back to article Apple blocks sale of Samsung's Android fondleslab across EU

Apple has won a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab fondleslab across almost all of the European Union. The Samsung tablet went on sale in Britain just last week. According to a Google Translation of a report from German news agency dpa, the Regional Court of Dusseldorf has granted …

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  1. Dr Trevor Marshall
    FAIL

    So quickly we forget history, and are destined to re-live it

    The IBM-PC architecture became a standard, and fueled the growth of an entire industry, including Apple, specifically because Tandon and Compaq 'copied' significant parts of it, including the BIOS ROMs. Social gatherings in my hot-tub often turned to inter-company discussions of new BIOS design features.

    Do we see here that Apple is claiming that all subsequent similarly functioning pieces of hardware have to use different chips? What is this? Another example of the Judicial branch not understanding technology, or a statement that incremental innovation is no longer acceptable?

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. DZ-Jay

      @Dr Trevor Marshall

      No, that's not at all what the suit is about. If you do some research you'll find out that they are accusing them of some design patents and trade dress, which has little to do with the chips used.

      Samsung's copying of Apple's devices is different than Compaq's reverse-engineering of the BIOS.

      -dZ.

      1. Owen Carter
        FAIL

        Pot; may in introduce you to the kettle?

        "Samsung's copying of Apple's devices is different than Compaq's reverse-engineering of the BIOS."

        But very similar to Apples copying of the mouse/GUI developed by Xerox and others huh?

        And very similar to Apples copying of the logo used by Apple Music (you remember, the company with which Apple Computers signed a agreement with promising not to become involved in the music distribution industry).

        Welcome to the IT industry, it is based on copying.

    3. hexx

      well, it's not hw

      it's the looks what this patent talks about not chips

    4. Dibbles

      Title

      It could be construed as Apple seeing the writing on the wall - since it no longer has the monopoly on fondleworthy phones and tablets, and perhaps can only see evolution rather than revolution in its future models in these markets, it's resorting to other means to try to maintain its advantage for as long as possible.

      Or in other words, 'we can't think of a better idea that'll sell, so we'll try to stop anyone else selling their version instead'.

    5. OrsonX
      IT Angle

      "Social gatherings in my hot-tub..."

      ...turned to "discussions of new BIOS design features"

      Please tell me that said hot-tub was full of nerdet lady-geeks who found this sort of thing soooo sexy?

    6. Steve Todd
      FAIL

      How quickly our resident historian forgets the true history of the IBM PC

      IBM thought that they would only sell 60,000 of them, so they used cheap off-the-shelf parts and didn't insist on exclusivity for MS-DOS. It had two points in it's favour: it had an IBM badge (so the IT departments of the time would consider it) and it was one of the first 16 bit machines (admittedly a pretty poor 16 bit CPU, but definitely less limited than it's 8 bit brethren).

      When it turned out to be a success and the clone makers came piling in IBM were somewhat limited in what they could defend. The bus was an open spec, the CPU, drives and MS-DOS were legally sold to all and sundry and the only thing that they could protect was the BIOS ROMs, which were being copied wholesale. IBM sued lots of companies over this and it lead to the creation of legal clone ROMs that were clean-room engineered to be both compatible and not infringe on IBMs copyrights.

      Skip forward to today, Apple have two lines of attack against the cloners. Firstly they have registered designs. If the clone looks too much like an Apple product (and it doesn't matter what's under the hood) then they can fall foul of this (which is what the German court has provisionally held against the Galaxy Tab 10.1). Secondly Apple have patents on aspects of how their devices work. These aren't all valid everywhere (software patents aren't generally valid in Europe for example) but mean that the cloners need to try to engineer their way around them to produce non-infringing systems. Until they can clear both of these hurdles they are going to be seeing quite a lot of Apple's lawyers.

      This is not about using different chips or removing "similar" functionality, or even copyright infringement, it's about making the clones sufficiently different from Apple's offerings, and the judicial branch understand that rather well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: How quickly our resident historian forgets the true history of the IBM PC

        "This is not about using different chips or removing "similar" functionality, or even copyright infringement, it's about making the clones sufficiently different from Apple's offerings, and the judicial branch understand that rather well."

        Given that even basic digital picture frames resemble Apple's fondleslab in significant ways, why should Apple be given monopoly rights to the way their product looks? It's flat, shiny and has a big screen: backslapping terms like "registered design" merely obscure the fact that it's yet another landgrab by an organisation who doesn't want competition.

        1. Steve Todd
          FAIL

          @AC 13:29

          Registered designs relate to a class of things. If you come up with a lamp stand shaped like a coke bottle (and lacking the Coca Cola logo) then you're not infringing their design. Add to that I've yet to see one of these mythic photo frames that looks like an iPad (they tend to have square corners, a lack of buttons on the front, are noticeably thicker and lack ports like a headphone socket).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Mushroom

            Re: @AC 13:29

            "Add to that I've yet to see one of these mythic photo frames that looks like an iPad (they tend to have square corners, a lack of buttons on the front, are noticeably thicker and lack ports like a headphone socket)."

            And is this really worthy of a monopoly? "Yes, I've ticked all the boxes and it definitely has a headphone socket, so stop selling all your products at once, Mr Samsung!" If Samsung had nicked the gear to make the cases, maybe there'd be some justified indignation, but instead all we hear is "Waaah, he copied me, Miss!"

