iPad vs Galaxy Tab: Apple's tablet is 'cooler', judge rules

iPad vs Galaxy Tab: Apple's tablet is 'cooler', judge rules

Summary: The Galaxy Tab is 'not as cool' as the iPad, a UK high court judge has found, ruling that Samsung did not infringe on Apple's patent in its design


Samsung's Galaxy Tab is visibly less "cool" than the iPad, and so it does not infringe on Apple's tablet patent, a UK high court has found.

Judge Colin Birss said there are more than 50 recognisable design differences between Samsung's tablet and Apple's iPads, if you look beyond the screen to the back and sides.

Samsung Galaxy tab 10.1
A UK high court judge has ruled that Samsung did not infringe on Apple's iPad design with its Galaxy Tab 10.1. Image credit: Bonnie Cha/CNET News
"From the front, they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back," Birss said in his ruling, released on Monday.

"They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool. The overall impression produced is different.

"The Samsung tablets do not infringe Apple's registered design No. 000181607-0001."

The case involved the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 7.7, which were all found to have differences in thickness, lack of physical hardware controls and differences in surface designs to the iPad.

Initially, Samsung asked the high court to state that the tablets did not infringe on the patent, then Apple filed suit in return, alleging infringement.

The Samsung hardware maker welcomed the decision, which deals a blow to Apple in the legal skirmishes between the rivals.

"As the ruling proves, the origins of Apple's registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art," a spokeswoman for the South Korean hardware maker said.

Apple had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

The UK ruling follows a decision in the US at the end of June to ban the Galaxy Nexus from being sold until a court determines whether the device infringes upon patents owned by Apple. Samsung subsequently filed an appeal and had the sales ban temporarily lifted.

Topics: Smartphones, Apple, iPad, Samsung

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • Come all ye faithful

    You, the ones who said that the ITC ban proved that Samsung infringed because a judge said so. Well, the ITC ban is a temporary ban while a court of law determines if infringement occurred. So the judge in that case simply said there was enough merit to support a ban, not that the Galaxy Tab actually infringed. All ye Apple faithful stated that a judge's word proves that everyone who said the Tab does not infringe are wrong. You were adament about it. "Unfair? That's what the loser says".

    Where are you now? This is a court of law, a judge, stating as fact, that the Tab does not infringe. Unfair? That's what the loser says. Samsung did not slavishly copy the iPad. If you disagree, you are wrong. You've been proven in court to be wrong. Your case has been argued by very smart people in front of other very smart people and your argument was found to be lacking.

    You lost. A judge said so.
    • You're fast for someone who's not a "zealot"

      I agree with you though. Samsung didn't infringe, because now there's just one obvious physical form factor for a tablet. Just like there's only one obvious way of making an Edit menu with Cut, Copy, Paste (in that order). Just like there's only one obvious way of making a laptop with the keyboard near the display. Just like there's only obvious way to scroll on a touch screen with a "rubber band" effect. Consumers should be glad Apple figures out the "obvious" ways first.
      • Wrong

        "Consumers should be glad Apple figures out the "obvious" ways first."

        Except Apple didn't figure this out.

        "As the ruling proves, the origins of Apple's registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art"

        • Correction

          In the case of the tablet, I should have said "Consumers should be glad Apple figures out the "obvious prior art" first since nobody is making anything different now with the exception of the kickstand. ;)
          • Apple is the first to copy.

            "Consumers should be glad Apple figures out the "obvious prior art" first"

            In other words, Apple is the first to copy the true innovators.

            Okay. Not sure I'd brag about that but okay.

            The funny thing is that the Galaxy Tab is a copy of a previous design, the design Samsung used in its digital picture frames. If you held up an iPad and a Samsung picture frame, Apple lawyers wouldn't be able to tell them apart. The truly hilarious thing about Apple's patent trolling is that Apple is accusing Samsung of copying the design that Apple copied from Samsung.
    • Ummmm..

