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The Courts Handhelds Patents Apple

Samsung Lawyer Fails To Differentiate iPad and Galaxy Tab In Court 495

Posted by Soulskill
from the shouldn't-you-know-these-things dept.
Several readers sent in a story that's sure to be embarrassing for Samsung. The company has been involved in a drawn-out patent dispute with Apple over similarities between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad. Today, during a court session, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh held up both objects and asked one of Samsung's attorneys whether she could identify which was which. The attorney replied, "Not at this distance, your honor." The distance was roughly 10 feet. The judge then quizzed the rest of Samsung's lawyers. After a brief hesitation, one of them was able to correctly identify the Galaxy Tab.
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Samsung Lawyer Fails To Differentiate iPad and Galaxy Tab In Court

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  • by bhagwad (1426855) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:43PM (#37718760) Homepage
    Two rectangular slabs are supposed to be perfectly distinguishable at 10 feet? Perhaps Apple wants Samsung to make round tablets. How bout trapezoidal? I'm sure that's not patented...
    • by Cryacin (657549) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:45PM (#37718780)
      How about turning them on? The one that works is a Samsung.
      • Other way? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:20PM (#37719256)

        For something to be funny, it has to be based in truth... an Android tablet having run out of power rings far more true than the iPad having failed for some reason.

        But part of the point of the lawsuits is that even on, most would be hard pressed to tell them apart...

        • Re:Other way? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by guybrush3pwood (1579937) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:50PM (#37719614) Homepage

          For something to be funny, it has to be based in truth...

          Humor: you're doing it wrong.

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          I have no love for Apple. Never made any pretense about that.

          However, everybody I know with an Android based phone and tablet have a car adapter, usb adapter, and and plug in adapter (usually just something for the USB to plug into).

          I still have a Verizon Storm. Why? I don't need it for anything other than BB messages and email support.

          All of my friends and fellow co-workers on Android are *always* running out of power by mid-afternoon..... at best. Using it with the flashlight apps is hilarious. It ha

          • I have both an iPhone 4 and a G2. Their battery life is comparable both on light use and heavy.

            You probably should have stuck with railing against smart phones in general.
            • by EdIII (1114411)

              I was not railing against either actually.

              Just pointing out that Android has more than its share of power usage problems.

              I was just confirming to a poster that was saying the same exact thing. Apple and Android suck at power usage.

          • Not all android is created equally. It varies from OEM to OEM, phone to phone, and of course there are all manner of highly-optimized custom builds like Cyanogenmod. Different default settings, different power consumption, different options for managing power consumption.
      • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:53PM (#37719650)

        Well, speaking as an owner of a Tab, he sorta has a point. The odds are pretty good that when you press the power button the word 'Samsung' will fill the screen... because it just rebooted.

    • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:48PM (#37718830)

      pft I doubt I could tell them apart I've only ever really seen either in a store and they have plenty of signs around them that lets me know just what tablet they are. At ten feet I doubt I could tell them apart, unless the apple one has a logo on the front. After all what's the tell apart, from them? They are both rectangular with rounded corners.

      I also couldn't easily identify a Chevrolet Silverado from Ford F150 with out their freaking symbols plastered all over them. I don't see Ford suing Chevy though.

      • by Rubinstien (6077) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:07PM (#37719086)

        I could. Easily. I can tell them apart by the sound of the engine, sight unseen, by the shape and spacing of their headlights in my mirrors at night, or by a raft of stylistic details from several blocks away. But, then, *I* like automobiles. These lawyers probably don't care at all about technology. Hold up a $50 and a $5 at 10 feet and I bet they have no trouble at all distinguishing the two.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I have both a Tab and an iPad and they are hard to tell apart sometimes. I can think of a couple of times where I've reached for one thinking it was the other.

        They are pretty simliar, even at distances closer than 10 feet.

           

  • Big whoop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:44PM (#37718762)
    Black slate of plastic with rounded corneers, like every other tablet on the market. Its like trying to identify between name brand and generic cereal by looking at a bowlfull.
  • Good Times. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Wovel (964431) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:44PM (#37718768) Homepage

    No matter how you feel about patents, Apple, or Samsung, this is funny.