            Sheesh!

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Pasta

      "He he forgets da pasta, isa doomed to reheat it"

  2. a_been

    Samsung is starting to get a clue

    "The South Korean manufacturer has apparently agreed to modify the tablet before it comes on sales Down Under."

    This is what the Japanese did untill the 70's, copy western tech and produce a lower priced and usualy crappy imitation. Then they got a clue that developing your own tech had higher margins, it's also about that time that they started giving a damm about IP. I see an out of court deal between samsung and Apple (thats samsung gives apple money) and then Samsung buying some design studios. All they need is some balls and faith in themselves because they do produce some good tech.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: Samsung is starting to get a clue

      "All they need is some balls and faith in themselves because they do produce some good tech."

      Yes, let's be condescending to all those Asian people - that's what you're saying. Unfortunately, I have to interrupt your ill-informed rant by telling you that Apple would be waiting for Intel to give them some Atom-related goods and waiting to rebadge some Taiwanese products if it weren't for Samsung and the like stuffing the iToys with their technology, including stuff actually licensed from ARM (to burst your little "IP" tantrum).

      In the line for clue you should be hurried to the front.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        No need to be condescending

        Fact: IPR is widely ignored and imperiously flouted in Asia.

        Fact: Living here reinforces this fact every day

        Fact: Samsung are extremely large and extremely competent technology company

        Fact: Samsung are a massive consumer goods company and produce some very cool stuff and unique stuff.

        Opinion: Samsung were in a hurry because they missed the boat, and decided to copy Apple's lead a little too closely (read direct copy) because (a) they were in a hurry and (b) the culture of disrespect for IPR in Asia generally means that they think they can get away with it.

        Result: Apple feel that their products have been illegally copied and are asking a court to decide. Subsequently, the jury is out as to whether Samsung "copied" and/or whether they can "get away with it".

        As for your misdirection post, well it is typical of commentards who cannot keep the facts straight and construct cogent thoughts. And keep your ignorant and faux PC disgust for yourself.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Mushroom

          Re: No need to be condescending

          Clearly there is.

          "As for your misdirection post, well it is typical of commentards who cannot keep the facts straight and construct cogent thoughts."

          Misdirection indeed! However, I didn't argue that there are loads of factories producing a range of products which might infringe various people's "IP". I merely stated that Samsung don't really need your pep-talk. If you read up on Samsung - oh wait, I'm sure you wrote the official company history since you live in Asia (sheesh!) - you'll find that the company doesn't exactly need it.

          "And keep your ignorant and faux PC disgust for yourself."

          Who said anything about political correctness? I was merely pointing out that companies in Korea, Taiwan, China all manage to design and build stuff that's worthy of more than cries of "they copy western tech". They now lead the world in display technology, for example. I'm sure that Apple will sue them because some sketch on the back of a napkin somehow shows that Apple thought of some display technology or other, but the fact is that the likes of Apple go to them for such stuff (and a large amount of other stuff).

          Big conglomerate sells luxury products worldwide and "think they can get away with it" where "it" is some vague copying accusation. If it weren't for the likes of Samsung, Apple Stores would feature people strutting around with cardboard versions of Apple's designs and punters would be paying an entrance fee for the sideshow.

          Sheesh!

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge

    So Apple thinks packaging can be patented too?

    Forgive me as I wet myself laughing.

    @ Dr. Trevor Marshall. All that happened before software patents and the silly business we have today. Apple is only doing what the law allows.

    Wait for the day when Apple wins all these suits and your iTunes account is charged per stroke across your iPad2 surface.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Passing off?

      Not a patent, but a design right for certain, which copying would basically be theft. Alternatively, and more likely, there could be an accusation of passing off - apple have trademarks, and if punters buy a competing product and are genuinely confused, that would be a good avenue for attack.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Thumb Down

        Design????????????????

        Did you look at the European "Community Design", signed off by a mister "Wubbo de Boar", that's design???????

        It's prior art I say... that's only a rectangle with rounded corners.... from powerpoint 97

  4. Roger Stenning
    Thumb Down

    I really...

    have had more than enough of Apples bully-boy tactics.

    Level the playing field: Dump ALL these patents into the sea, and let's see some fair fighting for a bloody change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Patents?

      No. This case is about Trade Dress - which you obviously don't understand.

      read about it here.

      http://yarbroughlaw.com/Publications/pubs%20patent2%20Recent%20Developments%20in%20Trade%20Dress.htm

    2. Steven Roper

      This is why Apple really need to be taken down

      They do nothing but use their patent portfolio to stifle innovation and try to create a monopoly on technology that they were NOT the first to develop - tablets and touchscreen interfaces were around long before the iPad, for one example. They are litigious, monopolistic control freaks and those who support them are doing the world of computing a great disservice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Yeah

        Those other tablet & touchscreen interfaced devices were selling so well that we hardly noticed the iPad arriving on the scene.

        But of course you are completely right that they do absolutely nothing but use their patent portfolio to stifle innovation. Nothing at all. It's not like they develop or sell any actual products. Not at all.

        And they haven't, for example, kick-started an entire market segment by introducing a product that brought together existing technologies in a novel way - such as actually working in a usable way.

  5. Gerrit Hoekstra
    Holmes

    Maybe it is because it is better than the iPad?

