Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

Summary: Just when you thought intellectual property law insanity couldn't get any worse with the mobile patent wars, Apple gets an injunction in the European Union against Samsung Galaxy Tab because it looks like an Apple iPad.

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The mobile world is locked up in one gigantic legal battle in which every smartphone company is suing every other company for patent violations. That's dumb. What's even dumber though is that Apple has just succeeded in getting a German court to grant a preliminary injunction against the distribution of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 throughout the entire European Union (EU) (with the exception of The Netherlands) on the grounds it infringes on Apple's iPad design.

This decision has nothing to do with patents or copyrights. It has nothing to do with the lawsuits swirling around Android. This particular case was just about the design, the look of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and that's it. Now, I want you to click on this PDF copy of (European] Community design no. 000181607-000. Now, take a long hard look at it. What do you see?

I'll tell you what I see, it's a freaking tablet. Yes, it looks like an iPad. But, it looks just as much like every tablet that's ever existed or ever will exist. It's a tablet.

Where have I seen this before? Why, I remember! I recall my distant cousin Nichelle Nichols, that's Lieutenant Uhura of Star Trek to you, "using" a tablet on the Enterprise back in 1966. I'm not the only one to have noticed the Star Trek/Apple iPad connection. Back when Apple introduced the iPad, actor Brent Spinner, aka Commander Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation, tweeted, "Didn't Captain Picard used to play with a pad like that in his ready room? STAR TREK STRIKES AGAIN!!!" Yes, yes he did.

It's not just Star Trek. For all the excitement about the iPad, real tablets existed for decades before iPad mania came along. Take a look on the left at the PoqetPad. I tested this tablet from Fujitsu in 1991. Except for a few more buttons it sure looks a lot like Apple's protected design to me.

Thus, anyone who's followed tablet computing for the last 20 years, or at least anyone who's watched any Star Trek in the last forty-plus years, would know there's nothing remotely original about Apple's design. This design, which is really nothing more than a tablet with a window on one side, should never have been granted any kind of intellectual property protection.

Never-the-less, it was granted and the brain-dead Regional Court of Düsseldorf has granted Apple a preliminary injunction against Samsung (German link). As a result, if someone tries to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the EU, Samsung will be hit with a 250,000 Euro fine and up to two years of prison time.

Yow!

Since common sense is in short supply in intellectual property (IP) legal circles, I'm afraid we're going to see more equipment bans in the future. It was bad enough when the only sure thing about IP lawsuits was that we -- the people who buy and use smartphones and tablets -- would have to pay more. Now, thanks to Apple, we may not even have a chance to buy the equipment in the first place.

What is Apple's problem anyway? Afraid of a little competition in the marketplace?

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Topics: Legal, Apple, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Samsung, Tablets

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86 comments
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  • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

    Since Apple essentially filed a copyright/trademark on the design of a shiny rectangle brick, I guess all tablets from now on should be in star shape.
    Samic
    • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

      @Samic

      Nope, just one's that are obvious copies, as ruled by two jurisdictions now, including Europe where they apparently don't have software patents.

      It must be really annoying to realise that all your years of whining about Apple is about to become irrelevant as they are poised to become the world's largest company by market cap.
      bannedagain
      • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

        @bannedagain <br><br>Right, and you know how successful a company is when they could spend millions of dollars in R&D that come up with a design a 6 years old can come up within 5 minutes:<br><br><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/61944044/Community-Design-000181607-0001" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.scribd.com/doc/61944044/Community-Design-000181607-0001</a><br><br>How inspirational. I hope Apple doesn't draw circles or all wheels would be banned.

        Edit: Sorry, I'm wrong. As it turns up not every 6 years olds can draw 3D perspective. /sarcasm

        P.S. Seriously, EU doesn't have software patents, but they do have design patent (a.k.a. Community design) . And in this case, a stupid design is in question.
        Samic
      • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

        @bannedagain

        I hope you realize, the feds will be breathing down Apple's neck for any type of anti-trust violations if they see Apple's market share encroaching on being a monopoly.

