back to article UK judge hands Samsung win for being 'not as cool' as iPad

A UK judge has handed Samsung a victory in its court battle with Apple over design similarities between its Galaxy Tab line and the Cupertinian iPad – but for a reason sure to rankle the Korean manufacturer's design department. Speaking of Samsung's fondleslabs, UK High Court Judge Colin Birss ruled, "They do not have the same …

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Anonymous Coward

Now NOT being cool IS the NEW cool!

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Headmaster

So

So the Samsung being from the same 'family' is really the 'bastard' child of the iPad.

That is a put down if ever there was one, I thought we had moved on from this.

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Re: So

A put down for whose benefit?

The judge is handing Samsung a victory and very likely taking the piss out of Apple at the same time.

How are Apple supposed to appeal this? Are they really going to say 'Er - actually, you're wrong, and Samsung's tablet really *is* as cool as an iPad?"

Does anyone see that happening?

I wonder if it's really quite a clever way of dealing with the issue.

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Re: So

Clever indeed, I think....

Right result regardless, innovation not litigation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So

>very likely taking the piss out

Read it all - the Judge was totally taking the piss - though there's also a distinct hint of "stop wasting the Courts' time with this shite, I have actual work to do and this isn't America"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So

It's a put down to Samsung, the judge implies the Samsung, even though from the same 'family' of tablets, it not as good as the mother and father of tablets.

Negative advertising campaign for the iPad against the Samsung.

It's like you and your mate going out with two sisters, only you got the ugly one and your mate is pointing it out to you and everyone else in the room.

Should a fanboi judge be allowed to adjudicate?

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Alien

Re: So

In the immortal words of Zaphod Beeblebrox the iPad is so cool you could keep a side of beef in it for a week, but the Galaxy Tab is so unhip it's a wonder it's bum doesn't fall off.

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"Now NOT being cool IS the NEW cool!"

So what's happened to the OLD cool? Are they now NOT cool? And if they're NOT cool does that make them the NEW NOT cool which means they're the NEW NEW cool?

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Pint

ahhh man

you gotta be so fracking uncool to even ask....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So (Ugly Sister)

No, it like you getting the one who isn't quite such a looker, but does everything else so much better than her sister, whose prime talent is hanging on your mate's arm, looking pretty.

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Re: So (Ugly Sister)

I'd much rather have the less attractive sister who actually has feelings for me than the attractive one who always has her hand in my pocket (and not in the good way)

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Pint

Re: ahhh man

and uncool = NOT cool, so...

Cheers

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@TheOtherHobbes RE: "I wonder if it's really quite a clever way of dealing with the issue."

Having now read both your comment and what the Judge said in detail I have to say that I think that you are certainly correct in your interpretation. What on earth are Apple going to say now? "The device from Samsung is as good as our iPads and equally as stylish so please ban them"? I think that His Honour has been very clever indeed - tongue was undoubtedly firmly located in his own cheek and not up Apple's cheeks, in contrast to some other judges we have heard from during the last year or so.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So (Ugly Sister)

"No, it like you getting the one who isn't quite such a looker, but does everything else so much better than her sister, whose prime talent is hanging on your mate's arm, looking pretty."

And she's more likely to have a STD. I can see your point.

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Paris Hilton

Re: So (Ugly Sister)

Well, if you have deep enough pockets she can always undergo some extra tuning.

Paris, coz she knows the drill.

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Re: So

How is the Samsung design innovative?

Tablet format - Check

Touch Screen - Check

Button to press - Check

Stable OS - Check

2 more buttons to press - we just innovated boys!!!

Apple have not, despite Samsung's claims, stifled innovation, in fact I thought the point was that Samsung hadn't been particularly innovative, and that Samsung were stating that they didn't need to be because the design is ubiquitous?

If Samsung had been innovative with their design, like making it oval shaped with five large buttons (as a ridiculous example), then apple would have had literally no case!

Should apple be able to lay rights to the design? No, but let's not pretend this is about innovation. Innovation is not the upgrading of your tablet with an 8MP camera, or adding a HDMI. Samsung want to win this patent war so they can sell tablets that look like iPads, no more, no less.