    • Re:Good Times. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nadaka (224565) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:54PM (#37718930)

      It is funny that lawyers are that clueless.

      The galaxy tab has a dramatically different aspect ratio.

      Can you identify the difference between an old fashioned tv and a widescreen tv?

      I can and I don't even need to have them sitting next to each other.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        You can, 99% of the population, probably not as the rest of the population doesn't know what 'aspect ratio' even MEANS for the most part.

        • by Sepodati (746220)

          Most of those people will think that ANY tablet is an iPad. A black rounded rectangle should not be patentable.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        The galaxy tab has a dramatically different aspect ratio.

        Depends on how you hold it.

        I suspect shenanigans. Obviously the person holding them up wanted the other guy to get the answer wrong or he wouldn't have done such an obvious ploy.

        Well rehearsed viewing angles to hide the aspect ratio? Covering up the logos? Maybe they found out he's short sighted and doesn't wear his glasses in court.

      • by rahvin112 (446269)

        I agree with you but it's possible the lawyers in question don't even use the tablets or have even seen them outside the case.

        Had I been the lawyer I would have answered the judge's silly question with an equally silly question. "Your Honor, you aren't asking me to use the Tablet from 10 feet away are you?". Either that or asked the judge to Identify an Omega watch versus a similar Casio from 10 feet.

        • by grcumb (781340)
          I've spent the last few weeks meeting with numerous judges and magistrates. The very first rule of Talking To Judges is that you DO NOT challenge the judge. You present your evidence and hope that you've got one that knows how to reason (most do) . When the lawyer replied "not at this distance..." he was doing the right thing.
    • Re:Good Times. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by obarel (670863) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:02PM (#37719022)

      Yes, but have Apple actually patented a shape? I don't understand this story.

      "Your honour, an 'oblong' appears in Euclid's Elements, Book I, Definition 22:

      Of quadrilateral figures, a square is that which is both equilateral and right-angled; an oblong that which is right-angled but not equilateral; a rhombus that which is equilateral but not right-angled; and a rhomboid that which has its opposite sides and angles equal to one another but is neither equilateral nor right-angled. And let quadrilaterals other than these be called trapezia.

      (c) Copyright 300 BC, Euclid"

      I can hold a book and an iPad and the judge wouldn't be able to tell the difference from a distance. So have Apple copied a book? (answer: yes. That's whole point of a tablet). What did the judge actually prove? That objects with similar functionality are likely to look similar?

      If Apple can patent a shape then I'll have the "heart shape" please, and Valentine's day will make me a very rich person indeed.

      • by Bucky24 (1943328)

        If Apple can patent a shape then I'll have the "heart shape" please, and Valentine's day will make me a very rich person indeed.

        I'm sure there's prior art for this. Then again I'm sure there's prior art for rectangular objects with rounded corners as well so you may very well be onto something here.

  • Also lots of phones look similar, lots of cars look similar, lots of TVs look similar, lots of computers look similar, lots of monitors look similar...

    Who cares?

    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      Also lots of phones look similar, lots of cars look similar, lots of TVs look similar, lots of computers look similar, lots of monitors look similar...

      Who cares?

      AppleCare.

  • I wonder if the results would have been any different had the Judge allowed the lawyers to see all 360 degrees of the device, and not just the front. Something tells me the SAMSUNG logo emblazoned on the device would assist in differentiating it from the iPad.

    iPad 2 - http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UTeQhQcvdNU/TPGrM-2_lVI/AAAAAAAAF20/U7xNqZ0as4s/s1600/things-about-apple-ipad-2.jpg [blogspot.com]

    Galaxy Tab - http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_UTeQhQcvdNU/TProAcaIpnI/AAAAAAAAF5M/wtS26PrDbeU/s1600/Samsung-Galaxy-Tab-4.jpg [blogspot.com]

    Can you tell the

  • by Hatta (162192)

    I can't tell the difference between a Honda and a Toyota 9 times out of 10, and I drive a Honda. If my GF didn't have a sun roof, and there was no hood ornament, I'd have absolutely no way of distinguishing her silver Corolla from the neighbors silver Civic. What exactly is this supposed to prove?

