Talk about a backhanded slap in the face for Samsung.
In a decision last week, a judge from the U.K decided that a request from Apple to ban the Samsung Galaxy Tab range in the region cannot be granted. However, the judge also said that one of the reasons why this request cannot be granted is because the Galaxy Tab range does not have that “it” factor that the iPad has.
In his ruling, British High Court Judge Colin Birss said that the Galaxy Tab tablets do look the same as the iPad in the sense that tablets do look similar. However, Samsung tablets are “very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back.”
Then, the judge also included this in his ruling: “They are not as cool. The overall impression produced is different,” referring to the Galaxy Tab range compared to the iPad.
Apple argued that the Samsung Galaxy Tab range infringed on the U.K. Registered Community Design No. 181607-0001 which is for the look and feel of the iPad.
Samsung was happy with the decision. It said in a statement that “Samsung believes Apple’s excessive legal claims based on such a generic design right can harm not only the industry’s innovation as a whole, but also unduly limit consumer choice.”
It also pointed out in the statement that the judge cited prior art which “include the Knight Ridder (1994), the Ozolin (2004), and HP’s TC1000 (2003). The court found numerous Apple design features to lack originality, and numerous identical design features to have been visible in a wide range of earlier tablet designs from before 2004.”
“The court found the most vivid differences in the rear surface design, a part of tablets that allows designers a high degree of freedom for creativity, as there are no display panels, buttons, or any technical functions. Samsung was recognized by the court for having leveraged such conditions of the rear surface to clearly differentiate its tablet products through ‘visible detailing’,” Samsung said.
However, I’m willing to bet they weren’t happy with the judge saying that the Galaxy Tab range isn’t as cool as the iPad.
This opens up a weird predicament for Apple too. If it appeals the decision, will they argue “No, you’re wrong judge. We should get an injunction for the Galaxy Tab range because they are as cool as the iPad.”?
Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Image from Brimley on Flickr (CC)