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Patents Apple

Sale of Samsung Galaxy Tab Blocked in the EU 412

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the former-lovers-quarrel dept.
bizwriter writes with a news piece in bnet about the continuing battle between Samsung and Apple. From the article: "In a stunning and painful decision for Samsung, Apple got a German court to issue a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab. According to patent analyst and blogger Florian Mueller, that means Samsung cannot ... sell its tablet in the entire European Union, except for the Netherlands."
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Sale of Samsung Galaxy Tab Blocked in the EU

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  • by unity100 (970058)
    Its better to block out competitors by trolling patents than outcompete them isnt it. god bless american companies ..... not.
    • What's unusual is that the Galaxy Tab looks and acts far less like an iPad than the Galaxy S does an iPhone. It's weird that they're gunning so hard after the tablet.

      Unless Apple has a patent on the rectangle, I can't see how any court sees a resemblance. Their respective software doesn't look anything alike, and the form factor is basically the same as every tablet ever, including those that preceded the iPad.

      • by gorzek (647352)

        Yeah, but Apple basically owns the tablet market right now with the iPad. While they've always had an edge in the smartphone market, they can't realistically kill all their competition there. In the world of tablets, however, they run the show and if they can keep everyone else out, so much the better (for Apple.)

      • by Raisey-raison (850922) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @03:12PM (#37036642)

        The reason Apple is going after the Galaxy Tab is that a vary rare event has occurred - they actually have a competitor producing a product which is as good or better than Apple's product.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      Hmm...glad I got my nook, and rooted it into an android tablet.

      HEY, there's the ticket...have Samsung and all the others....put out VERY powerful ereaders, which can be easily 'hacked' by most any user into a full blown working tablet.

      So far, it seems one can put out any type of ereader...just have it easy to 'convert'...and voila...you have a market and Apple can't sue you.

      Seems an easy way to get around most any patent that is software or 'use' related...sell the hardware with minimal installed softwar

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      That's ok, it will just force Samsung to come out with a more innovative product and eat Apple's lunch for them. Not hard to do when your R&D consists of a bunch of lawyers.
      • by bonch (38532) *

        Whose design R&D consists of a bunch of lawyers? Apple's? You can't be serious.

    • by beelsebob (529313)

      Its better to outright copy competitors than out innovate and out compete them isn't it. ;)

      • by unity100 (970058)
        instead, samsung should have gone back to drawing board to invent THE RECTANGLE and ROUNDED CORNERS. these are what they are being sued for.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      Its better to block out competitors by trolling patents than outcompete them isnt it. god bless american companies ..... not.

      Well, for starters Samsung is a Korean company.

      At this point, I have no idea who sued who first ... but Samsung made the components for Apple, and Apple is asserting that in the process, Samsung ripped off their technologies so they could make their own product. (A little googling managed to turn up this [ibtimes.com] timeline -- apparently Apple sued first.)

      Sadly, with patents being such a big fa

    • The entire purpose of patents is to block out competitors by securing to inventors exclusive rights over their inventions. Who would invest the money to invent if somebody else can just copy it and not have years of debt to pay off?

      And for that matter software patents are good and they encourage innovation. Software is not math, it's a machine. Inventing a new sorting algorithm is no different from inventing a new physical sorting process except it's simulated by a computer. What's really the matter is

      • says who. apple ?

        apple has done a huge amount of research in inventing in many areas like, what, geometry ? so that they are able to sue samsung over RECTANGLE shape and ROUNDED CORNERS ?

        before jumping in and sounding like an idiot like this, how about actually reading what is happening and what 'patent' is in question ?
    • If you can't trace the intellectual property you are using, don't use it. That means don't your own R&D. In fact, if you hire software engineers, don't even have them do anything innovative.

      If you do, you are taking a great risk. To increase your reward and compensate for the risk, patent everything and sue aggressively. By the way, since developing technology is now a high risk activity, it is not suitable for small companies or entrepreneurs. Excessive IP laws and suing people for innovating is

  • Design patents (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @01:58PM (#37035754) Homepage Journal

    From the article:

    Note that this preliminary injunction is all about a design-related intellectual property right, not about hardware or software patents.