For the fabulous 2007 tablet designs, that were oh so good before apple see:

http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/news-headlines/4969-ces-2007-oqo-unveils-model-02-tablet-pc-samsung-releases-q1p-ssd-umpc-medion-umpc-coming-january-30-a.html

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Anonymous Coward

@Arctic Fox Re: @TheOtherHobbes RE: "I wonder if it's really quite a clever ...

personally, i think what apple would say now, is something along the lines of "ok, great, they're not as cool as us. that has absolutely nothing to do with copyright infringement, since we dont copyright 'coolness' - just all the other features, that they've copied. can we get a real response now please?"

seriously folks, much as its fun to hate on apple, a legal response that asserts that 'not being as cool as the original means you cant get done for copying it' is a bit of a rubbish one in a host of situations. (i assume its a copyright thing, i've not been paying too much attention really.)

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Re: So

So you're saying for Apple, innovation is using a rectangular screen? But not when other companies do that?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So

Thanks for posting the link, I couldn't be bothered proving my obvious point, as it has been done so many times in these forums.

The fact remains, I can get 20 down votes for stating a provable fact, simply because there are so many APPL haters here. Whether people like it or not, Samsung copied APPL's design, as have many (not all I might add) since. Why? Bacuse these companies are too talentless to have come up with something unique, distinctive and functional themselves (there are exceptions, but I dare not mention Sony for fear of garnering an extra 20 downvotes). This fact will not be altered by the 20 downvotes or the next 20 or the next twenty.

Dweeb

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Re: So

Typical fandroid didn't bother to read the comment, we have the fanbois and fandroids arguing over shit again. As I said I didn't think Apple should be able to lay claim to rights to a rectangular screen with a button. However the commentards here stated that the litigation and apple are holding back innovation that I don't get may be I am missing something.

The innovation is in the software surely, the hardware is what Samsung have copied (and I dont blame them), and then added a little and charged less for, great, the reason why the hardware was blocked at all was apple could "show" that the hardware looked close enough to their design that you non savvy user wouldnt notice.....

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"an Apple spokesman told Reuters. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual property.""

Just how much intellect does it take to make a rectangle with one button on it ?

This judge has said what many of us have been saying for a long time, there is plenty of prior art on tablets and similar devices. How Apple can claim theres is any different I can;t understand. Now the OS etc then yes there is a case for copyright of how it looks and feels but again a patent should not be allowable for it.

Apple are doing all they can to stifle all other companies from doing what they have and that's take something done before and doing it better.

What we need is for someone like the EU to make a law that stops companies from going to court to stop sales of a product on such pathetic reasons as swipe to unlock etc and to punish those who bring a court case that has no real basis but to try to block to face legal penalties.

As for the USA let them stew in their own mess and let us the rest of the world stop this so that innovation can again be the main reason to buy a product and not because someone is the last man standing having blocked what may be something better due to say a patent for something totally unrelated to phones or tablets that was granted 15 or so years ago when windows still ran on dos......

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No law required

The European Commission has already indicated that it views this kind of lawsuit and patent/trademark tourism as a possible barrier to trade in the single market. It's certainly possible that this might lead to only being allowed to make a single case in the whole of the EU with some safeguards to stop companies seeking out favourable courts as they apparently do in America.

I can see some of the silliness being moved to the WTO as has happened in the airline industry.

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Simplest solution: allow summary judgment on patent issues. So Apple and Samsung go to court, Samsung argue at a preliminary hearing that 'actually, slide to unlock (or whatever) isn't patentworthy', and if the judge agrees then the patent is invalidated right there and then. If all relevant patents are invalidated then that obviously opens the door to summary judgment on the entire claim.

Ideally there'd then be a separate appeals system for the patent. So if Apple wants to argue that the relevant patents are valid then they can go and do that at their own cost, entirely on their own. If a higher court holds them as valid then they can come back and reintroduce them to the main claim. The main claim can be stayed at the request of a patent holding party for the duration of the patent-related appeals process.

Net effect: if you go to court on a flimsy patent, expect to have to spend your own money defending just the patent while whomever you sued carries on as usual.

I guess patents would have to be extremely simple before most judges would venture that far but at least it would move the centre of the debate.

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Anonymous Coward

Simples

" Simplest solution: allow summary judgment on patent issues."

Simpler solution: scrap mediaeval monopoly patents across the board.

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Patent lawsuit procedure

Rather than summary judgement, I'd say that for every pound, dollar etc that the plaintiff spends on lawyers, he should be obliged to lend exactly the same amount to the defendant for payment of the defendant's legal costs. If he wins, repayment of the loan is added to other damages. If he loses, then he loses the right to repayment of the loan as well as any other costs awarded against him.