    The iPad2 was an insignificant design improvement on the iPad1 - upping clock speed and screen specs is not innovation, it is "waiting for the competition to catch up". So here we are and surprisingly, the Cult takes umbrage.

    1. ThomH

      I think you might be paranoid

      There doesn't seem to be any cult connection in this article at all. It's Apple the company pursuing Samsung the company. I don't even see anybody coming out here to defend Apple, which is unsurprising given the circumstances.

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Have you seen the galaxy review?

      If you had bothered to read the review on Reghardware you'll see Samsung have blatantly copied Most of the iPad 2 Including it's limitations such as no sd card slot proprietary connectors and expansion.

      Samsung in this instance is a blatant cloner and deserves a slap if only for the failure to innovate as much as the rest of the android crowd.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Devil

    Good time to be a Dutch trader

    This was probably the most stupid thing Apple could have done. The Dutch are pastmasters at selling stuff across the border and this is virtually an incitement to German consumers to go "Dutch". It will get Samsung much more publicity than they would otherwise get and I don't see the injunction going very far. German courts are often quite happy to grant temporary injunctions.

    According to Heise Apple defends the move claiming that Samsung "is abusing the reputation of the Ipad a well-known product with cult status". Yeah, right. Nobody thought of tablet computing before Apple?

    1. hexx
      Thumb Down

      are you sure?

      as far as i know there's a separate lawsuit in Holland, since they have different rules and different law. and as far as i know that should happen today.

  7. Paul Bruneau

    Incremental innovation?

    Oh, is that what you call photocopying something and pasting your logo on it now?

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Not sueing over the workings

    Apple are sueing over a 'trademark and design' patent - which is allowed in europe.

    You can patent the vague shape of a device which a person would associate with you - so a coke bottle shape is obviously coca-cola and apparently a slab shaped tablet with a screen on the front is so obviously Apple that it must be infringing!

    Now if only IBM had the sense to file a design patent on having the keyboard in front of the screen - they would have been able to block all subsequent PCs

  9. Sean Baggaley 1
    FAIL

    @Dr Trevor Marshall

    Apple doesn't invent the laws it has to work with.

    YOU do.

    If you don't like the way IP laws are working today, the onus is on YOU, *the people*, to get off your apathetic arses and demand that they be changed. It is not Apple's job to do this.

    Furthermore, this has f*ck all to do with IBM-compatible PCs. Compaq created a "clean-room" implementation of the old PC BIOS (look it up; it's not as simple as it sounds, and it was a massive risk). This avenue is, however, utterly irrelevant as Apple has NEVER relied on the old IBM-compatible BIOS still commonly found in Windows and Linux boxes. Even its Intel-based Macs use Intel's own (arguably superior) BIOS replacement.

    "Do we see here that Apple is claiming that all subsequent similarly functioning pieces of hardware have to use different chips?"

    Whoosh! And THERE goes the point RIGHT OVER Trevor's head!

    Read the bloody article and its sources, before commenting upon that which you clearly no sod all about. This is about IP infringement. Making a tablet is one thing. Making a tablet that copies Apple's own work *right down to the packaging* is quite another.

    If Samsung are found guilty—and this is not guaranteed—they will deserve everything they get. They're a big, grown-up, multinational corporation. They know what they were doing, and clearly hoped they'd get away with it. They got caught.

    If it had been Microsoft, Oracle, or anyone else, instead of Apple, I'd still be supporting them. Apple did all the heavy lifting for their iDevices: they created a brand new platform with their iPad. They reinvented the smartphone, yanking the rug from under all their competitors who sneered that Apple would never succeed.

    But the moment Apple (finally!) get some decent traction, the entire planet suddenly turns on them as if they'd made some kind of social faux pas by having the mere temerity to actually turn a decent profit! What the _hell_, people?

    This is a wake-up call to the industry: do your own damned R&D, instead of sitting on your arses waiting for Google to do it for you. If you *truly* wanted Apple to fall, you have to beat them at their own game. Merely copying their products with "me-too!" tat isn't going to cut it.

    Don't go crying "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home to the nearest blogger or pundit when Apple catch you copying their exam answers and you get seriously slapped down for it.

    Fucking well INNOVATE, damn it! Give Apple a run for their money! Some *serious* competition! Give us punters something genuinely amazing, instead of this tired, uninspiring copycat rubbish.

    Motorola: now there's a company that's got the hang of designing some cool-looking hardware. Want an iPad with a keyboard? Moto's got you covered. (Hello? Samsung? Learn, please.) Now if only they could get a grip on their software too.

    1. Leigh McMahon
      Trollface

      Um...

      So they created similar packaging? I imagine the Apple boardroom:

      "Waaaaahhhhh! Waaaaahhhhh! They copied our packaging! That's OUR packaging! Only we have the right to fancy packaging!"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Read about Trade Dress

        You will then see that copying Apple's packaging does leave you open to legal action.

      2. Jazz Kilkullen

        The packaging is an important part of the user experience

        and therefore an important part of the product's appeal. Apple's packaging is unique and legendary, not "fancy", which anyone can do. When was the last time you saw designers huddled around a new non-Apple product because they were dying to see the new packaging?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "F***ng well INNOVATE"

      Easy to see why you consider yourself a great writer !

    3. nsld
      FAIL

      @sean

      Aside from the fact your a committed fanboi do you actually read and believe what you post?

      If we take your logic to its obvious conclusion then no one but Nokia should be making mobile phones.