    This might be confusing to readers in the United States, where exclusive rights in industrial design are treated as patents [wikipedia.org].

    Tagged as ohnoitsflorian

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by David Gerard (12369)

      Anything from Florian should be regarded as primarily ad-banner trolling.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And ignoring Florian is somehow making the injunction in Europe go away? People, grow up, please.

  • looking at the design IP, its just a flat thin shape with curved edges and corners.

    it seems pretty generic...

    • Does this cover anything with that shape, or just tablets? Because I have a slice of bread I think they might be interested in...
    • by GNUman (155139)
      Yeah, the description in the document under code 54 (i.e. Indication of the product) it literally just says "Handheld Computer".
      • by GNUman (155139)
        oops... I guess that makes sense, given that they are registering the "design", not the "invention", of a handheld computer.
    • From what I could tell of the design, it was rounded at the bottom and squared at the top. The iPad is tapered to rounded edges, the design isn't. The Galaxy 10.1 has the rounding in the middle, and not the top. The front of the Samsung resembles many flat screen TV's, only smaller. What are they suing over again? Having looked at both products, both seem to be significantly different from the design.
  • by Local ID10T (790134) <ID10T.L.USER@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @02:01PM (#37035804) Homepage

    Stop quoting Florian Mueller as news.

    • Could you elaborate why florian mueller is so evil? I don't get it.

      • by Nick Ives (317) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @02:29PM (#37036180)

        He has a history of saying controversial things to drive traffic to his weblog. He had a long running feud with PJ and the Groklaw community in general where his analysis into the various SCO cases was consistently shown to be total crap.

        It's also very doubtful that he has any legal qualifications whatsoever. He's just an attention whore trying to scrape a living on Adsense revenue. He deserves pity, but not attention.

      • Florian is a paid astroturfer.

        At one point he was a controversial blogger, then he got noticed, and now he is a paid mouthpiece who does not state upfront that the "facts" he champions are the opinions of his employers.

  • And the use of government power by corporate cronies continues...why let the market decide which device should be sold and bought when you can use the power and violence of Government to work in your favor?

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      The point is that today if such things were eliminated, Apple would be out of business in a month. Why wouldn't some company in China simply reproduce the iPad, iPhone, iXYZ, whatever for half the price? And, considering it cost them a tenth of the manufacturing cost (using 100% slave laber as opposed to Foxconn using people that are only 3/4th slaves), it would be extremely profitable.

      For a month. Until someone else copied it yet again.

      I'm really not sure why we aren't seeing a flood of iPad clones in t

      • by Renraku (518261)

        Apple hardware is somewhat expensive and hard to replicate to begin with. They do use high quality parts. My guess is that some other people have tried to make clones using cheaper parts and they've fallen apart in their hands

    • by PNutts (199112)

      And the use of government power by corporate cronies continues...why let the market decide which device should be sold and bought when you can use the power and violence of Government to work in your favor?

      Yeah! We hate Apple for this! How dare they influence the EU to determine which browser we use! Oops, I meant hardware. I thought this was 2009 thread.

  • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @02:12PM (#37035942)
    So what is the lifespan of this non patent? 5, 10, 20, 100 years?
  • Pathetic Apple (Score:5, Informative)

    by loconet (415875) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @02:15PM (#37035984) Homepage

    The community design document can be found here [scribd.com]. They're effectively preventing anyone from creating a mobile computer device that is rectangular in shape with round corners. Unbelievable.

    • Re:Pathetic Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @03:06PM (#37036568)

      The community design document can be found here [scribd.com]. They're effectively preventing anyone from creating a mobile computer device that is rectangular in shape with round corners. Unbelievable.