The result would be that no company (typically a small company) would feel obliged to settle out of court for lack of sufficient finance to match the plaintiff's legal muscle. Patent trolls would probably disappear.

It wouldn't have made any difference to this case and there's no reason why it should. Samsung and Apple both have deep enough pockets to afford armies of lawyers out of their petty cash.

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Devil

""an Apple spokesman told Reuters. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual property.""

Just how much intellect does it take to make a rectangle with one button on it ?"

Haaaaaaaa Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Ohh fuck soooooooo funny!

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Happy

You know you've lost your mojo

when your granddad says you're 'cool'.

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Facepalm

"Apple, as might be guessed, disagrees with the ruling. "It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad," an Apple spokesman told Reuters"

Yes, because they're part of the same family of devices. Honestly, didn't the Apple spokesman pay attention in court?

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FAIL

LMAO

Bitch, you got told!

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Mushroom

Tablets are so bloody minimal in essence anyway.

A screen, a bezel/frame ... and a back side, corners, a button or two.

These are basic elements of the constuction of the device - necessary for it to exist. It also applies to the monitor I have in front of me.

If you reduce your design to the most minimalist version of a concept, then, philiosphically, you cannot patent it or claim ownership over your implementation of the device without also effectively claiming ownership of the ENTIRE CONCEPT of such a device, which is of course ludicrous.

If Apple want design patents, they should add stuff - create stuff - not reduce something to it's constituent elements and then arrogantly try and claim ownership of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, they should add buttons and pens and LEDs everywhere, just like all tablets were in the past.

oh wait.

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FAIL

"Tablets are so bloody minimal in essence anyway."

Have you ever actually seen what a Samsung tablet look like before the iPad? No, thought not. Otherwise you would not make such an astoundingly ignorant comment.

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Go

Re: effectively claiming ownership of the ENTIRE CONCEPT of such a device

That's exactly what Apple want to do. If the corporate justice system gave them everything they wanted, Apple would ensure that they were the only source of any form of computing device on the planet. It's nothing to do with innovation and everything to do with absolute, megalomaniacal control of the information industry and all the information processed thereby. It's why they invented the "walled garden". It's why they invented the concept of remotely installing and deleting information on a device that you've paid for and thought you owned. Apple don't want anyone to own anything except themselves.

That's why I have zero tolerance for them and their fanboi supporters.

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Legal precedents

It's been established that you cannot patent or copyright the external shape of a car exhaust pipe. That's because only one shape can fit underneath any particular model of car, and therefore there is no freedom to do anything different.

The same, surely, for a pocketable tablet. The overall design is dictated by the pocket.

We may have been spared such lawsuits back when the clam-shell mobile first appeared on the scene, because there was such obvious prior art. The Star Trek communicator. They couldn't make a working one, but the overall design was still obvious.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Legal precedents

Make it as an ellipsoid, or a square, or a ... and I am not completely sure about this idea they are pocket sized or shaped, the samsung is designed like it is because the iPad is a successful design shape, it would be a way bigger risk to make it a different shape or style. Far easier to make it exactly the same and cheaper.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Legal precedents

"We may have been spared such lawsuits back when the clam-shell mobile first appeared on the scene, because there was such obvious prior art. The Star Trek communicator. They couldn't make a working one, but the overall design was still obvious."

Well, in that case ST:TNG had the PADD which isn't that far removed either...

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Re: Legal precedents

No, all tablets are shaped like they are because that's the size and shape screens are made. For viewing material on a screen, a rectangular shape is the most convenient shape for the screen, any curves around the edge would be wasting space.

Everything beyond that is based around how small you can make the electronics to fit behind the screen and the interface requirements of the OS.

I have a Dell Axim x51v (bought in 2006, with a 2 year old design), it required hardware buttons to interact with Windows Mobile, but beyond that it's design isn't a million miles from the iPad or how about a Dell Latitude XT, announced in 2007? Looking at only the front surface, when set in tablet mode - how different is that from the iPad?

The claim is that they look the same from a single view-point and not too close to read the name - you could do much the same with the side view of a Jaguar XK8 and an Aston Martin DB7.

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"These are basic elements of the constuction of the device - necessary for it to exist. It also applies to the monitor I have in front of me."

Indeed. I did once have the misfortunte to witness someone say of a large flatscreen TV, "It looks like a giant Ipad!" Yes, something that is basically a screen looks like something else that is basically a screen. It hurt my head to hear someone saying that a screen looks like an Ipad, rather than an Ipad looking like a screen...

