Android Central

Apple has been defeated in a court case against Samsung in the UK, which sought to determine whether the Korean manufacturer's Galaxy Tabs were infringing upon Apple's registered community designs for the iPad. The British High Court today ruled that Samsung's designs for the Galaxy Tab 7.7, 8.9 and 10.1 are sufficiently different to Apple's, and cited examples of prior art in the area of tablet design dating back well before the advent of Apple's 9.7-inch slate.

Samsung's victory means it is free to continue selling its range of Android-powered tablets in the UK. Naturally the decision is a major blow for Apple, which has previously been successful in having Android tablets removed from the marketplace on account of design features like rounded corners and a thin chassis.

In a statement to UK tech site Pocket-Lint, Samsung said --

"Samsung had requested this voluntary trial in September 2011, in order to oppose Apple’s ongoing efforts to reduce consumer choice and innovation in the tablet market through their excessive legal claims and arguments. Apple has insisted that the three Samsung tablet products infringe several features of Apple’s design right, such as 'slightly rounded corners,' 'a flat transparent surface without any ornamentation,' and 'a thin profile.'

"However, the High Court dismissed Apple’s arguments by referring to approximately 50 examples of prior art, or designs that were previously created or patented, from before 2004. These include the Knight Ridder (1994), the Ozolin (2004), and HP’s TC1000 (2003). 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 news follows HTC's high-profile victory over Apple at the High Court last week, in which it was ruled that the former's Android phones did not infringe upon the latter's patents. Samsung hasn't been so lucky in the U.S., where the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is currently banned from sale, and it's had some success in blocking sales of the Galaxy Nexus.

Source: Pocket-Lint; More: iMore


Reader comments

British High Court rules in favor of Samsung in Apple trade dress case


'slightly rounded corners,' 'a flat transparent surface without any ornamentation,' 'a thin profile.'

REALLY?!?!? Is that as descriptive as it gets? Is that what they've been challenging all this time? I honestly can't even believe they've taken it as far as they have.

That was Samsung's line.....not the court's. The Verge quotes the judge as saying that the Galaxy tablets "'do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,' concluding with the rather subjective claim that 'they are not as cool.'"

Not really sure why the judge threw that in there, but whole thing about lack of originality came from Samsung's PR people.

It's PR that is actually based on the full text of the ruling though.

"The front view of the Apple design takes its place amongst its kindred prior art. There is a clear family resemblance between the front of the Apple design and other members of that family (Flatron, Bloomberg 1 and 2, Ozolins, Showbox, Wacom). They are not identical to each other but they form a family."

Apple is a joke. Just make your product, price it competitively and stop trying to sabotage the competition with frivolous legal actions.

I think their counter argument would be that they tried that in the 80's with Microsoft and nearly went under as a result. That's undoubtedly why they went so far in trying to patent every possible aspect of their products the way they have.

Its funny how all this crap goes on about the common looks if phones and tablets but yet almost every single LCD, LED, Plasma TV hangibg in the stores look almost exactly the same and there are no problems in that market...

...Oh, sorry, bad comparison...Apple doesn't make a TV yet!!!

I'm sure as soon as Apple has a TV hanging in stores, the lawsuits will begin against how other TV's look too much like Apples'.


It's quite funny that they don't mention, even once, that Apple lost. They just mention a Bloomberg statement about "Samsung not being cool enough." If you base your whole point on if a product is "cool enough" and not "what can it do for me?" then you deserve what you get.

I can't bash Apple's design, nor can I bash iOS because in both cases it is designed to be simple and user friendly. Well...I can bash the design of the i4 (glass on both sides? Seriously?). Still looks good, though.

This is a great win for Samsung! I am the proud owner of a GNote and wouldn't trade it for the moment. Maybe a couple years down the road. ;)

I can bash Apple design, its as dull as a very dull thing. All Apple products look old and boring. The Tab, while similar is nicer in that its widescreen and a little more techy.
The coolness is subjective, but if you had switched the badges and asked people which was cooler, the Samsung design would have won.

Typical iPress... They all seem to take a loss so personally. Like they have some stake in the outcome of these lawsuits.

Personally? I find it hilarious that these sheep feel so deeply about a company that can care less about them (except for their wallets, they really love their wallets).