      Apple is both competing on trademarks and design innovation. People used to say the iPod would bomb, it's done well. People said the iPhone would bomb, it's done well. People used to say the iPad... well, you get the point. Apple is willing to innovate even where it will kill current product lines. Microsoft could never do a good tablet because it's worried about the Windows franchise. It could never do a good phone because it needs to look like desktop Windows. Steve Jobs to his credit is fine selling iPads even if they cannibalize MacBook sales. He made iTunes for Windows even though not having iTunes there was a carrot to buy a Mac - he's good with iTunes on Windows as long as it sold iPods. He killed the iPod Mini for the Nano because he felt Solid State was the way forward. Apple is many things, being pathetic not being one i ascribe to it

      Apple is fairly innovative, and pretty much every phone I see now looks like an iPhone with maybe a button or two. Whether you say that industrial design should be able to be protected by law, well that's a different argument. But the design element is one of the things that Apple can use, and it does.

      Apple is not a computer company, nor a phone company, nor a media company. It is a design company. It designs products that work. You may think you want a company run by geeks, but then you get Windows Zune, and Squirting files, and PlaysForSure. Of course Apple will fight for it's designs.

      In a weird way, in our financial society, Apple not using available trademarks may open them up to shareholder lawsuits - not doing all to protect shareholder value and all that. It's a sucky system. Apple is not manipulating it. It is using one of it's many ways to compete. In the courtroom, and in the market.

    • Re:Pathetic Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MrDoh! (71235) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @04:05PM (#37037274) Homepage Journal

      This is an iPad design from 2004 on a TV show;
      https://plus.google.com/100241261662852079434/posts/12kf2e2BGjn [google.com]

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @02:17PM (#37036002)

    Those who can, do.
    Those who can't, sue.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @02:18PM (#37036014)
    And a high risk strategy. Currently Apple is doing everything it can to inflate its share price in the short term while creating enemies for the long term. An EU design registration must be on features that are not function-related. If it can be shown that a design feature is in fact the result of an in optimisation, or required for compatibility with a pre-existing requirement, it can be invalidated.

    For instance, suppose I register a box with round corners. Now you show that the real reason for round corners is so that the box, designed to go in a pocket, will not put too much stress on the pocket material. It is a human factors improvement; it should not be usable as a design copyright.

    I'm sure that Samsung will be actively pursuing any way of showing that Apple's tablet design follows naturally from engineering factors for a portable computer. Meanwhile, Apple had better hope its new manufacturing partners don't start to worry about which of their products it might go after.

    • by Dewin (989206)

      For instance, suppose I register a box with round corners. Now you show that the real reason for round corners is so that the box, designed to go in a pocket, will not put too much stress on the pocket material.

      I know a lot of people who store their tablets/ereaders/etc in a backpack, which is basically a giant pocket on your back... and it does seem a very reasonable assumption.

      It also makes it easier to get into any sort of carrying case -- hard corners means you need to line it up perfectly, whereas ro

  • Apple statement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) * on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @02:19PM (#37036020)

    “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 we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

    Apple is in the right here. Certain companies just want to copy Apple's designs, slap Linux on them, and make money, and the only reason geek communities like Slashdot support it is because they run Linux, even though Slashdot has previously trashed other companies like Microsoft for ripping off people's ideas.

    Just look at what Android phones looked like before and after [andrewwarner.com] the iPhone was released in 2007. At first, they looked like Blackberries, and then all the sudden, they all looked like iPhones.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by synapse7 (1075571)
      "... from the shape... companies steal our ideas." They are saying our phone is rectangular and nobody else can also produce a rectangular phone seems ridiculous(asinine, other 3-4 syllable adverbs), yet you agree with this?
    • Re:Apple statement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @03:08PM (#37036596) Journal

      Certain companies just want to copy Apple's designs, slap Linux on them, and make money

      Yes, Apple invented the mobile phone and it's not like Apple took an open-source operating system and used it for the core of their OS, is it?