No doubt if the Apple TV rumours ever turn out to be true, people will be falling over themselves to say how Samsung, LG etc copied Apple, even though they were making TVs for years before.

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Re: "Tablets are so bloody minimal in essence anyway."

No, but I saw media players around 2009 before Apple (which were tablets - i.e., handheld devices for media, Internet and software - they just weren't called that until Android devices popularised the term), and they looked the same.

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Chicken and egg.

> No, all tablets are shaped like they are because that's the size and shape screens are made.

Are you sure? From what I know of the technology there would be no great difficulty in making TFT screens oval or triangular or any other shape without concavities. The electronics to drive such an odd array would be more complex, but hardly impossible. If there were any massive demand. There isn't. Do you think an oval phone would score any cool points over a rectangular one?

Pockets are rectangular. The larger things that go in pockets, like wallets and phones, are rectangular. A round one would be wasting space in the corners, and would have certain other drawbacks, like rotating in the pocket so you couldn't immediately know top from bottom.

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Happy

UK High Court Judge Colin Birss is really making US Judge Lucy Koh look rather silly now. Obviously the idea of prior art, and being of a pre-existing family of devices is lost on her. Someone hadn't done their homework!

In other news, the US ban on the Nexus has also currently been over-turned. Overall a good day for the consumer.

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Holmes

I wouldn't say silly, the different outcomes are easily explained.

Read page 8 to see how Judge Birss took the advice of the Court of Justice of the European Union (PepsiCo v Grupo Promer) to look at both devices from the perspective of an informed user. This is a user that is "particularly observant", with "high degree of attention", "knowledge of the design corpus" and can "conduct a direct comparison of the designs". As he says this is also different from the observer used for trademark law.

He adds "I was struck by how similar they look to the Apple design when they are resting on a table. They look similar because they both have the same front screen. It stands out. However to the informed user (which at that stage I was not) these screens do not stand out to anything like the same extent."

The US court doesn't consider an informed user so, like in Judge Birss's first observation, they found the designs to be too similar.

Which user profile reflects a typical buyer? That's left as an exercise to the reader.

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Anonymous Coward

Making a case

It is not as though Samsung did not have the opportunity to "educate" Ms. Koh, is it. Apparently Samsung were either singularly unable to make the case you claim is self evident or did not try. It's early times in this process ... more to come.

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Anonymous Coward

Koh

And this'd be the same Judge Koh that used to work for the company that did legal work for Apple? (though attempts to discern if she actually worked on Apple IP legalese hasn't met any response from attempts to contact the company apparently).

Even so, there's a strong appearance of familiarity between Koh and Apple, and it's odd that she was allowed to make rulings on this and not excuse herself.

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@Nine Circles

Thanks for taking the time to read the judgement and share your legal knowledge. It's a shame you have so few up votes.

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Anonymous Coward

So what he's basically saying is "You'd have to be dumb to say these were the same if you knew about tablets. Or lying and wasting my time."

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"Which user profile reflects a typical buyer? That's left as an exercise to the reader."

At the risk of appearing to be a troll, I'd suggest the informed user is the one that doesn't buy the Apple product. Whether they buy a Samsung product, a tablet made by another manufactuere, or no tablet at all instead, is another matter entirely.

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@Nine Circles RE ".............from the perspective of an informed user."

Interesting that the advice to judges from the Court of Justice of the European Union is framed in that way. It is also interesting that implicit in that advice is the acknowledgement that judgements delivered in the absence of such a perspective are delivering it from a lowest common denominator consumer point of view. By that I mean that if it is possible that a significant number of The Transcendent Order of the Ignorati might be fooled then it is accepted (currently in the US at any rate) that the defendant is in breach. It does of course offer an amusing picture of a fantasy courtroom somewhere in the US (or in Germany given some of the judgements that have been handed down there) where Apple lawyers are questioning prospective jurors (if juries were used in such cases - I said it was a fantasy courtroom :P) "do you have difficulty tying you own shoelaces without a diagram? No? Rejected, next candidate!"

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Anonymous Coward

In the 80's

Just think, all those playground arguments about was the Spectrum better than the C64? If a judge had ruled on it, just as with Apple today, it would have all been settled.

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WTF?

Re: In the 80's

Yeah, this is the exact same thing, except instead of kids in the schoolyard, it's the freakin' companys in court!

Amazing how the tech end advances, but the corporate end is devolving, isn't it?

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