18
Jul
gavel

Well, that certainly didn't go the way Apple would've liked. A UK judge presiding over one of many lawsuits involving Apple products—specifically concerning the Galaxy Tab line's alleged infringement of the iPad's design—has ordered Apple to publicly post on the UK version of its website that Samsung did not copy the iPad. Said the internet, "Oh, snap!"

The UK judge presiding over the case was the same one who made headlines recently for saying the Galaxy Tab lineup was "not as cool" as the iPad, and thus unlikely to be confused for Apple's slates. It's really hard to imagine an outcome that could be less flattering to both sides. Samsung wins the case, but only because the judge believes their products aren't good enough to stand next to the iPad, and Apple not only loses but is forced to publicly declare, despite the company's obvious beliefs on the subject, that Samsung didn't rip them off wholesale. Fortunately for Apple, at least, the court did not approve Samsung's request that Apple be forbidden from restating its claims that Samsung is a dirty, dirty thief. Apple simply has to place the notice on its website. What the company says elsewhere on the matter is completely up to Apple.

The ruling may seem pretty harsh to some (and it certainly is embarrassing for Apple, even if the damage is mostly limited to the UK audience), but it also highlights the huge differences in how what are essentially the same cases can be interpreted. Just a few hundred miles away in Germany, for example, courts ruled that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 not only infringed Apple's iPad design, but banned the sale of the tablet altogether, claiming that "Apple's minimalistic design isn't the only technical solution to make a tablet computer." I say tomato, you say ban all usage of the word tomato.

Hardly a day goes by anymore where we don't hear about some new ruling, new lawsuit, or new dispute on a patent/trademark/trade dress dispute. Hopefully, though, we can start to see an end to all these cases that seem to be so dependent on opinion that even the courts have wildly different views on what does and doesn't qualify as infringement.

Hey, I said "hopefully". A guy can dream, can't he?

Source: Bloomberg

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • ScottColbert

    I'm not sure why this tickles me so much but it does,

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    "Oh snap!" is the exact reaction I had.

    • bedwa

      Let's pimp out de iPad. (Rolls out trebuchet)

  • Quryous

    Samsung Galaxy Tab: Officially ruled hotter than the iFad, the tablet Apfail failed to stop.
    Experience the real Game Changer from Samsung.

  • Abhijeet Mishra

    Hahahahahahahaha is the reaction I had.. Okay, so that's an overstatement, but it made me smile :D

  • Sven Enterlein

    I think the judge should have Apple state this during their next keynote, e.g. when they show off the new iPh*ne. Exactly at the point where they usually bash their competition.

  • Oliver Petruzel

    I can't wait to see this, take a screenshot, and use it as my new avatar everywhere.

    Priceless! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714859472 Rajvir Singh

      Thats exactly what I was gonna say and do..

  • http://twitter.com/punitvthakkar Punit Thakkar

    That my friends is the definition of "BURN"!!

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

    I'm going to be the negative nancy here, but let's be real about how Apple is going to handle this. First, they're going to appeal the ruling. After the appeal is over, if Apple loses and the public statement requirement still stands (that's a big "if"), Apple will wait until the last date possible to put it up.

    When they do put it up, it will be buried as far down as possible. It's unclear exactly what the judge means here by putting a notice on the website, but for all we know, it could end up under the "Legal" section - who in the hell reads that? Even if a direct link from the main page is required, they'll send it to the bottom in size 8 font and title it as something innocuous like "Required UK Disclosure Regarding Samsung v. Apple."

    Sure, it's funny, but it seems more a symbolic exercise of judicial authority than anything else.

    • squiddy20

      I was reading what the pro-Apple websites (such as Mac Rumors) posted about this and apparently Apple has to keep the website notification up "for six months and published in several newspapers and magazines to correct the damaging impression the South Korea-based company was copying Apple’s product". So even if it's on their Legal section, someone other than us nerds will find it and publicize it more.

      • New_Guy

        You are absolutely correct, my friend

      • New_Guy

        You are absolutely correct, my friend

    • Goldenpins

      I agree, Im sure apple will not display that in plane site with neon lights flashing. They should have that displayed directly in the site as you enter. Sounds almost like the judge made that "not as cool comment" to later drop the bomb and force them to display "not a copy or the iPad".