Rene's a very intelligent person. There is no doubt in my mind that he only put his spin on the story to cater to the iDIOTS. As far as the Tab 10.1 not being cool enough, it's a nice piece of tech, but we can all agree that it wasn't as wildly popular as the iPad. Regardless of whether the judge thinks its cool enough or not cool enough to infringe on "Prior Art," a victory is a victory. Apple should be careful, because filing a lawsuit like this may spur past tablet manufacturers to join a class action and play the "prior art" card...

Nice to finally see a court that really puts these trade dress patents into proper context. Apple did not invent a rectangular flat surface with rounded corners.

Great news! This design patent never made sense considering how obvious the elements are. So many examples of prior art and it's taken this long to start overturning it?

Now, how about this court takes a look at the '604 ("Siri") patent on unified search. You know, the one filed for on December 1, 2004, even though Google Desktop released a beta that clearly used unified search on October 14, 2004. I'm sure many other examples of "unified search" prior art also exist, but this is the one that should be used to challenge the ban on the Galaxy Nexus phone.

This design patent fiasco has gone too far, and I'm glad to see crAPPLE take a hit here. Win by innovation, not by litigation. I'm a proud mac user, and a proud android user. Nothing wrong with the iPhone, just not for my personal tastes. They've made a ton of money on it, and will continue to, but this is where greed goes too far. How much money is enough Apple? It appears that the US ITC is starting to get upset at using litigation to ban the sale of other devices. I'm surprised AC doesn't have this article. Without naming apple, it's clear what they are referring to in taking up this issue. Read this.

Only UK court seems to understand logic, whereas the Court rulings in the U.S. are plain stupid, god knows how they ever became a judge, oh yeah, forgot to mention, the U.S. is owned by money.

I know we will never be certain what this does or does not cost Apple, but I wonder how much their legal shenanigans really do for them? How much do they spend on these ban attempts, which even when granted are quickly overturned or gotten around via minor modifications? Does the PR result end up more like "Everyone copies Apple" or "Apple tries to patent the rectangle? WTF?" They don't really need to reinforce the opinions of teir devotees, so is this sound economics for them? Are they just trying to bleed the competitions' legal funds because they are sitting on such a pile of cash?

I hate software patents on principle, and these obvious "look and feel" issues are woefully ridiculous. I really wish the patent system would revisit their earlier policy and nullify software patents as a class, but since there are enough lawyers leeching off the current system, I have my doubts it will ever happen. At the very least, I hope some major media start telling the story of how Apple keeps filing bogus lawsuits over bogus patents claiming ownership of things other people did before them.

I do think Apple just view all of this legal shenanigans as part of their marketing budget. Since the foundation of the company they have taken every opportunity to be perceived as the victim. By shouting loud about being copied all the time, they reinforce their brand in the minds of their faithful and draw attention away from all of the things they have copied along the way. It worked well for them for many years but now that they are the 800 pound gorilla in the room it makes little sense.

Amongst other things this is one of the primary reasons i dumped my ipad 3 months back for an Assus and last week i made the switch to an S3 .... Innovate Apple not litigate .... pathetic

I still find it ludicrous that Apple are allowed to patent the visual concept of 'a flat touchscreen device about notepad sized' since it's existed in science-fiction for many many years. Why not just let them patent the wheel and fire, then they can probably sue anybody for anything ever.

So apple stealing from other companies is ok as long is no one steals from them. Just recently apple stole the look of the pull down notifications from Android and the new sidebar in OSX looks a lot like the sidebar that Microsoft was going to put in Longhorn. There are a lot of other things apple has stolen and jobs even said in an interview that they steal from others.

I wish Microsoft and Google would sue apple to oblivion.

Apple's lawsuits are SO absurd that If Henry FORD used Apple's mentality-He would have sued all other car makers for having a steering wheel !

APPLE is the epitome of hypocrisy as APPLE have stolen and abused more patents than all the rest of the tech companies combined !!

Hey Apple Stop Stealing !
Not to mention How iPhone was created from a stolen Smartphone from Samsung,LG in 2006.

Apple Sued for Allegedly Stealing Noise Reduction Technology
July / 8/2012