      I have laptops predating mac books therefore Apple shouldnt be allowed to make laptops!

      Have you actually used the Samsung products? If so you would know they make the Apple units look clunky, the S2 is way better than the iPhone and the Galaxy Tab is an all round better product than the iPad.

      Dont get me wrong, the Apple products are not bad products in there own right, but they have been left behind in terms of the capabilities that the hardware now provides.

      They have innovated, and worked to produce something way better thats how progress works. In your apple utopia only one company would be allowed to provide manna to the masses and no one else would be able to.

      In terms of the packaging a black box with a logo on it is hardly unique is it, Orange have been doing that for years perhaps they should sue Apple?

      What these lawsuits really show is that Apple is seriously concerned about the co operative strength of Android and the ability for multiple competitors to enter the market with solid hardware and a functional OS and ecosystem to rival Apples.

    4. PT
      FAIL

      @Sean

      "Apple doesn't invent the laws it has to work with. YOU do."

      OMG, are you serious? Has there EVER been a time in all of History when any government took public opinion into account while drafting Patent and Copyright law?* It's always done behind closed doors between meetings of rightsholders and their lawyers, and the public interest be damned. If Apple didn't actually have a hand in drafting the laws it takes advantage of, it surely knows a man who did.

      As Mark Twain pointed out more than a century ago, "If your vote counted, they wouldn't let you do it".

      (* Ok, perhaps the EU took some notice of the public outcry when it was considering European software patents, but that was an anomaly.)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: @Dr Trevor Marshall

      "Motorola: now there's a company that's got the hang of designing some cool-looking hardware. Want an iPad with a keyboard? Moto's got you covered."

      Aren't Apple suing Motorola yet? Asus also do a tablet with a keyboard - the Transformer - so maybe we can expect a lawsuit against them as well.

      Apple caught the phone makers napping and then supersized the iPhone to make the iPad - not exactly worthy of the hype, in my opinion, but the punters seemed to like it - but it looks like the company expected to be able to milk their good fortune for longer. That's why they're doing more graft in the courtroom these days than anywhere else.

  10. cexcells

    iWant

    I wonder if we can go Dutch on this one.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    History is not so simple

    The argument seems to boil down to:

    1) Apple kicked off a new trend in computing with the Mac, but tried to keep it to themselves and therefore lost out in the end;

    2) Microsoft licensed its software to all and sundry, the IBM PC was cloned, and the combination came to dominate the whole marketplace;

    3) Therefore, new technology will become dominant in the marketplace (and bring a tidal-wave of innovation) if ideas are shared.

    Maybe. But it raises more questions than it answers. How much success did this bring to IBM? It has left the PC business altogether. How much did MS give away in this process? Nothing whatsoever (how many serious Windows or Office competitors are in this 'market'?) and it has become a moribund monopoly with a license to print money as a consequence. How much innovation has it brought? It seems to me the rate of change slowed to a crawl, and even now the Windows PC seems trapped in an antiquated model that hasn't fundamentally changed in decades (it just consumes spiralling resources doing the same old thing). Even Apple has been dragged back into using anachronisms like file-name extensions to denote file type. MS Office and Windows have begrudgingly dragged themselves forward, becoming increasingly bloated without any real innovation. The IBM-PC has become like the Titanic heading for an iceberg, unable to turn itself around.

    History can tell us many things, depending on the examples you choose. Did Apple have to license its iPod to 3rd parties to become successful? No. Did it enable other companies to overrun the market? Not remotely. Has it stopped Apple innovating? Not at all.

    I can't see how the companies who clone the fruits of other's R&D can be expected to bring any innovation to the market. They don't have an internal culture that fosters innovation or development. All they're doing is knocking off someone else's product in order to cash in on its success. What innovation is Samsung bringing us with its iPad clone? I'd be right behind Samsung if it stepped out on a limb (like Apple did) and brought something genuinely new and controversial to the market. It wasn't that long ago that many were scoffing at the iPad, only to turn about and accuse Apple of 'hindering innovation' or 'patent trolls' by blocking clones. Apple did the work, took the risk, and deserves the reward. I'm just stunned that a court has actually done something in such a timely manner.

    1. Martin Owens

      Clones

      And the reward is to hold the entire of society to ransom for ideas which are now well and truly obvious. How long must we continue to reward fat cats who took hardly any risk at all with their mountains of cash.

      The law is an ass and it rewards the biggest bully and finds it impossible to defend true innovators on the ground floor. Patents are nothing but large clubs for large companies to beat society as a whole into a bloody pulp and then poor the meat into a blender and drink on it's fine juices. Huzzah.

    2. relpy
      Stop

      "genuinely new and controversial"

      How exactly?

      What about the iPad had not been done before?

      How did the iPad improve on it's predecessors that was anything other than obvious given the availability of new hardware technology?

    3. MrCheese
      Mushroom

      @ Ralph 5

      Just one thing, iPad = name stolen from Fujitsu, and beyond devleoping a nice screeen and UI how have they innovated at all since the iPhone? Everything after the iPhone is merely a bigger iPhone (although the 10 inch iPhone isn't actuall a phone ;-) ) with the exception of the undeniably sucessful iPod which is a common rip off of the average MP3 player, far superior hardware but far inferior software, propriatery inferfaces and of course the requirement for iTunes.

      These days no matter who the company is you can't see the innovation for the patent trolls.

