It looks like Samsung might be getting some vindication on the Ban imposed on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. It appears that at least one Appeals Judge feels that the original ban might not have been fair. According to several articles on the Internet Federal Court Justice Lindsay Foster could be the saving grace for Samsung in their legal battles down under. The original ban was put in place as a temporary measure until a full trial could take place over what Apple calls “blatant copying”. Samsung, on the other hand, feels that the ban was unjust due to the large number of other tablets on the market with the same look and feel as the iPad. To prove their point they have produced video evidence showing off tablets from Motorola, Asus, Acer and others. They feel that Apple is singling them out (in much the same way that Adobe was attacked by Apple over Flash).
Well it is time for another Apple Legal Round up. On Friday October 14th 2011 we find that Apple has managed to get a preliminary injunction on the sales of some of Samsung’s products in Australia. Most notable in this ban is the Galaxy Tab 10.1. This injunction and ban was handed down after Apple rejected a compromise offer to Apple. Apple is using this offer to bolster their claim that the Tab is a copy of their iPad and that it infringes on their Intellectual Property. On the other hand their rejection of this could be seen as an indication that they are not looking to cooperate and just want a competing product off the market. Either way the ban will be in place until after the case in heard in court.
In the Netherlands, Apple has managed to avoid having their own products banned. It seems that Samsung put in a complaint stating that Apple has infringed on their patents involving 3G technologies. However the judge in this case was not buying it. Samsung’s complaint and accusations were thrown out along with Apple’s own counter complaints. It is quite possible that they are getting a little tired of the bickering between these two companies. In this case Samsung has stated they will pursue other avenues to protect their IP.
In the US a judge has refused a preliminary ban on Samsung products stating that Apple has to prove their claims before any ban or injunction will be put into place. This case is a little interesting as it seems that the judge may hold some doubts to the validity of the patents in the first place. At one point US District Judge Lucy Koh held up both tablets and asked the Samsung lawyers present to identify them. It took a few moments before the answer could be supplied. Apple maintains that their design is what makes all of the difference and that no one should be copying it. The problem with that comment is that all tablets are going to have a similar design. They are rectangular devices with a screen on one side. Only logos and color differentiate most of them in terms of appearance. In any case Apple now has to not only prove that Samsung has violated these patents, but now also has to prove that the patents are valid.
These items are just the latest news in the patent war between Samsung and Apple. As of this writing there are over 20 legal cases in progress around the world. The enmity between these two comes from a bad ending to a partnership that Samsung and Apple enjoyed right up until Apple began designing their own chips for their products. May have felt that Apple used the information and technology provided by Samsung to start this venture only to find themselves not only left out, but being the target of Apple’s legal team attempting to suppress their products.
I doubt that we will ever know what really kicked all of this off but one thing is fairly clear IP or not; Apple wants Samsung’s (and others) phones and Tablets off the market. They know that even a temporary delay in sales can hinder or even kill a product.
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In the recent patent wars between Apple and, well just about everyone else you hear a lot about Prior Art. This is when someone can point to something that was created or in use before the item in question was patented. For example, if I tried to patent a circular disk intended to hold data, video or music I would not get it because of the CD-ROM, the DVD-RROM etc. So what about Apple’s recent legal action against Samsung? They claimed that the Tab 10.1 was a copy of the iPad and violated their patent. However, there is plenty or prior art to invalidate the concept design patent for the iPad.
One of the funniest that Samsung has brought to bear in the case is a screen shot taken from the Stanley Kubrick Movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” where two of the astronauts are sitting watching a video feed on a tablet device. Now Apple fans will say that Apple is allowed to patent this because Mr Kubrick did not! So since they (Apple) spent their hard earned money to take this concept and make it real they deserve the patent. Well there are two problems with that argument. First of all there were real tablets in existence before the iPad was even put to paper. But the second and one that I find the most ironic is that every movie is by its nature copyrighted. So images, concepts and ideas are considered the property of the copyright holder. This means that Apple violated Copyright when they designed the iPad.
Something to think about while we all wait for more interesting news.
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Ok, I could not let this one pass. After hearing about the first instance of inaccurate evidence presented by Apple in court. I honestly thought that occurrence might have been nothing more that old images or an accident involving someone trying to fit both pictures in the same space. However, now we hear about another case where Apple has done exactly the same thing. This time the case in question is in the Netherlands where Apple is trying to get a permanent ban AND a recall of all Galaxy Smart Phones and tablets.
At this point it seems that Apple is willing to lie, cheat and maybe even steal to get what they want (market dominance). I certainly hope that the courts hold Apple responsible on both counts. It is very clear that Apple feels it is above the law in the US where they have led a charmed life with the Patent office and the US International Trade Commission. Now they are taking this to the EU where they managed to get an ex-parte, non-hearing preliminary ban on the Tab 10.1 with inaccurate images as evidence. Thankfully, as of this writing the ban has been lifted (citing jurisdiction issues) in all countries in the EU except Germany. With mounting proof of falsified (or at least wildly inaccurate) visual evidence being used by Apple we would certainly hope these injunction requests are dropped for good and Apple required to face the consequences of their actions.