Apple Wins EU Sales Ban on Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, Loses Appeal on Galaxy Tab 10.1N

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FOSS Patents reports that Apple has been granted an expanded sales ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.7 over design infringement, with a German court issuing a preliminary injunction ruling that Samsung may not sell the device anywhere in the European Union. A sales ban in Germany has been in effect for a number of months now under a decision related to its larger sibling, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but today's decision extends the ban to all EU countries.

The lower court had originally entered an EU-wide preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 affecting not only Samsung's German subsidiary but also its Korean parent company and, as a result, the Samsung group as a whole. It then modified that order so as to apply only to the German subsidiary, holding that Apple had not proven that the Korean parent company has an "establishment" in Germany. The appeals court, however, disagreed and found (already in the Galaxy Tab 10.1 decision) that Samsung's German subsidiary is effectively an establishment of the Korean parent company, even though it formally claims to be an independent legal entity.


The appeals court did not, however, find in Apple's favor regarding the Galaxy Tab 10.1N that Samsung released with a tweaked design to skirt around an injunction on the original Galaxy Tab 10.1. That design was a product of close collaboration between Samsung's designers and lawyers in order to address the court's findings of design infringement in the original model.

The report notes that these rulings are still preliminary, with Apple still pushing forward on two separate cases against Samsung in the German courts covering a total of five tablet and ten smartphone models.

Top Rated Comments

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105 months ago
I love it!
Keep it coming Apple!
*grabs popcorn*
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago

nah you're right i don't know about the laws and stuff but I am an industrial designer, concept artist, graphic designer and illustrator so I know what is stealing and what isn't.

Good for you, this discussion however is on patents and EU Community Designs. Thus there is no robbery or theft involved. Only possible verdict is infringement.

Put the two products together, take away that samsung logo even if you have to blur your eyes slightly you will see it will be hard to tell the difference. You can also do that with the box. Just take off that sammy logo and boom you have yourself an iPad clone. Not hard stuff, I don't mean to be rude but if you cannot see that it is hard to tell apart from a meter distance then you must be a rebel or something.

Again, that's not how it works. Read the actual UK ruling, it's available here :

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html

You can't for one, remove distinctive features to then claim infringement. All features and designs are considered, from all angles covered by the IP in question. In the UK decision, this led the judge to the following consideration :

I remind myself that the informed user is particularly observant, shows a relatively high degree of attention and in this case conducts a direct comparison between the products.

[...]

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.

So as the judge puts it, the tablets have distinctive features seperating them from one another. Infringement is about causing confusion in the user to appropriate sales that are meant for your competitor through making your users believe your product is the same. The judge covers this by pointing out that his obersvation of the products is based on the informed and attentive caracteristique of the typical user.

Now, he does state what you seem to be stating :

To my eye the most important similarities are as follows:

i) The view from the front is really very striking. The Galaxy tablets are not identical to the Apple design but they are very, very similar in this respect. The Samsung tablets use the very same screen, with a flat glass plate out to a very thin rim and a plain border under the glass.

This is important, because he then goes to say why he didn't hold this against Samsung :

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. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool. The overall impression produced is different.

"The family". This ruling contains close to 50 examples of designs that are very similar, like the Galaxy Tab, to Apple's front design, which is covered by the '607 registration. The problem for Apple ? These design examples existed prior to Apple's 2004 registration filing. This means that Apple's design is not novel. It is part of a great family of design and as such, Samsung is not "copying" Apple here, they are simply using a functional design that has become synonym with tablet design.

Thus the similarities are part of some "design corpus" as he puts it, while the distinctive elements that differentiate the tablets are numerous and different enough to claim non-infringement of Apple's design. IE, Samsung built a tablet like all tablets before it, and made it in their own Samsungy style.

The Judge in the UK specifically talks about the German and Dutch decisions, and says that he did read and consider them in his own ruling, but found his disagreement to trump their findings :

The German and Dutch decisions
These are Community wide rights and harmony between courts of different member states on issues like this is very desirable. However I find myself in a position in which I respectfully disagree with the assessment of the Dutch Court of Appeal on Stevenson and the German Court of Appeal on Ozolins. These documents form important parts of the design corpus. Ozolins played a significant role in both decisions, especially the German decision, and Stevenson was important in the Dutch decision. Given these areas of disagreement and given their preliminary character, I will not place reliance on the German or Dutch decisions nor will I make this judgment longer than it already is by analysing those decisions in detail.

All things again you should consider, read, understand before making the inflammatory comments you are making and the assumptions about people being "rebels or something". With this, I think I'm done with you however. You don't seem to be the kind of poster that's actually open to discussing this in an objective way.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago

I think that is a bit exaggerated mate. Samsung copied a lot more than just the rectangle if you look closer.

It's not exagerated when you consider that the IP in question is a rectangle with rounded corner. The document for the IP in question is 2 pages long and only has drawings, which are rectangles with nothing else :

http://www.scribd.com/doc/61944044/Community-Design-000181607-0001

The injunction is based on this design, which can frankly apply to a bunch of devices, and a ton of prior art if other courts are to be believed. Only Germany is granting "preliminary injunctions" (note this is not a verdict of infringement yet, these things have yet to go to trial).

EDIT : About the EU wide bad, didn't the German court run into an issue last time it tried a EU wide ban ? The problem was related to the fact that the design '607 was filed for and granted in Spain :

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-09/apple-wins-ruling-for-german-samsung-galaxy-tablet-10-1-ban.html

So why would this time be any different ? Articles are light.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago

Over all this translate into Apple is running scared suing with crapents.

This. And actually only this. Other companies (like Microsoft) would sell licenses and make money on every product that their competitors sell. Apple is dumb and arrogant enough to try to build a monopoly.


This is not about protecting IP but instead they are trying to slow down competitors.

In general, you are absolutely right. But in this case, it never even was about protecting "intellectual property" (that legal phrase alone is as idiotic as it gets), it was purely about registered design.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago

It's getting so bad that rectangle is even patented/copyrighted when used in these tech devices.


I think that is a bit exaggerated mate. Samsung copied a lot more than just the rectangle if you look closer.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago
This is weird.. How can a 7.7 inch (with a different aspect ratio) be confused with 9.7 inch tablet?

If this is true, why not also ban the 5.3 inch Galaxy Note which also has same shape? Galaxy Note also has same design -- just smaller compared to 7.7 inch Tab. What is the justification that 7.7 inch gets banned, but not it's smaller sibling? Both are covered with glass with black border? Only difference is that it has a S Pen and can make calls. Making calls is irrelevant here as it makes no difference to form factor of the device.

So, (if) tomorrow Apple launches a TV, can Samsung apply for a ban of iTV because that would also be rectangular with thin bezel? I have checked the EU Trademarks and Community designs site, and Samsung already seemed to have covered every possible TV design registration.

http://oami.europa.eu

I doubt if Apple launches a TV, Samsung would be gunning for it similarly based on such design.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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