    • mesmorino

      To be fair, if the judge has any sense at all he'll also have included specific requirements for the notice, in order to preempt things like "oh but you didn't say how we had to display it"

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        That's really not how things like this work. Oftentimes there are a set of general guidelines, or a simple phrase like "visible to the general public." The judge can't simply make up arbitrary requirements.

        • marcusmaximus04

          In fairness, oftentimes it's pretty well established what is or isn't considered "visible to the general public". It may or may not be in this case(I don't know nearly enough about British law to claim one way or the other), but it's certainly possible that such a requirement is detailed in terms of having it be in a certain size font in a certain section of their website.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            Extremely unlikely, I'll just say that now. Remedies like this are generally loosely defined, because actually forcing a party to undertake an action which affects its public business perception is in and of itself a controversial remedy. The judge will most likely act as an interpreter of whether or not Apple's particular display is "adequate" - concrete requirements simply don't appear in this part of the law, and for very good reason.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            Extremely unlikely, I'll just say that now. Remedies like this are generally loosely defined, because actually forcing a party to undertake an action which affects its public business perception is in and of itself a controversial remedy. The judge will most likely act as an interpreter of whether or not Apple's particular display is "adequate" - concrete requirements simply don't appear in this part of the law, and for very good reason.

        • marcusmaximus04

          In fairness, oftentimes it's pretty well established what is or isn't considered "visible to the general public". It may or may not be in this case(I don't know nearly enough about British law to claim one way or the other), but it's certainly possible that such a requirement is detailed in terms of having it be in a certain size font in a certain section of their website.

        • New_Guy

          ...on the contrary, they are required to publicize the information in local print (magazines and newspapers)...I think this judge means more business than humor on this one.

        • New_Guy

          ...on the contrary, they are required to publicize the information in local print (magazines and newspapers)...I think this judge means more business than humor on this one.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about the web publication requirement.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about the web publication requirement.

  • Tre

    HOLY SHITPICKLES!!! LMFAO! This is what Apple deserves.

    • sonicdsl

      Thumbs up for "SHITPICKLES"! lol

  • fixxmyhead

    anyone got a screenshot. i wanna see that

  • http://www.facebook.com/SirFGrumpy Craig Dennis

    I say stuff Apple.

  • Goldenpins

    One of the American judges should force Apple to do the same here in the US. They pretty much embedded in most of the American people that Android is a copy and Samsung as well. Maybe not to us who do the research and like technology. I still run into random people that think Android was a legit rip off or they "heard/read" that Android in general is a copy. When I ask why do they think that? they bring up all these patent lawsuits. Most regular non-tech users will just assume it is, with no research.

    • New_Guy

      That's a great point.

    • Bucky

      Please read fully what I'm about to say before you reply to me. (Always a good start!)

      Android *is* a rip off of the highest order. All early versions of Android (see here http://blog.steventroughtonsmith.com/2012/05/2007s-pre-m3-version-of-android-google.html?m=1) show the OS as more a relation to the BlackBerry than to anything else. The iPhone came along out of nowhere and raised the bar. Google had to *copy* the iPhone in order to compete. This is the reason Google don't own very many patents, not due to the "don't be evil philosophy", but due to the fact they didn't actually invent any of it.

      I do believe that Google has innovated more within the space, however, by opening up API hooks that Apple never would (e.g. custom keyboards).

      There are plenty of people in this thread going "Oh I hate Apple and their fanboys, Apple can go screw themselves" (even one childishly saying that he refuses to capitalise the name), but in reality those individuals are the annoying Android fanboys and are no better than the people they're complaining about. I should point out that I am an Android user before those individuals start childishly complaining that the iOS users are invading their websites.

      Any well reasoned argument doesn't looks as to whether Google copied Apple (because it's quite obvious they did), but whether Apple should continue to enjoy exclusivity on such generic patents. Patents of the current length make sense for drugs companies that could take a decade or more to get a product to market, but in the software industry some of the products could get theoretically to market in hours, so a 17-year patent is ridiculous, and serious reform is needed.

      Innovation is always built on previous innovation. That's how it works. If someone still had a patent on the electric motor, Gd only knows where we'd be.