    • Re:So? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by frosty_tsm (933163) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:50PM (#37718854)

      I can't tell the difference between a Honda and a Toyota 9 times out of 10, and I drive a Honda. If my GF didn't have a sun roof, and there was no hood ornament, I'd have absolutely no way of distinguishing her silver Corolla from the neighbors silver Civic. What exactly is this supposed to prove?

      That you need new glasses? :-)

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Really? This car [wikimedia.org] and this car [trialx.com] don't look pretty much identical at first glance? Sure, there are couple things you can pick out when you look at them side by side, but you'd have to specifically memorize the distinguishing features in order to tell them apart. That's pretty much the case with the Apple and Samsung products too.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      If my GF didn't have a sun roof,

      Does that mean she never wears a bra?

  • by The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:47PM (#37718810)

    ...That's the real story here.

  • by Medievalist (16032) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:49PM (#37718848)

    Myself, I can't tell the difference between an iPad and a windows 98 tablet computer at ten feet.

    And at fifty feet, you could be holding an etch-a-sketch for all I know. I mean seriously, how much detail do you want me to discern from a nearly featureless slab of plastic?

  • rectangles (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rish87 (2460742) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:51PM (#37718866)
    This whole Apple V samsung debate really bothers me. Everyone here knows we need (proper) patent reform across the board. I hate trivial patents, patent trolling, and software patents....but there's just something about Apple being able to keep samsung from selling tablets because their tablet is, *gasp* a rectangular touch screen. Why aren't LCD monitor companies fighting each other in court? Many monitors look the same with trivial differences. All these tablets are are screens with a little computer on the back. I mean jesus christ, what a fucking waste of time and effort.
    • Re:rectangles (Score:4, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:33PM (#37719412)

      Like many here on slashdot, there is a general misunderstanding of what Apple is claiming. Apple is claiming that Samsung violates their design patents (which exist to protect designs) by making a device in the same category that looks too similar to theirs. In support of this claim, Apple has to list in detail every aspect of their design which they feel singles it out to the court. Apple cannot say to the court: "Well just look at it, isn't it obvious?" In the case of the iPad and iPhone, Apple selected a simple rectangular shape with curved corners; Apple could have chosen a much more complex shape. Apple is not claiming they came up with the idea of rectangular with curved corners alone but that it is a part of their design. For instance if Toyota came out with a curvy, bubbly 4 door sedan that VW thought looked too much like a VW Beetle and VW decided to sue Toyota. In a suit against Toyota, VW is going to list round headlights as part of the design, but VW isn't claiming they invented round headlights. The more similarities that Apple can list that the Galaxy is similar to the iPhone/iPad, they more likely they are to succeed in their suit.

      While you might not feel design is something to protect, companies who invest money in design may feel otherwise. After all, someone copying a Gucci purse and naming it "Rucci" may not make a difference in your life, but Gucci might have other ideas.

    • Riiiight.... I'm not gonna argue os here, just hardware.

      So, let's back up a bit here. What did 'smartphones' look like before the iPhone? Various screen sizes, clunky thinkness/form factor and a alpha numeric keyboard of some sort. We all know history, iPhone comes along, all touch based and it sets the precedent for things to come. Apple invented that. No one else did, especially not Samsung.

      Then the iPod Touch follows about 8 months after. Note around this time, if you search everywhere on the web, for Sa

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by peppepz (1311345)

        So, let's back up a bit here. What did 'smartphones' look like before the iPhone? Various screen sizes, clunky thinkness/form factor and a alpha numeric keyboard of some sort. We all know history, iPhone comes along, all touch based and it sets the precedent for things to come. Apple invented that. No one else did, especially not Samsung.

        The full-touch design was first introduced by LG, with the LG Prada [wikipedia.org]. So LG invented that. Apple must have copied it.