      Slow down, man!
  • Yes, emphasize that the judge said it's not "as cool"

    And barely mention the fact that the judge ruled that the patents in question were too vague, and that prior art existed before Apple claimed the patent.
    • The only quote that counts

      "The Samsung tablets do not infringe Apple's registered design No. 000181607-0001."

      And just to rub salt in the wound:
      "As the ruling proves, the origins of Apple's registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art"

      One of 2 things will happen now, neither of which really matters:
      1. Apple's patent will be ruled overly broad and / or based on prior art and will be taken away from Apple. Bye bye patent.
      2. Apple's patent is so specific that it will only help Apple fight off the knockoffs that actually were trying to create tablets that looked identical to iPads but can't be used in an anti-competitive way to prevent other legitimate companies like Samsung and Microsoft from selling tablets. Bye bye patent usefulness. Remember, Apple's goal here was to prevent ANYONE else from selling a tablet. Samsung was only the first target of their lawsuits. Had they won, they were going to go after Amazon and Microsoft next. Now they can't. Hence, the usefulness of their patent just disappeared.

      This is a great day for consumers, for competition, and for the market. The only people who feel bad about this (but they'll be too cowardly to post here) are those employed by Apple to astroturf.
      • Yeah and

        Those stinking patents might just cost Apple their retainer!
      • Acually the only quote that counts

        is the one about the Galaxy Tab being not as cool as the iPad. HaHa
        • Nope

          The only quote that counts in a court of law is the verdict.

          "The Samsung tablets do not infringe Apple's registered design No. 000181607-0001."

  • Slightly more balanced reporting can be found here


    "Currently, Apple is the most relentless as far as lawsuit filing goes, to the point where more than one person has begun to call it a genuine patent troll, regardless of the wins and losses."
    • I cannot wait

      I cannot wait until this all plays out against Apple and they actually have to compete on merit (something that previously ended with Apple getting it's Arse whooped by Android) and both MS and Android run them out of this market.
    • Text From that article

      Article from Softpedia

      "We lost count of its many courtroom debacles long ago, but recent events have not been going in its favor (with the obligatory exceptions, naturally).

      To give a couple of examples, HTC one-upped it and even Kodak managed to squeeze a win.

      Now, we are going back to the now infamous spat between Apple and Samsung, where the former keeps trying to ban the latter's slates.

      The UK ended up not repeating the Australia incident, as we have taken to calling it. Rather than banning sales of the Galaxy Tab slates, the court decided there were more than enough differences between them and Apple's iPad.

      In fact, it ruled that the differences were clearly visible, especially on the front panel, side profiles and the rear surface.

      To give the court even more credit, it “dismissed Apple’s arguments by referring to approximately 50 examples of prior art, or designs that were previously created or patented, from before 2004.”

      Knight Ridder (1994), the Ozolin (2004), and HP’s TC1000 (2003) were only three of those examples

      “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 ruling said, according to Pocket-Lint.

      Apple has yet to comment on the decision in any way, but we're certain they will press forward. Until such a time, the Galaxy tab 7.7, 10.1 and 8.9 will continue selling in the United Kingdom.
  • Say what you will...

    At least now we know being too cool can hurt you in a court of law. :P
    • We also know that...

      you can't sue me for patent infringement because I am as tall as you are!
  • At least it's over

    Now the companies can focus on making products, right?
    Michael Alan Goff
    • Country by country

      In the UK perhaps. I think there are still several of these cases going on in various countries, each with different legal systems, different case law, and different underlying legislation. I doubt we can extrapolate the result in any one country to any other.
      Robert Hahn
      • Microsoft all over

        Apple is becoming more and more like an uglier version of MS. Some day this monopolist will be clipped. With Jobs it has lost creativity and more and more looks like SCO.
        Van Der
        • Why do you think so many go to law school?

          C'mon, they're all suing each other all the time, all over the world. Oracle sues Google. Apple sues Samsung. Microsoft threatens little guys with lawsuits unless they pay up. It's a cost of doing business. I doubt there's a company anywhere that has revenues over $1 billion that doesn't have at least ten lawsuits pending against it every day of every year.
          Robert Hahn