Rotten Apple: Apple's lousy design patent lawsuits

Summary:If Apple continues to have its way it will be illegal to buy anything that looks like a tablet because it will infringe on Apple's “design” patent.

AppleTabletPatent

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, has granted Apple's request to halt the sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab , which runs Google’s Android operating system. The Galaxy Tab's crime? It looks like a tablet.

No. I'm not making that up. Judge Koh claims that “Samsung appears to have created a design that is likely to deceive an ordinary observer.” True, from a distance of ten feet, it's not easy to tell them apart. It's not easy to tell any tablet apart from any other tablet at that range. Most people I know prefer to use tablets at arm's reach, but that's just me.

Apple's legal case rests on a single design patent, USD504889. In it, Apple claims “the ornamental design for an electronic device, substantially as shown and described.” You can see Apple's patented design for yourself in this story. Looks pretty much like a tablet doesn't it? Do you see anything about it what-so-ever that looks unique?

In fact, it looks pretty much like every tablet that's ever been created in history. That's because, “It's A Tablet!!” There is nothing innovative or original about its design. It's A Tablet!! We had wax tablets in Roman times. We had tablets on Star Trek in the 60s, and even Windows tablets like the Compaq Concerto in the 90s. 

Apple's iPad Design Patent: Been There, Done That (Images)

While this court decision has gotten a lot of attention in the States, this is only part of Apple's world wide war against Android. Apple is trying to stomp out any tablet competition around the globe. One of their chief weapons? This moronic design patent, which never, ever should have been granted. 

The truly odd thing about this to me is that Apple doesn't need to resort to such extreme legal tactics. Apple still has over 60 percent of the tablet market. Int the first quarter of 2012, Apple sold more than 13.6 million iPads. Samsung ? It only sold 1.6 million tablets. That gives them just over 7 percent of the overall market share. Sure sounds to me like Samsung is doing real harm to Apple!  Why in the world is Apple still pursuing its thermonuclear campaign against Android?

Apple is already winning. Sure I can see the day when cheap Android tablets rule the low-end of the market. So what? Apple's never been especially been interested in affordable devices. They want to sell, and they do sell, to high-end customers. I don't see Apple losing its high-profit customers anytime this decade.

While this has largely been a fight against Android, that's only been because only Samsung and other Android vendors have created tablets with any other mass market appeal at all. HP, RIM, Nokia, and others have all failed to make much of a splash. If Microsoft is somehow successful in making its Surface tablets popular, the boys from Redmond had better watch out. Apple's lawyers will be coming their way soon.

I really don't get it. Why is Apple is being a bully?. In the last couple of months a boycott Apple movement has started. It started as a protest about working conditions in Apple's Chinese partners factories. But the banning of the Galaxy Tab seems to have given it new life.

Why can't Apple just compete on the basis of its outstanding products in the market place instead of trying to sue its competition into the ground? Apple can still make money hand over fist, get even more fans and not be rotten.  Come on Apple, stop with the stupid lawsuits already!

Related Stories:

Samsung Galaxy tab stays off US shelves, appeal rejected

Apple wins U.S. sales injunction against Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Why Apple should abandon its 'thermonuclear' war against Android

Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

Topics: Apple, Legal, Mobility, Samsung, Tablets

About

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, aka sjvn, has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was the cutting edge, PC operating system; 300bps was a fast Internet connection; WordStar was the state of the art word processor; and we liked it.His work has been published in everything from highly technical publications... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.