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Apple Wins A Ban On The Galaxy Tab 7.7 In The EU, Despite Prior Art And Clear Differences

by on24 July 2012 2319 times
14621rotten apple

Ok, so I have this truck that I designed it is about 20 feet long and a little over 10 feet tall. The truck weighs 4 tons and comes only in black. I want to sue you because you built a sub-compact car that has four tires. This is the equivalent of what the “High” court in Germany has done by banning the Galaxy Tab 7.7 claiming that it resembles the iPad. The court’s reasons? Well they seem to think that the Tab 7.7 has sides and a back that looks like the iPad which makes it an infringing product and warrants a complete ban on the product throughout the European Union. Makes sense right?

Well let’s take a quick look at the Tab 7.7 and see if it is at all resembles the iPad, or were the German judges that ruled on this really high. Now, according to the design registered by Apple in 2004 and granted in 2010 (Design Number 003781832) neither the Galaxy Tab (any version) nor the current iPad look like the registered design.  The design images show a much smaller frame around the screen, a completely unadorned back and a thicker side-view with 90-degree rounded edges.

We have not even covered the fact that the Tab 7.7 is only SEVEN inches this makes it impossible to incorrectly identify the Tab 7.7 as an iPad not to mention the large “SAMSUNG” on the back. Now let’s take a look at some of the other unique and identifying features that make it very different from the iPad.  Item number one, the camera on the back is significantly larger than the one on any of the iPads currently produced and includes a flash, something that Apple did not include until the iPad 2. There is no camera claimed in the original design right so on that single item alone we are outside of Apple’s original designs which should have prevented the Tab from infringing.  Next we have the top and bottom on the back, which have a distinct shape and texture. The iPad does not have this and the claimed design is smooth across the back. With two simple items we have identified the Tab over the iPad, we are not sure how the German court can claim that this is anything like the iPad at this point. No consumer would mistake one of the other which is what the design right was intended to do. The aesthetic is very different than what you see with the iPad.

Samsun Galaxy Tab 7.7 - Image from gsmarena.com
Galaxy-Tab-7 7

The Court also claimed the sides were too close to the iPad, well let’s see. Apple put their sleep button in the top right of their iPad and the headphone jack on the opposite side. Samsung has their sleep button on the right side and the headphone port in the middle. The Tab also has a SIM and MicroSD card slot on the left side while the iPad does not.  Only at the bottom of the tab do we find similarities to the iPad. By this point for the courts to claim that the seven inch tab infringes on Apple’s design patent would have been a serious stretch and would have nothing to do with Apple’s claims that it impacts their sales by confusing the consumer. There is almost no way that a consumer would mistake one for the other.  As has been pointed out time and time again, this form factor existed in movies since the 1970s so the design of the tablet is represented in prior copyrighted art and also obvious.

Apple's iPad 2
apple-ipad-2-16gb-wifi

This shows strong support for the invalidation of Apple’s design patent, unfortunately the courts refused to see this and allowed it to stand despite the fact that Apple is working to stifle competition in the market with this attack patent. It has been suggested and some of the digital picture frame companies should go after Apple with their designs as the iPad resembles many of the digital picture frames that started hitting the market in 2003-2004. Or maybe some of the copyright holders for the images and items in their films should have a world with Apple about the design of the iPad considering the number of films that used the same form factor and design for futuristic tablets. Would Apple be able to maintain their patented design at that point? In simple terms the German High Court is wrong, they have failed to do their duty properly at all levels and are now harming the consumer and propping up a company that is abusing their market position in almost every company that they sell products in. Now that the EU has gone after Intel, Microsoft, LCD panel makers and are looking into Optical drive makers maybe they can spare some time to deal with the anti-competitive behavior of Apple… Of course that will probably never happen as too many in the EU court system have drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and believe that Apple invented the tablet.

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Last modified on 24 July 2012
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