  12. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    Apple - as greedy as Microsoft?

    Do companies get greedy and unfair when they get wealthy?

    Why do they have to kill any competition -- at the expense of users who are deprived of better products.

    1. MD Rackham

      It's the law...

      The reason companies behave that way is because they are required to maximize the return to shareholders over all other concerns. At least according to US law, which is what binds Apple/Microsoft/etc.

      I'd rather see corporations have duties other than just making profits--duties like providing jobs and being a responsible citizen. But until the laws are changed--which will require getting rid of the capitalist extremists that run our governments--Apple and friends have to play by the rules they're given.

      1. Snapper
        WTF?

        Take a look

        Apple is (for the moment anyway) NOT suing other tablet/phone making companies, only Samsung.

        Apple is not trying to keep everything for itself by using the law, it is using the law to defend its own IP. Anyone arguing otherwise obviously has not compared the Galaxy phone and tablet with the iPhone and the iPad. They are blatant copies, and if you add in the way the software looks and feels it becomes even more obvious.

        Stop knocking Apple! THEY put the R&D funds up to give the smartphone industry a huge kick in the trousers, and then again with the iPad they have almost single handed created a new category of computers that is creating great excitement and movement in the industry.

        THEY took the risk, and if the people trying to jump on the band-wagon can't even be bothered to change the designs enough to avoid litigation, then Samsung deserve all they get.

        If Apple don't slap Samsung down then they are not running their business properly, and I would say exactly the same if the roles were reversed.

      2. Roger Stenning

        Um...

        Over all other concerns? Methinks you may have missed a few laws along the way, there. They're not permitted, for example, to dump waste in the wrong place - see Environmental protection laws. gthey're not allowed to pay below a minimum amount per hour in some countries, and they're sure not allowed to chain the workforce to the benches, for example. So, where in US law, then, does it say "over all other concerns"?. Merely curious, of course.

        This said, I do think the system needs a few revisions, but that's not to say the system is inherently wrong, just somewhat unbalanced at the moment.

    2. Pseu Donyme

      Or ...

      ... do (only) the greedy and unfair (companies) get rich?

  13. Steve Evans

    Yeah...

    Blatant Apple rip off... No removable storage, weird drivers required to interface to PC...

  14. mark l 2 Silver badge

    punishment for selling?

    Is there any 'punishment' as a retailer if you import them in yourself and then sell them in your shop regardless of some court ruling?

    I'm sure there will be load of them on ebay for sale and i doubt the rozzers are going to spend time chasing people who are selling them. Well not well there all out on the street trying to stop society from falling apart.

  15. CarlC

    How scared

    are Apple of competition? Do they have such little faith in their own product?

    1. Adam T

      The bigger you are...

      The more you have to lose.

      And since iPhones are now more valuable than oil (r.e. Apple beating Exxon) I guess they feel they've literally got everything to lose!

    2. hexx

      competition?

      what competition? you mean releasing a copycat and call it competition? jeez ppl!!!

      1. CarlC

        Competition?

        Having ownered and used an iPad for 9 months and then getting a Motorola Xoom, I would say that the Xoom and a lot of the other higher end tablets are definiately competition. I have now sold my iPad and replaced it completely with my Xoom. I am, personally, much happier with my Xoom, but appreciate everyones requirements differ.

  16. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    WTF?

    Are you sure ???

    I thought that Compaq, et al did clean-room re-implementations of the PC BIOS ?

  17. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Samsung copied the Wi-Fi sync?

    No, my bad - that was Apple ripping off their own developers. Maybe they copied the "notification bar"? No wait - Apple copied that from Android ... the list goes on until all we're left with is, "Oh look, it's flat - sue the Bastards!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Yeah, that's right

      If you look at it, it seems clear that every single thing Apple does has been leifted straight from Android. I mean, look at the first Android prototype, and tell me that doesn't look every bit like the first iPhone that came after it. Or the boatload of Android tablets. Obviously Apple slavishly copied those designs

  18. b166er

    Just

    fuck off back to your crayons Apple.

  19. Roo
    Pint

    Welcome to Apple's Soviet Union 2.0.

    ... Remember the films of cold hungry Russians queueing up to buy the regulation loaf of bread (only one variety on offer in limited quantities) ? In 5 years time that'll be us queueing up outside Apple Stores to buy the only computing device allowed us by the Union of Apple/Patent Office/WTO. Meanwhile in Asia they'll have a choice of zillions of different widgets which burn less juice, are lighter, cheaper, easier to use etc.

    On the plus side I reckon we'll still be able to brew a decent beer/cider so we can at least get rat-arsed while we wait for our iPads to sync up over our crumbling 3G infrastructure.

  20. Teorias
    WTF?

    What about Mercedes-Benz??

    I wonder if ever Mercedes tries to sue BMW just because their car design is so similar to theirs e.g.(4 wheels, engine, doors, seats,steering wheel....) if any perfectly able minded judge would agree with an injunction to the rival company?

    What's next, Nike vs Adidas.

    On a side note, how much does Apple pay judges anyway...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re:What about Mercedes-Benz??

      Why the hell haven't they sued every other car manufacturer for using petrol engines ?

      OK thats a joke, I dont want to be inundated with 'A brief guide to motoring history' by a sh*tload of ipad owners :D

      But really Apple, stop sueing every point one improvement and try creating something NEW, something you have never managed yet. I believe the term is 'stands on the shoulders of giants', you have never created the first instance of anything yet let loose dogs of war on anyone who stands on your shoulders.

