Samsung did not copy 'cool' Apple iPad, court rules

 

Samsung's Galaxy tablet computer is not “cool” enough to be confused with Apple's iPad, a judge has ruled.

The American electronics giant had argued the Samsung Galaxy Tab was too similar to their own product, but the claim was dismissed today at London's High Court.

Judge Colin Birss QC said: "They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool."

He said consumers were not likely to get the two tablet computers mixed up and ruled the Samsung tablets do not infringe Apple's registered design.

"The informed user's overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following: 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," he said.

"The overall impression produced is different."

The judge said that while the Tab and iPad look similar from the front, he noted differences in the thickness and details on the backs of the devices.

"There are some minor differences but to my eye there are two major differences. The most important difference between the Samsung Galaxy tablets and the Apple design is the thinness of the Galaxy tablets. The next most significant difference is the detailing on the back of each of the tablets."

The judge added: "To an informed user, the Galaxy tabs do not merely look like a thin version of the Apple design, they look like a different, thinner design of product."

He said he had questioned if those two differences were enough to overcome the similarity of the front of the devices and the overall shape of them.

Apple had argued that the front face and overall shape were the most important factors because the informed user would spend the most time looking at the front and holding it.

The judge said he did regard the overall shape as very significant but said there there was a very obvious visual similarity at the front.

"In my judgment the key to this case is the strength or significance of that similarity. As I have said, the significance of the near identity of the front surfaces of these products is reduced to a degree by the existence of similar fronts in the design corpus. The question is - to what degree?

"This case illustrates the importance of properly taking into account the informed user's knowledge and experience of the design corpus. When I first saw the Samsung products in this case I was struck by how similar they look to the Apple design when they are resting on a table. They look similar because they both have the same front screen. It stands out.

"However, to the informed user (which at that stage I was not) these screens do not stand out to anything like the same extent. The front view of the Apple design takes its place amongst its kindred prior art."

Apple has been given 21 days to appeal against the decision.

A spokeswoman for Samsung welcomed the ruling and accused Apple of "excessive legal claims".

She said: "Samsung welcomes today's judgment, which affirms our position that our Galaxy Tab products do not infringe Apple's registered design right. As the ruling proves, the origins of Apple's registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art.

"Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims in other countries based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited."

An Apple spokesman said he would not comment specifically on today's ruling but reiterated the company's earlier claims against Samsung: "It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging.

"This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

Apple is bringing similar action against Samsung in Germany and the Netherlands.

PA

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Ashdown Group: C# Developer

    £30000 - £36000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: C# Developer A highly s...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Test Engineer

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A market leading software...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...