned. If Apple didn't actually have a hand in drafting the laws it takes advantage of, it surely knows a man who did.

As Mark Twain pointed out more than a century ago, "If your vote counted, they wouldn't let you do it".

(* Ok, perhaps the EU took some notice of the public outcry when it was considering European software patents, but that was an anomaly.)

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Boffin

Re: @Dr Trevor Marshall

"Motorola: now there's a company that's got the hang of designing some cool-looking hardware. Want an iPad with a keyboard? Moto's got you covered."

Aren't Apple suing Motorola yet? Asus also do a tablet with a keyboard - the Transformer - so maybe we can expect a lawsuit against them as well.

Apple caught the phone makers napping and then supersized the iPhone to make the iPad - not exactly worthy of the hype, in my opinion, but the punters seemed to like it - but it looks like the company expected to be able to milk their good fortune for longer. That's why they're doing more graft in the courtroom these days than anywhere else.

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iWant

I wonder if we can go Dutch on this one.

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Anonymous Coward

History is not so simple

The argument seems to boil down to:

1) Apple kicked off a new trend in computing with the Mac, but tried to keep it to themselves and therefore lost out in the end;

2) Microsoft licensed its software to all and sundry, the IBM PC was cloned, and the combination came to dominate the whole marketplace;

3) Therefore, new technology will become dominant in the marketplace (and bring a tidal-wave of innovation) if ideas are shared.

Maybe. But it raises more questions than it answers. How much success did this bring to IBM? It has left the PC business altogether. How much did MS give away in this process? Nothing whatsoever (how many serious Windows or Office competitors are in this 'market'?) and it has become a moribund monopoly with a license to print money as a consequence. How much innovation has it brought? It seems to me the rate of change slowed to a crawl, and even now the Windows PC seems trapped in an antiquated model that hasn't fundamentally changed in decades (it just consumes spiralling resources doing the same old thing). Even Apple has been dragged back into using anachronisms like file-name extensions to denote file type. MS Office and Windows have begrudgingly dragged themselves forward, becoming increasingly bloated without any real innovation. The IBM-PC has become like the Titanic heading for an iceberg, unable to turn itself around.

History can tell us many things, depending on the examples you choose. Did Apple have to license its iPod to 3rd parties to become successful? No. Did it enable other companies to overrun the market? Not remotely. Has it stopped Apple innovating? Not at all.

I can't see how the companies who clone the fruits of other's R&D can be expected to bring any innovation to the market. They don't have an internal culture that fosters innovation or development. All they're doing is knocking off someone else's product in order to cash in on its success. What innovation is Samsung bringing us with its iPad clone? I'd be right behind Samsung if it stepped out on a limb (like Apple did) and brought something genuinely new and controversial to the market. It wasn't that long ago that many were scoffing at the iPad, only to turn about and accuse Apple of 'hindering innovation' or 'patent trolls' by blocking clones. Apple did the work, took the risk, and deserves the reward. I'm just stunned that a court has actually done something in such a timely manner.

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Clones

And the reward is to hold the entire of society to ransom for ideas which are now well and truly obvious. How long must we continue to reward fat cats who took hardly any risk at all with their mountains of cash.

The law is an ass and it rewards the biggest bully and finds it impossible to defend true innovators on the ground floor. Patents are nothing but large clubs for large companies to beat society as a whole into a bloody pulp and then poor the meat into a blender and drink on it's fine juices. Huzzah.

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Stop

"genuinely new and controversial"

How exactly?

What about the iPad had not been done before?

How did the iPad improve on it's predecessors that was anything other than obvious given the availability of new hardware technology?

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Mushroom

@ Ralph 5

Just one thing, iPad = name stolen from Fujitsu, and beyond devleoping a nice screeen and UI how have they innovated at all since the iPhone? Everything after the iPhone is merely a bigger iPhone (although the 10 inch iPhone isn't actuall a phone ;-) ) with the exception of the undeniably sucessful iPod which is a common rip off of the average MP3 player, far superior hardware but far inferior software, propriatery inferfaces and of course the requirement for iTunes.

These days no matter who the company is you can't see the innovation for the patent trolls.

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Apple - as greedy as Microsoft?

Do companies get greedy and unfair when they get wealthy?

Why do they have to kill any competition -- at the expense of users who are deprived of better products.

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It's the law...

The reason companies behave that way is because they are required to maximize the return to shareholders over all other concerns. At least according to US law, which is what binds Apple/Microsoft/etc.

I'd rather see corporations have duties other than just making profits--duties like providing jobs and being a responsible citizen. But until the laws are changed--which will require getting rid of the capitalist extremists that run our governments--Apple and friends have to play by the rules they're given.

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WTF?

Take a look

Apple is (for the moment anyway) NOT suing other tablet/phone making companies, only Samsung.

Apple is not trying to keep everything for itself by using the law, it is using the law to defend its own IP. Anyone arguing otherwise obviously has not compared the Galaxy phone and tablet with the iPhone and the iPad. They are blatant copies, and if you add in the way the software looks and feels it becomes even more obvious.

Stop knocking Apple! THEY put the R&D funds up to give the smartphone industry a huge kick in the trousers, and then again with the iPad they have almost single handed created a new category of computers that is creating great excitement and movement in the industry.

THEY took the risk, and if the people trying to jump on the band-wagon can't even be bothered to change the designs enough to avoid litigation, then Samsung deserve all they get.

If Apple don't slap Samsung down then they are not running their business properly, and I would say exactly the same if the roles were reversed.

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Um...

Over all other concerns? Methinks you may have missed a few laws along the way, there. They're not permitted, for example, to dump waste in the wrong place - see Environmental protection laws. gthey're not allowed to pay below a minimum amount per hour in some countries, and they're sure not allowed to chain the workforce to the benches, for example. So, where in US law, then, does it say "over all other concerns"?. Merely curious, of course.

This said, I do think the system needs a few revisions, but that's not to say the system is inherently wrong, just somewhat unbalanced at the moment.

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Or ...

... do (only) the greedy and unfair (companies) get rich?

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Silver badge

Yeah...

Blatant Apple rip off... No removable storage, weird drivers required to interface to PC...

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punishment for selling?

Is there any 'punishment' as a retailer if you import them in yourself and then sell them in your shop regardless of some court ruling?

I'm sure there will be load of them on ebay for sale and i doubt the rozzers are going to spend time chasing people who are selling them. Well not well there all out on the street trying to stop society from falling apart.

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