        Then the iPod Touch follows about 8 months after. Note around this time, if you search everywhere on the web, for Samsung's tablets or anyone else's (like Archos, etc) all look like something between a Sony PSP and a Nokia 770. Yes, all rectangle, but just not the Apple glass touchscreen with a black bezel and metal band around the edge.

        Archos tablets looked this way [engadget.com] in 2008, two years before Apple introduced the iPad. Apple must have copied it.

        Now, let's look at the packaging of a Galaxy Tab. White box, picture of device on it. Gee, where have I seen that? Open it up, same unpacking experience as the iPad/iPhone - device up front, other stuff underneath. Btw, Apple patented their packaging - all the way back in 2007!

        Then they copied the Nokia packaging from 2006. My N73 comes in a package with device up front - with a nice "here's your N73" writing - and other stuff underneath.

        search around the web a few weeks ago for the picture of the Samsung store. Look hard - pictures of Apple's app store and Safari icons on the wall. That's pretty blatant - even Microsoft doesn't do that

        It's a shop-in-a-shop in a small city of Sicily. It's impossible to believe that Apple execs from South Korea have a say o

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday October 14, 2011 @05:51PM (#37718870)

    As others have pointed out, that's a terrible test. I can't tell apart a pair of toasters or TVs or refrigerators unless the brand logo is visible. That doesn't mean they're all infringing, it just means that form follows function. But this judge wanted a bad ass moment like what you'd see on Law and Order.

  • Because we all know the usual using distance for using these things is 10 feet.

    Anyone who is using the device, planning on buying the device, or even examining the device (it doesn't even need to be on) can tell the difference.

    If there are people dumb enough to fork out a few hundred euros/dollars to buy an item without looking at the stats, an image, the box, the brand or the company is a giant idiot. Which is why when buying these sorts of things the standard protocol is to stand less than 10 feet away.

    • Re:Oh Right (Score:5, Insightful)

      by blair1q (305137) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:37PM (#37719452) Journal

      In the case of the iPad, one of the primary uses is to impress people from across the room.

      So, yes, 10 feet is the usual using distance.

      • by demonbug (309515)

        In the case of the iPad, one of the primary uses is to impress people from across the room^h^h^h^h independent, organic free-trade coffee shop.

        So, yes, 10 feet is the usual using distance.

        Yeah, but in those cases the other people usually see the side or back of the device, which are clearly different on the Samsung and Apple products. So this "tell the fronts apart from 10 feet" is clearly bogus.

  • ... claimed in the suit? Rectangular LCD touch screens? I think it goes a bit deeper than that. Its the internal h/w, but more than that, the application s/w and drivers that matter. Not something you could spot from 10 feet.

    That said, too many companies are trying to copy the superficial look and feel of each other's hardware. Even though that has little to do with the underlying functionality, its asking to be sued.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:03PM (#37719032)
    I'm sure that they are easily distinguishable from the back.

    Also, they are distinguishable where they are sold: Apple Store or !Apple Store.

    And no doubt distinguishable by price.

    But most of all, they are distinguishable by the operating system they run. You either want to be in the Apple ecosystem (aka Walled Garden) or you don't. And you should be able to buy the tablet of your preference based on this fact. This whole lawsuit is as anti-consumer as it gets because Samsung isn't producing iPads. While they may still be producing the CPU of the iPad, the Samsung product is not an iPad and can't replace an iPad because it doesn't run Apple iPad software. So Apple is trying to kill a product that doesn't directly compete with the iPad because if you want an iPad than no substitute will do.
  • then, the judge help up to 21" monitors, and asked the lawyers to identify them
    and then, 2 washing machines
    and then, 2 cars
    and then, 2 keyboards
    and then, 2 cameras
    and then, 2 non-smart phones
    and then....

    Somewhere in the process, a point has been proven. Not the intended one, though ?