      This way for the downvotes folks :D

      ----------------------------->

  21. AdamWill

    gobsmacking

    before commenting, take a look at the linked 'community design'. the most ridiculous thing is it doesn't even _look like an ipad_: it's a featureless rectangle with a screen. I mean, really, what idiot decided that warranted protection? apparently we need to put the European Community Design Office or whoever the hell does this stuff on the List of Shame right next to the USPTO...

  22. Guillermo Lo Coco
    FAIL

    i will continue recommending NO BUY APPLE

    They are the N^1 company of PLANED OBSOLECENCE. They made the first tab equal to iphone, without 50cents front camera and many things more to seduce to buy the next one, a tipical strategy of a greener company.

    Sams galaxy, like many other with nvidia tegra2cpu, are far more complete than any other product of apple.

    An also, at cheaper price. Thats the true.

    PUNISH APPLE in the worst, dont buy apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Nope...

      ...clue meter reading zero on this one?

    2. hexx
      Facepalm

      ok

      that's fine if you don't want to buy apple. you don't need to shout about it, we get it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apple are not alone in obsolesence..

      ...many companies do this, not just IT companies. Back back in IT, what about Samsung? Tab 2 out one year after the first. Galaxy S2 one year after the first. HTC are the same.

      Ignoring tablets and phones for a moment, the only company who didn't seem to worry about making laptops/PC's only last 3 years was IBM and their thinkpads. Mine's 6 years old and going strong. Look at a 3 year old dell for comparison, and marvel at the shiny wrist pads, worn keys, worn trackpad, peeling paint, creaking chassis, knackered DVD drive, noisy fan, dim screen...

      And Apple aren't the worst either - how many here still have fully functioning G4 12' macbooks? How many are still running and upgrading their Mac Pro's?

      Fine - take a downer on Apple. But at least make sure it's for the right reasons. How about their legal spat with Samsung for instance, trying to crush them out the market?

    4. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Planed obsolescence

      Is that when it gets thinner over time until it fades away?

  23. Teorias
    Mushroom

    One more thing...

    I would like to add that they (until now) only sued companies which use the Android OS on their phones&tablets, nothing fishy there...

  24. EyeCU
    Unhappy

    Have you looked at the community design?

    Looking at the linked article, Even Apple haven't patented the design of the ipad. The picture just shows a rectangular slab with a bezel. It doesn't even show the home button as being present. Because of that Samsung should be allowed to copy the ipad exactly including the home button as it doesn't appear on the design patent or even better patent the design with the button and sue the arse off Apple. From the pictures looking straight at the front it looks like Apple have been granted the design of a window. Also, doesn't the ipad have a slightly convex shaped back. That picture looks surprisingly flat if not a little concave therefore it isn't an ipad. What idiot allowed that to even be processed never mind granted. What about the connector? Do Apple have the 'design' patent on putting a connector in the centre of the short edge on a rectangle now?

    This so called patent should be declared null and void. Some common sense EU please, lets not get dragged down to the same level as the U.S.

    1. AdamWill

      Actually, Apple seem to be flooding the system - they've 'design patented' everything ever

      "Because of that Samsung should be allowed to copy the ipad exactly including the home button as it doesn't appear on the design patent or even better patent the design with the button and sue the arse off Apple."

      Thom Holwerda at OS News decided to take a look through the community design archives for designs with Apple listed as the owner, which elicited such gems as http://oami.europa.eu/bulletin/rcd/2006/2006_030/000465109_0009/images/000465109_0009_1_source.jpg (any cellphone, circa 1996), http://oami.europa.eu/bulletin/rcd/2009/2009_091/000672332_0009/images/000672332_0009_4_source.jpg (a long rectangle), and http://oami.europa.eu/bulletin/rcd/2008/2008_041/000839469_0019/images/000839469_0019_1_source.jpg (a folder icon). Either this is another ridiculous EU process which requires some kind of native interpreter to understand, or whichever body grants these 'community designs' is acting seriously outside its remit.

      According to Wikipedia (as of Feb 2011, so it hasn't had recent political edits yet), community designs are supposed to be granted on designs that "are novel, that is if no identical design has been made available to the public" and "have individual character, that is the "informed user" would find it different from other designs which are available to the public." So it's sort of a combination of patent and trademark concepts - you're not supposed to make something which looks so similar to someone else's novel design that you're sort of 'passing off' as it.

  25. peter 45
    Happy

    That reminds me

    I must remember to pick up a couple of Tabs on my next trip to the Netherlands

  26. Don Mitchell

    Forget Apple and Android

    Buy a Samsung Series 9 laptop. It's thin and made of black anodized duralumin, if you drop it 8 inches, it won't shatter into white plastic pieces like a Macbook. Load Windows 7, MS Office, Photoshop, Visual Studio, ABBYY FineReader and a few hot 3D games.

    1. Dave Fox
      FAIL

      White plastic?

      It may have escaped your attention that the white plastic Macbook isn't actually part of the the Macbook range any more - just the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro, both of which pre-date the Samsung Series 9 by a few years, and are made of aluminium, which also "won't shatter into white plastic pieces"!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      A flaw or two...

      macbooks are all aluminium now - not white plastic. Last white plastic one left the factory earlier this year. And given it's only an 8 inch drop, even the old ones will be fine. And 8 inches??? how about 2-3 feet? I've done exactly that and continues working a treat, plastic fully intact. Try dropping an old samsung instead and watch it shatter into black plastic pieces...