    • Re:Apple statement (Score:5, Informative)

      by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @03:23PM (#37036770)
      Pretty sure the fact that there was Android devices before the iPhone (incidentally Google bought Android in 2005... way before the iPhone) shows that Google isn't just copying their design and slapping Linux on it. Oh, and the base Android [wikimedia.org] setup looks nothing like the base iPhone [wikimedia.org] setup. Incidentally, you might want to look up the LG Prada, which had pictures of it released into the wild ~6 months before the iPhone (AFAICT) and looks quite similar. In fact, it's quite likely Apple copied that phone in making the iPhone (LG claimed Apple did, but never actually filed suit). So, Apple is in the right? I doubt it.
    • by MacTO (1161105)

      There are arguments that can be made either way.

      Companies like Samsung could argue that consumers did not want a hardware keyboard, and a tablet/phone without a hardware keyboard reduces to an iPad/iPhone like design.

      Granted, some of those devices do look uncannily like an iPad/iPhone. That doesn't really have to be the case. Imagine an ereader with a different display technology, and they provide variations on the physical design of tablets. Or look at PDA designs, and they provide variations on what an

    • Re:Apple statement (Score:5, Informative)

      by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @04:18PM (#37037426)

      Just look at what Android phones looked like before and after the iPhone was released in 2007.

      Well yeah, if you limit your sample to phones which didn't look like an iPhone before the iPhone was released, of course it's going to look like they copied the iPhone. As it turns out LG announced this phone [wikipedia.org] to the public with pics 3 weeks before the iPhone [engadget.com]. Black, touchscreen covering nearly the entire front surface, rectangular, rounded corners, and icons arranged in a grid [youtube.com]. So if we were to take your argument at face value, LG deserves credit for the current form factor of smartphones, Apple just happened to make the most successful copy, and Apple fans are deliberately ignoring history to spread misguided claims that Apple invented it all and others are copying from Apple.

      The reality is that the current form factor is just the natural evolution of the smartphone due to a variety of factors, none of which has to do with a distinctive design that others are copying from LG (or Apple). You need to maximize screen size to comfortably browse the web on something the size of a phone, so the screen will cover almost the entire front surface. The screen needs to be black to maximize the contrast ratio - if you use a white screen you have to turn off the lights to maximize contrast. Capacitive touchscreens (which had just reached commercial critical mass, and the LG had before the iPhone) were responsive enough that they could replace trackballs or directional navigation keys. Rounded corners prevent it from poking you while in your pocket. And icons in a grid have been around since the Xerox Star IS in 1981 [toastytech.com]; even earlier if you look outside computers. All of this is stuff which would be obvious to someone working in the field, and thus not worthy of patent protection.

  • Not about patents (Score:5, Informative)

    by prefec2 (875483) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @02:21PM (#37036060)

    This is not about patents. It is about the design of the Galaxy Tab which looks so similar to the iPad. I do not know the correct English term. In Germany it is called Produktmusterschutz (copyright on product pattern/design/the art of appearance). Like you are not allowed to open a fast food restaurant McDonald's without asking the company of that particular name. As they own the brand and the design of the logo and shops etc.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @02:28PM (#37036164)

    It was only a couple days ago here on Slashdot I read several comments along the lines of "that sort of crap only happens in your American legal system, not in Europe". So one of two things must be true.

    1) Apple has a legitimate case; or

    2) European law has the same issues as American law.

    European Linux fans need to try to figure out which one it is without having their heads explode.

    • by Pecisk (688001)

      Judge doesn't care if Apple has legitimate case, he looks first if it does look like Apple can argue about something legal here. This action is to stop to cause damage to Apple (theoretically) due of illegal action. If Apple looses (and I bet it will, because otherwise they would have sued 6 months ago - now they are loosing market share and have launched lawyers to repair damage), they will open themselves to colossal civil suit with will eat trough their profits in Europe in minutes.

      What is interesting th

      • by Dhalka226 (559740)

        Judge doesn't care if Apple has legitimate case

        Really? You're saying that the judge is willing to cause millions and millions of dollars of harm to somebody without believing their adversary has a good chance of winning?