  • Pictures (Score:5, Informative)

    by joh (27088) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:38PM (#37719462)

    http://peanutbuttereggdirt.com/e/custom/Apple-vs-Samsung-1-Hardware-Design.html [peanutbuttereggdirt.com]
    http://peanutbuttereggdirt.com/e/custom/Apple-vs-Samsung-2-Interface-Icons.html [peanutbuttereggdirt.com]
    http://peanutbuttereggdirt.com/e/custom/Apple-vs-Samsung-3-Package-Design.html [peanutbuttereggdirt.com]

    Apple's "design patent" is not about any single property (like the famous "rounded rectangle") but about the combination of all of these.

    • by Nemyst (1383049) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @12:55AM (#37721936) Homepage

      There's no denying that there are a lot of similarities between the two. The only thing I'll say is, however, that the comparisons made on this site sound a little biased. For instance, have a look at this shot of the F700:
      http://static.phonesreview.co.uk/wp-content/phoneimages/2008/02/f700.jpg [phonesreview.co.uk]

      How the hell is that not "silver rounded edges" and "a black face"? And this is supposedly Samsung's design before the iPhone, so it shouldn't have been inspired by it. It's not that much of a stretch to have Samsung build off their previous phones while taking some inspiration from its competitors (and everyone does that, in every field). You can clearly recognize the front button of the F700 on the SGS2 for instance, or the grilled speaker at the top.

      The icon comparison is even worse. I'll grant the phone app and the contacts app (even though the phone is just Google's reversed on a background), but the rest are very different. The SMS icon is Google's, even, and the music player icon reminds me more of Windows Media Player than iTunes. It's also not as if most of these icons could be done in a billion different ways. They're representative of their purpose.

      All of this, to me, sounds like a whole load of horseshit. Look at the phone from any angle and you'll find that it's different from the iPhone. I hope Samsung can make something more unique, for their own brand image's good, but I don't think all of this is grounds enough to actually ban sales of the damn thing. This is just Apple taking advantage of the patent system to deny competition.

      I'll withhold saying anything about tablets since I have no interest in them and to me they all look alike. Otherwise, flame me all you want but I really hate things like these which present opinions as facts.

  • by eepok (545733) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:55PM (#37719668) Homepage

    Samsung Galaxy: http://bub.blicio.us/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Samsung-Galaxy-Tab.jpg [blicio.us]

    Apple iPad: http://areacellphone.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/best_ipad_texting_app.jpg [areacellphone.com]

    (1) The two have different width to height ratios.
    (2) The Apple iPad has a single concave button in the middle of one of its bezel sides.
    (3) The UI is noticeably different
    (4) The Samsung Galaxy looks to have a user-facing camera.

    Maybe they should have asked a prospective buyer. You know? The people the matter...

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:59PM (#37719710)

    It's not surprising that 95% of the posts here boil down to iFans arguing with Android zealots - but I think they're missing the key point.

    You'd think a Samsung lawyer would be well-versed enough in the fundamental differences between the two products (such as the aspect ratio) so as not to get tripped up by this question. People here made fun of an earlier Photoshop job, apparently put forth by an European Apple lawyer, where they'd changed the ratio on an image of the Galaxy Tab so it matched that of the iPad. Since it's come up before - why couldn't the lawyer tell the difference between the two when they were side by side?

  • by dbIII (701233) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:55PM (#37721416)
    "Apple's senior barrister Stephen Burley asked Justice Annabelle Bennett to prevent Samsung from selling any "tablet device" during the injunction period."
    Taken from:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-14/samsung-free-to-launch-another-tablet/3572318

    To sum up the Judge told them to piss off and be happy with the injunction as it is until the real case comes up.

    The law is not there to merely be a business tool to stifle competition. There was a tablet market before Apple even if it was a small one, and keeping others out unconditionally is unfair.
    It's a pity Australia can't reverse the incredibly fucking stupid US patent laws we adopted as part of the "free trade" agreement - that one where for instance the USA can export beef or products containing beef to Australia but it's forbidden the other way (same with sugar, steel, wheat and a few other protected industries).
  • by milkmage (795746) on Friday October 14, 2011 @11:06PM (#37721470)

    I'd like permission to treat my counsel as a hostile witness...

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