      Also, bootcamp = running all the apps you listed on apple hardware, but why you'd want to run full fat photoshop on a laptop, I'm not sure...

      Can we get back to the original point - Apple gaming the patent system and the courts to crush the competition?

  27. Steve Brooks

    absurd

    Can't wait for my triangular Samsung Galaxy 3 (see what I did there :-) )

    There things that can and should be patented, and things that shouldn't be, hmm how about patenting the look and feel of a wheel? Its round with a central hub, no-one can have one looking the same!

    There are natural shapes for things, triangular doesn't work for pads, black is a colour, you can't possibly patent a "black bezel" can you? In that case could samung make a "white bezel" patent that, then prevent anyone making a pad type device with a white bezel? How soon do we run out of colours?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    for once i support apple

    But that's only because, i'm counting on Samsung selling these beauties cheaper in bangalore where I live.

    All hail his holiness lordy jobsy!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hail jobsy?

      Why? Like he invented any part of apple products? Like buggery bollox he did.

      This story just highlights how fucked up the Germany judiciary is.

      Oi! Apple! Listen me owld china, if I want a Tab, I'll have a Tab, you bunch of twats!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hail jobsy?

        "This story just highlights how fucked up the Germany judiciary is."

        It's like the way the German customs police raided a trade show a couple of years back (although they're probably there every year) and confiscated products on some uppity vendor's say-so. A great place to do business, I'm sure.

  29. Martin Maloney
    Pirate

    Deja vu all over again?

    Am I the only one here who remembers the "look-and-feel" lawsuits of the 80s?

    Lotus sued companies that cloned 1-2-3. Apple sued Digital Research, Inc. over GEM. (Apple even claimed that the trash can was proprietary!)

    Now, nearly 30 years hence, we are being treated to "Look-and-Feel II -- The Sequel," soon to be playing at a courtroom near you.

    Shakespeare got it wrong. First, kill the people who hire the lawyers!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IP Law: It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how expensive it is to play the game

    Getting Samsung's device pulled gets Apple some good headlines and morale points, even if it's overturned later.

    Apple has a bit of a problem. It brought out a good niche product in the ipad, compared to the alternatives. Apple's problem is Google and Android. Google has no interest in per-device profit - it wants lots of devices out there to advertise to. That spoils Apple's game where it is very much interested in per-device profit.

    So far, the non-Apple tablets have been pretty mediocre. Actually, Apple's tablet is also mediocre, but they actually pay attention to the most important things that people want (battery, good viewing screen, good touch screen, good handling) and cut back on all other bits that compromise those features.

    The issue for Apple is, can they delay enough android tablets in order to scare off manufacturers so that no-one but Apple puts R&D into things like battery and chip design? If they can do that, then they'll have the tablet market to themselves. They know that Android can (has) easily closed the gap on features and prettiness, Apple's ace cards is the hardware. They cannot afford to allow any other reasonable hardware onto the market. In consumer electronics, delay generally equals death and if Apple can get some headlines saying Samsung cheated and has to be punished, then it doesn't matter if it turns out to be untrue, it's "job done" for Apple's legal and PR depts.

    Personally, I'm a bit disappointed in the Samsung tablet. I don't think Samsung can win by closing the platform. They could win by being a better ipad than the ipad, or at least a better tablet than the other android tablets and cheaper than the ipad. I'd like to see better addressbook sync'ing, accessibility by google navigation to google address books, some decent battery life (Galaxy S I'm looking at you!).

    If you really want to be innovative, how about a nice fast phone and have the tablet as a docking station? Ooh look, the tablet is a screen and battery and doesn't need a cpu at all, or wifi or bluetooth or 3g... How cheap is that? (perhaps not very, but worth exploring...)

    Perhaps samsung could do something interesting like add dect to their mobiles so you can pick up your landline when you get home without needing a dedicated VOIP server. Or perhaps a landline basestation which can auto-sync with your mobile's addressbook over bluetooth.

  31. Fab De Marco
    Thumb Down

    Fixed it!

    The community design is vague as hell, so Samsung if you are listening. Cut off corner on one edge, put a bottle opener there and hey presto! It's a completely different product!

    In all seriousness who approved that design! All it seems to say is Handheld computer and a flat screen with bezel. No dimensions no buttons, no nothing.

    It is like gaining rights to a wheel or cardboard box, wardrobe, table, anything that has a basic design.

    I assume money changes hands in order for these rights to be granted. Does anyone know? If the rights are rejected do they give the money back? Because it seems that someone is getting rich from this.

    Or is it more work to reject these things and people just think its easier to just say yes to any and all ridiculous application.

  32. markl66

    It's not a design

    Being an engineer and looking at said "design", I am pretty sure that is not a design, more like a sketch. I can't even see any dimensions. Have I missed something? Actions like this really turn me off Apple.

  33. Dave Fox
    WTF?

    Look?

    I'm holding a GT 10.1 in my hands right now. Glancing across my living room, I can see another flat screen surrounded by a black plastic bezel that looks remarkably similar, albeit larger - it's my LG flatscreen TV, which predates the ipad!

  34. Leigh McMahon
    Thumb Down

    Love (some) of their products, but...