      At the end of the day, I don't have a problem with the judge's ruling, but I hope that it would happen for all lawsuits, regardless (so if Apple wins against an Android manufacturer, then the same would apply) making companies think twice about a lawsuit. Currently companies have nothing to lose by throwing lawsuits left, right and centre and as they have enormous purses, they do so and we end up in the current situation.

      • kris

        Hmmm...i agree....but eventually all Linux based OS are similar.
        I totally agree to your last point, thats how the industry works...just get over it and concentrate on the next product :-)

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        To be honest, there's a lot of filler words in your comment, and it seems that you really just said that Google copied Apple and that patents last too long (I have written a lot on this subject, I largely agree here).

        You are flat wrong about the claim that "Android is a rip off of the highest order". When presented as that website does, it sounds reasonably convincing, as do similar stories told by other cult of mac contributors. The problem, that article is written to convince you, not to be unbiased or presented as a theory. To that author's discredit, look at some of his other posts, there are an amazing number of technical inaccuracies and I counted a couple of blatant lies, so I have trouble taking him too seriously.

        The claim that Android started as a Blackberry competitor is absolutely true, and their own engineers have admitted it in the past (especially in the days prior to Google buying Android). The thing that nobody seems to discuss is that in the 6 months before the iPhone was announced, they were adding countless features that were intended to take on Windows Mobile as well. For anybody who's used Windows Mobile (before HTC started heavily re-skinning it), those screenshots look FAR (I mean absurdly) more similar to Windows Mobile than they do to Blackberry. The hardware matches Blackberry very well too, but it also matches every Windows Phone device that had a full keyboard in that time too (just look up the Palm Treo 750, running WM). I was doing contract work in the bay area in 2006 with a guy using a WM phone that was almost entirely touchscreen (except for the 4 buttons required by WM) and the dial pad looked like a darker version of the iPhone dialer (9 months before the iPhone was even announced).

        There's no denying that Android was adjusted to compete more directly with the iPhone, but calling it a "rip off" is so short-sighted as to consider it legally blind. Changing a product to have more similar features and to be competitive isn't copying nor is it an act of "me to" methodology, it's simply a part of being in competition. I'm not saying that the iPhone doesn't deserve credit for changing the course of smartphone interfaces; but it's wrong to give it too much credit to Apple, and a disservice to discredit others who are working in the same space who are responsible for doing a lot of great things as well.

  • grellanl

    I'm not entirely sure that by "less cool" the judge meant it was a worse product in any way - just that it didn't have the signature Apple style and was clearly not going to confuse the hip kids. A serious individual like a judge puts less store by "coolness" than the public at large...

  • grellanl

    I'm not entirely sure that by "less cool" the judge meant it was a worse product in any way - just that it didn't have the signature Apple style and was clearly not going to confuse the hip kids. A serious individual like a judge puts less store by "coolness" than the public at large...

  • oneillperson

    Head over to samsungcopiesapple.tumblr.com for a good laugh :)

  • oneillperson

    Head over to samsungcopiesapple.tumblr.com for a good laugh :)

  • SpankDEsdd

    Its not like Samsung doesnt copy Apple. We all know they try to do what Apple does. Look at their phones, dat home button, what the S1's Software looked like. That S-Voice.
    But Apple, like every other Manufacturer needs to stay over that. Just by inventing new stuff. Their toys are indeed cooler, but somewhat more limited. So we need competition. Thats it!

    • patapongirl

      You, my friend, are trying to say that Toyota copies Ford because they both make cars that run on 4 wheels and come with GPS.

    • John O’Connor

      S-Voice is not an Apple rip-off. Android had this since inception (not the speakback capability but voice actions). Siri is based off and licensed from the TTS Software of Nuance, the same company that Android has been using. It was just rebranded by Apple as Siri. I will give you the "HOME" button though; truth be told most Android devices don't have a singular hardware home button although to be fair, Samsung's home button is flanked by two capacitive buttons on either side, so it's a moot point since Apple has never had anything other than one button.

  • SpankDEsdd

    Its not like Samsung doesnt copy Apple. We all know they try to do what Apple does. Look at their phones, dat home button, what the S1's Software looked like. That S-Voice.
    But Apple, like every other Manufacturer needs to stay over that. Just by inventing new stuff. Their toys are indeed cooler, but somewhat more limited. So we need competition. Thats it!