        The US has a lot of problems with its legal system, but that is not one of them. Here, a judge must make a determination not only about the potential harm somebody like Samsung might be causing, but about the likelihood that Apple has brought a winnable case (among other things).

  • Perhaps Samsung should have left well enough alone [slashdot.org] a month ago?

    This crap sickens me. Is it possible that our economies are becoming less rather than more ethical as civilization (d|)evolves?

    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      Yeah, except if you recall, Samsung's move was in retaliation of Apple attempting to ban imports of the Galaxy Tab into the US using the exact same crap reasoning they're getting away with in Europe.

      Except as far as I know, they weren't able to get a preliminary injunction in the US, and instead are still in US court suing Samsung over rounded corners and arranging icons in a grid.

      Samsung's patents, on the other hand, are based on actual technology. Whether they're really patent worthy or not I can't really

  • Time to buy as many as you can get your hands on to sell on eBay at a nice 25% markup.

  • This is a victory for innovation and one which the consumers will enjoy. Because we all know that all these patents are there to ensure that the consumers get the best possible option.

    In opposite world!

  • ...five hour drive one way from Paris, six hours from Berlin.

  • by JonathanF (532591) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @03:28PM (#37036828)

    Remember what the Galaxy Tab 10.1 looked like in February this year? It was fatter and it only somewhat looked like what Apple was doing.

    And then... the iPad 2 came. You can tell that Samsung completely freaked out that it would lose to Apple, because it almost immediately said it "would not be outdone" by the iPad's new design:

    http://www.electronista.com/articles/11/03/24/samsung.says.galaxy.tab.101.thinner.to.beat.ipad/ [electronista.com]

    Yep. Samsung openly admitted that it was going to change the shape of its tablet because of the iPad 2, just two weeks after it had unveiled its own work. And sure enough, in March, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was suddenly a lot thinner and looked remarkably much more like the iPad 2. I was at the CTIA's spring show, where they first showed off the remake: they even made it a source of pride how quickly they'd changed the look and had a glass case showing the old version and the new one.

    I would personally keep the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on shelves because it's different enough, but there's no question that the model you see now wouldn't look the way it does if it weren't for Apple.

    • Samsung openly admitted that it was going to change the shape of its tablet because of the iPad 2, just two weeks after it had unveiled its own work. And sure enough, in March, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was suddenly a lot thinner and looked remarkably much more like the iPad 2.

      You're absolutely right. Once one company makes a minor incremental improvement such as making a device thinner, nobody else should be able to copy the concept of making thinner devices. They should be stuck making thick, outdated devic

    • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @04:30PM (#37037572)
      "We have to make our tablet thinner because the iPad 2 is thinner" infringes a design patent? Isn't making the device as thin and light as reasonably possible an obvious goal for any handheld device? That's like saying Intel is stealing ideas from AMD when Intel tries to increase CPU clock speeds to keep up with AMD (and vice versa).
    • by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @04:34PM (#37037606)

      I would personally keep the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on shelves because it's different enough, but there's no question that the model you see now wouldn't look the way it does if it weren't for Apple.

      The Galaxy Tab 10.1 also has a higher res screen than the iPad 2. If the iPad3 or iPad4 comes out with a higher-res screen, are you going to use the same reasoning you just did and claim "there's no question" that Apple wouldn't have increased the resolution "if it weren't for Samsung"?

  • I agree that you should be able to copy others work, but just because you have a touch screen tablet doesn't mean it is a knockoff. Essentially, the iPad is big iPod touch, if I offended an Apple fan with the statement I am sorry, but it is true. Essentially, the Galaxy is a big Droid without the phone. They run completely different operating systems. I mean I have a Samsung LED flat screen TV and it looks exactly like the many other LED flat screen TVs, but some of the TVs have different features. I think
  • by StripedCow (776465) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @05:33PM (#37038150)

    The whole principle of evolution is that good ideas are copied and bad ideas die. This principle works so well that even mother nature uses it. Now, thanks to the patent system, this brilliant idea is basically being defeated.

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