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The Courts Handhelds Patents Apple

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

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

    ...That's the real story here.

  • 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.

  • 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? :-)

  • 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: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.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:01PM (#37719004)

    Apple has patents covering their design. This is what the judge is saying. The Galaxy clearly violates Apple's patents, but Apple still needs to prove that their patents are valid (Samsung claimed several instances of prior art, Apple has to show that those cases would not violate their patent).

  • 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 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.

  • 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...

  • Think different (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 0xABADC0DA ( 867955 ) on Friday October 14, 2011 @06:22PM (#37719286)

    It's amazing to me to what extremes people can go to justify their tribes. Here we have college educated people who's job it is to show the differences in the products not being able to recognize their own product. If these people can't tell the difference from a reasonable distance then the general public 10' away in Starbucks sure the hell isn't going to.

    It's patently obvious (har har) that Samsung set out to clone iPad, the packaging, the icons, the charger, the IO port, etc. They're going to lose these cloning suits and for good reason.

    It's sad that Microsoft is now one of the more morally upstanding corporations (by comparison only) in the industry. At least they create things and with Zune, WP7, etc they do it their own unique way instead of just blindly copying like Google (copying the OS) and Samsung (copying the product).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2011 @07:07PM (#37719782)

    Sounds like it is time to take that aircraft carrier out of your ass.

  • by DeadCatX2 ( 950953 ) on Friday October 14, 2011 @07:18PM (#37719932) Journal

    The designs of most older refrigerators have a lot of similarities. The freezer was almost always on top. They almost always opened from the same side. They're typically the same size, with shelves and railings inside. Their user interface (the thermostats) were often numbered from 1-10. In fact, apart from the logo, it's usually quite difficult to tell refrigerators apart.

  • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @01:42AM (#37722098)

    I, too, agree that Samsung (and others) are copying Apple in some ways more than others.

    The questions are...

    1. Is that a bad thing?
    For the end-users, I would say it isn't.

    For Apple, I would say it isn't either. Nobody's going to walk around with Device X that may look like e.g. an iPhone and claim it's an iPhone - that would just make them posers.
    Without the claim, if you were to see such a Device X and think "ooh! iPhone sure seems popular!", I can't see how that would hurt Apple either, except from the anti-popular-things crowd.
    No store is going to put the Device X in their shop and then try to suggest it's an iPhone either.
    The people who buy a Device X, in short, buy it not because it's "just like an iPhone", but in part because it's [i]not[/i] an iPhone.. either in design details or in operating system or.. etc. Whatever the reason, it was reason enough not to just get the iPhone.

    Now it may be a matter of principle, and that's all fine and dandy and they're in their right to defend that principle.

    But if Apple are essentially just saying "you can't make a device that copies ours because with those copied elements your device is better than ours - please stick to crappy design elements so that our device is the only one the majority of people could reasonably want, thanks"... well, that's just sad.

    2. At what point does the copying become something different?
    What I mean by that is this... you already point out that obviously it's not [i]just[/i] about having a rectangle with rounded corners, it's the complete package.

    But presumably just doing a single thing different wouldn't break enough from that 'complete package' to get the case dropped.

    I.e. if they dropped the 'the color gray appears as a rectangle at the front, center of the screen' and instead went with a bluish one, I'm going to guess that would not get them off the hook. I'm going to guess that if it was actually a shape with two curved edges going across the screen that it would also not be enough. Maybe the combination of curved shape + blue would be enough... but only for that single point. It would leave all the others.
    The problem with 'all the others' is that they're pretty generic.
    ( Mind you, even that rectangle is pretty generic if they're literally referring to the screen itself. Making the screen 'blue' would mean nothing less than tinting the LCD thus giving everything a bluish cast. Really now? I was half hoping they meant the grey rectangle used for the bottom set of icons, which could indeed be designed in a billion ways not 'copying' Apple.. but they specifically list that separately and as being 'silver' so perhaps the "[the screen]" is indeed meant literally. )

    Yes, the older comparison model shows a completely different design direction that doesn't appear to copy most of the points made. But it still copies 4 of the 15 points. Is [i]that[/i] enough, then?
    Let's assume, just for kicks, 'yes' here. Now let's add one thing back in - colored icons. The black/white design is nice for those who like it, but most people are going to want colored icons these days. Putting aside the 'icon design' issues, the device would now find itself 'copying' the fact that it may use 'black, blue, brown, brown-gray (and a host of other colors) as part of its design. It would also make it vastly more appealing to the masses. So would it now be a target of litigation again?

    If so, that would mean that a whole range of devices would be fair game.
    E.g. the Dell Aero: []

    • Configuration of a rectangular electronic device with rounded corners etc. etc.: check for all 3 times this claim is listed
    • The colors (of the rainbow): check, twice
    • Rounded silver edges: check
    • Black face: chec

Variables don't; constants aren't.