  • http://twitter.com/Rovex Rovex

    At this point it doesnt matter how big the announcement is going to be, just this news alone is going viral. I see this as the judge telling Apple not to fill up the UK courts with stupid petty rubbish like it is in other countries. This sort of patent trolling just doesnt wash in the UK and design claims are viewed just the same way unless the copy actually is a counterfeit.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      While I'm not totally sold on the punishment (I think it's a dangerous precedent to set), I agree with your take on this. I think the judge is trying to preempt the UK from becoming just another battleground (or, maybe get out of the bad situation they are already in). None of these suits have been good for any other country that's listening to them, Apple is causing problems that extend well outside of some trivial competitive details, and it appears the judge is trying to solve a much bigger problem here. I commend him for that, I just wish the punishment didn't feel so childish.

  • http://twitter.com/Rovex Rovex

    At this point it doesnt matter how big the announcement is going to be, just this news alone is going viral. I see this as the judge telling Apple not to fill up the UK courts with stupid petty rubbish like it is in other countries. This sort of patent trolling just doesnt wash in the UK and design claims are viewed just the same way unless the copy actually is a counterfeit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Techraan Ron Morris

    Looks like they understand justice more in the UK than they do here in the US.

    • zarac

      Does this come as a shock to you?
      If it does, you must be very young and naive.

    • Franky

      Exactly. I'm still embarrassed for being German about the mentioned ruling.

  • Xander Crews

    Did Ford sue Chevy for making a car with 4 wheels and 2 doors? Their steering wheels look similar...both have dashboards with speedometers and similar gauges. Both have seatbelts that look very similar. Radios, headlights for night driving, brake lights, mirrors, both run on gas, both need oil, hood pop latches, blinkers, wipers for driving in the rain, etc, etc. Apple is ridiculous in thinking they have some sort of right to such a generic and simple design. All phones look similar...always have. All tv's look similar...always have. Microwaves, stoves, washers & dryers, shavers, computers, and blah, blah, blah. I'm tired of hearing Apple and their fanboys on their stupid websites & blogs bitch about how other companies steal from them. Apple didn't invent the phone or even the smartphone. Apple didn't invent the touch screen for cell phones. They weren't the first to use icons on a touch screen cell phone. They stole ideas for the first iPhone, tweaked some things, made it thinner and sexy, integrated it with iTunes, masterfully marketed it to their fanboy fanbase who will buy anything and praise it no matter what...and it took off. Jesus...I'm tired of Apple's bully tactics and trying to claim they invented the phone and the rectangle. Apple is a brutally hostile company that bears absolutely no resemblance to how they depicted themselves in that famous 1984 commercial. Now they are just like the tyrant-like leader on the screen with all of their blind sheep staring up at him while he talks. Hilarious how they have become what they were criticizing not too long ago.

  • yarrellray

    It's about time someone told apple to go jump off the highest bridge and die.

    • squiddy20

      No one told Apple to do that you moron. Try reading once in awhile.

  • John O’Connor

    I don't see it on the UK Apple site yet. They must have to put a call into Microsoft or Google or whoever runs their webservers, LOL

  • Justin Quang

    I've been trying to say why Samsung "copies" apple (you don't deserve to be capped).

    Just look at Samsung's and LG's phones, especially flip-phones (i.e. my current phone LG Ice Cream) and S. Korea exclusive phones.
    They always try to outdo the other by making a similar product.
    I think that's how they practice and compete their rivals.

    Also, they are both from the same country and competing against each other in many categories.
    I'm not saying they won't sue each other (they just did over some LED stuff), but it's just not as outrageously like apple does.
    Correct me if Samsung and LG do due each other madly.

  • Spatchcock

    *Lifted straight from Wikipedia*

    LG Electronics has claimed the iPhone's design was copied from the LG Prada. Woo-Young Kwak, head of LG Mobile Handset R&D Center, said at a press conference, “We consider that Apple copied the Prada phone after the design was unveiled when it was presented in the iF Design Award and won the prize in September 2006.” [8]

    LG later claimed that Apple stole both the ideas and concept of the Prada phone. A lawsuit by LG had been rumored prior to this announcement; [8] however, LG never followed through with it.

    *LG Prada, world's 1st capacitive touchscreen mobile phone.. This is how it happened people! *

  • festrada007

    Well Apple did steal the trash can, the GUI and the mouse

  • NeedName
Quantcast