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7/9/2012
11:49 AM
Eric Zeman
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British Judge: Samsung Tab Design 'Not As Cool' As iPad

Judge ruled that the Samsung Galaxy Tab doesn't infringe on Apple's design patents because it isn't as 'cool' as the iPad.

Samsung's Android Super Smartphone: Galaxy SIII
Samsung's Android Super Smartphone: Galaxy SIII
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The ongoing legal war between Samsung and Apple took a turn in Samsung's direction thanks to a British judge. High Court Judge Colin Birss today ruled that the Samsung Galaxy Tab does not infringe on Apple's design patents. Why not? Well, for starters, the Galaxy Tab is "not as cool" as the iPad.

The judge agreed that the two are in the same family of devices, but only when looked at head-on. When viewed from either the side or the back, the differences between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad are enough to suggest that Apple's design language wasn't copied.

"They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool," said Judge Birss in his ruling. "The overall impression produced is different."

I'll say.

[ For more on the Samsung-Apple dispute, see Samsung Enjoined From Selling Galaxy Tab 10.1 In U.S. ]

Judge Birss's words no doubt have left their own impression on Samsung's tablet design team. For the judge to call them out as "not cool" could mean the people behind the Galaxy Tab will soon be out of a job, if they aren't already. Cache can be important when it comes to hardware design. Tablets and phones that don't look good may not sell as well as their slimmer, sexier peers, but I personally don't think there's anything wrong with Samsung's design. You can only do so much with the tablet/phone form factor, after all.

Samsung was obviously pleased with the judge's decision, despite the insult to the Galaxy Tab's design. "Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims in other countries based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited," the company said in a statement.

For its part, Apple didn't offer new comments regarding the matter, but pointed to statements it has made earlier about Samsung's devices.

"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," the company said in legal filings made earlier this year. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual properties when companies steal our ideas."

Apple has 21 days to appeal the decision.

Though Samsung won in the U.K., it didn't in the U.S. Late last month, a judge temporarily banned sales of the Galaxy Tab pending a trial between Apple and Samsung scheduled to begin July 30.

At this year's InformationWeek 500 Conference, C-level execs will gather to discuss how they're rewriting the old IT rulebook and accelerating business execution. At the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, Calif., Sept. 9-11.

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PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/10/2012 | 3:53:22 PM
re: British Judge: Samsung Tab Design 'Not As Cool' As iPad
I agree he has to know the law. On the other hand, Samsung is going to take his ruling (or his personal opinion on whatGÇÖs cool in the tech world and what is not) and apply it as industry innovation? I do not agree with that.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
Gideon
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Gideon,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/10/2012 | 2:44:48 PM
re: British Judge: Samsung Tab Design 'Not As Cool' As iPad
Maybe we need a technological savy judge them. The judge does not have to know technology; he can know the law guiding them though.
PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/9/2012 | 7:26:42 PM
re: British Judge: Samsung Tab Design 'Not As Cool' As iPad
I know it is a legal thing to have a judge rule on this issue, but it is like asking a doctor to evaluate a new pair of dentures? Or you could say it is like asking a judge to evaluate and rule on a technology device. My point is this; an expert or group of experts, should be the classifying families of technological devices not a judge who expertise is law! I expect the judge to know law not technology.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
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