        Look at what happened to At&t.
        ConceptVBS
      • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

        @bannedagain

        How'd ya get that nym? Oh, right ...

        */* as ruled by two jurisdictions now, */*

        Well, not even sort of. There was no injunction in Australia because Samsung agreed not to import the version of the Galaxy Tab that Apple was complaining about. That was a no-brainer for Samsung since they weren't going to import that model into Oz to begin with.

        Secondly, this is a preliminary ruling. It will be followed up by two more hearings (that Samsung has received notice of, in this case, unlike the first one), which will determine if the preliminary injunction will be upheld.

        Thirdly, at the hearing that is underway in The Netherlands at this very moment, Samsung has accused Apple of photoshopping the evidence to make the Galaxy Tab look more like the iPad than it really does.

        Fourthly, this isn't a patent issue at all, neither hardware nor software. Apple got a hearing in Germany based on what is know as an EU Community Design Document which is based on Copyright and Trademark, not patents at all.

        And lastly, I am glad I'm done responding to you because the popcorn is finished and it needs my attention.

        Buh-bye!
        Still Lynn
      • Idiot.

        @bannedagain
        Nuff said.
        Cayble
      • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

        @bannedagain Well, Samsung includes buttons on its pad - the drawings in question show no buttons. Even the iPad has a button...
        tbuccelli
    • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

      @Samic

      This is proof that while Europe doesn't have software patents, they do have questionable non-software patents.
      DonRupertBitByte
      • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

        @DonRupertBitByte
        Where does this duck some from: that Europe does not patent software? Apple has patented the iPhone top to bottom, hardware, software, gestures, the works, in the US, Europe, and Japan. Non-patentability of software was an issue in the US and Europe years ago, in decisions that, e.g., treated digital image processing as an "abstract process," and therefor not patentable.

        Since the 1980s, such methods have been recognized as a "real world activity," fully patentable under rules shared by the US and EU.
        Lochias
      • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

        @Lochias

        Oh yeah, because its' a real world activity, it should be patentable.
        Excuse me while I go patent breathing, hammering, the act of hanging picture frames on 'vertically aligned surfaces' and the use of a torx screwdriver at night or underwater.
        Onaka
    • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

      @Samic
      They should ban all rectangular mirrors.
      aviamquepasa
      • Agreed

        @aviamquepasa
        What they should do is ban anything that bares some resemblance to anything that came before it, no matter how obvious the design is.
        Cayble
    • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

      whispering to @Samic: trapezoid. so that when you lay the "TRAP-let" down (that's right-I said it: Traplet!!) it looks like its further away in the distance. look at google's images page for trapezoid youll see what I mean. :-)
      DJ_JFX
      • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

        @DJ_JFX

        you should really go ahead and get a Copyright on that. really. :)
        primusmagestri@...
    • Too Funny...

      @Samic Gee was not Microsoft doing the same thing 10 years ago, and everyone said look at them acting so childish trying to keep thier Market Position... Maybe Apple has realized that any type of Tablet that will let you install software that has not been apple approved will make them lose market share, so better not let anyone else make a tablet... I have an Android Tablet that looks exactly like an iPad from the front... bet they will not be able to make those for much longer either...
      carlislj
  • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

    I have a TV that looks like another TV. Ban!
    Theli
  • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

    ... My monitor looks like an iPad (It's an HP w2207). :(
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

      @Cylon Centurion That's exactly what I was thinking.
      Aerowind
    • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

      @Cylon Centurion

      Wanna buy a "Rolex" watch?

      Look and feel, Samsung has lost in two jurisdictions withe their blatant copy.

      Other manufacturers can come up with their own designs, why can't Samsung?
      bannedagain
      • RE: Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling

        @bannedagain

        Sorry, no permanent decisions have been made yet.
        DonRupertBitByte