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

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.