Apple injunctions against similar-looking tablets just beginning

Apple has won an injunction banning one tablet that looks similar to the iPad, and promises more are on the way. These are indeed crazy times in mobile technology.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

Apple is a company that has always protected its intellectual property, and the recent injunction in Germany against the Samsung Galaxy Tab is just the first of what may be many. The authorities ruled that Samsung's tablet looked too much like the iPad, and has banned its sale across the EU. Buried in that court filing by Apple is the indication that it will seek a similar injunction against Motorola for the XOOM. Where will this madness end?

Tablets and its smaller sibling smartphone are devices that are similar no matter who makes them. The function of these devices leaves little room to make the appearance of them distinctive, and that's why this injunction is insane. If you read the court documents, it quickly becomes apparent that Apple can make the same case against every tablet on the planet. It's one thing to protect technical developments, but to say that only Apple can produce a tablet that looks like a tablet can only hurt consumers wanting choice.

It is clear that Apple is cherry-picking competitor's products that threatens its iPad business, and will keep doing so going forward given its initial success in the courts. You keep doing it until it no longer works, not to protect your dominant business position but because it is an expensive deterrent to competitors to play the game. That's exactly what this is for, make no mistake about it.

I am supportive of companies protecting inventions, but this is just ludicrous. You can't ban products that look something like another, as that just stifles competition. Exact knockoffs should be prohibited, but that's a far cry from things that just look somewhat like other things. It is disappointing to see courts falling under the Apple spell like this.


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