    Those that can't compete, litigate. Silly Apple.

    1. Ivan Headache

      I'm not sure why you say "can't compete"

      It's all the others trying to compete with Apple - and seeing that Apple outsell all the others........

      Go back a bit. Tablet computers have been around for quite some time but (as commenter have pointed out in many other Reg trreads) they never got out of their very tiny niche market. Most of those that I saw (and I've probably only seen about a dozen over 10 years) were as thick (or thicker) as laptops, very heavy and used a stylus for input and didn't appear to be that eay to use.

      Out of the blue Apple launches iPad - a tablet that smashes all previously tablet concepts and is instantly useable by anyone that picks it up - even tiny children.

      Oh it will never take off! - Apple is pouring money down a black hole!. It's not a real computer! Who would buy something that can't run Flash?

      A few months later all the majors are scrabbling to get a tablet out of the door as they suddenly realise that Apple has changed the game. There is a market for tablets and if they don't do something quickly Apple will run away with the market.

      After a few hiccups most of them managed to get something out - only Samsung just copied Apple's product.

      The competition still has a way to go to beat Apple. While I'm out and about I see quite a few tablets now - iPads or Kindles.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: I'm not sure why you say "can't compete"

        "A few months later all the majors are scrabbling to get a tablet out of the door as they suddenly realise that Apple has changed the game. There is a market for tablets and if they don't do something quickly Apple will run away with the market."

        So society has to reward the first-mover by granting a monopoly to them? I hate to say it, but you'd be paying a toll to some company you've never heard of who managed to launch a tablet product in the 1980s - not Apple - if that were the rule.

        "While I'm out and about I see quite a few tablets now - iPads or Kindles."

        So e-reader vendors copied Apple, including Sony who had mainstream products out years before the *iPhone*? Clue up, please!

        1. Ivan Headache

          Re AC 13:52

          I'm not sure I fully understand what you are trying to say. I certainly did not say (or imply) that society had to reward the first mover - nor that it was it Apple.

          I'll paraphrase - tablets - been around a long time - sold in very small numbers - niche markets - difficult to use.

          Apple launches iPad - sells in huge numbers - very easy to use - worldwise market - changes the game.

          Other companies - Aagh

          The other companies manage to come up with a tablet of their own - except for Samsung who appear to copy Apple's design and packaging.

          To clear your misunderstanding I'll modify my out and about line because nowhere have I said that Kindle and Sony have copied Apple. The readers are (in case you haven't noticed) completey different products and don't look anything like an iPad - but they are tablets.

          I think you missed the implied irony in the catch-up comment.

          If I see a tablet it is either an iPad, a Kindle or an e-Reader - i.e. it is NOT one of the other makes.

  35. Sarah Davis
    Coat

    soooo tired of Apples anal antics,... Apple is now officially uncool,..

    Is anyone else tired of the continual Apple BS? Apple are always trying to sue or intimidate using their whiny snydy tactics, yet have been sued countless times for stealing other companies ideas, or for mis-advertising the capabilities of it's grossly over-priced products. Apple fanbois always whine the loudest and are often the most misinformed. I had to laugh when I found out that a couple of studios (who consider me a rival and slate me because i still use XP) spend more time trying to fix their Apple hardware issues or remove viri from their 'virus free' platform than actually being productive. Plus, the majority of folk i know who have had iPhones dumped it for Android (for a variety of reasons). Even my computer illiterate parents (OAP's) have moved to Windows.

    - Apple just plane sux and is now officially (word on the street) uncool, and Fanbois (officially the lowest 'nerd status' get picked on by true nerds (wtf?)

    I sooo wish Bill Gates hadn't bailed them out, Apple would now be gone, and as a bonus, MS would have been split in 5 - instead we all loose, Apple and MS still exist ,and we get Apple blather overload - still,... reading about Apples BS makes for a good sleeping aid zzzzzzzzzz

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Sarah Davis

      ".. spend more time trying to fix their Apple hardware issues or remove viri from their 'virus free' platform than actually being productive."

      I call bo11ox on this with a capital B and 2 Ls.

      I've been in the Mac support business for getting on for 20 years, supporting small businesses and domestic users. I have yet to find a Mac with a virus.

      Can you please also list the hardware issues that are plaguing your users that are not the same hardware issues that would affect any make of computer.

      The only Mac specific failure that impacts on productitivy that I know of is power supplies in certain tower units. Even so, I've only had to deal with 3 of those in the last 5 years.

      And please - Bill Gates did not bail out Apple. How many more times must it be said?

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        What happened to the BMW?

        > Can you please also list the hardware issues

        > that are plaguing your users that are not the

        > same hardware issues that would affect any

        > make of computer.

        What happened to all of the "Macs are BMWs" nonsense?

        So suddenly because people come out of the woodwork with their Mac horror stories, you're going to pretend that this somehow hasn't been a standard Apple marketing point for the last 20 years? If a Mac is little more than a Chevy with a prettier exterior (as some of us say) then what's the point really?

        In my own personal experience, Apple rates at the bottom for reliability of brand name ready made PCs. The way they build their boxes probably doesn't help. They're probably very prone to cooking themselves.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Caught red-handed

      BillG didn't "bail out" Apple.

      IIRC, Jobs nailed MS red-handed on an unbeatable case of IPR theft, and allowed BillG to keep face via a financial deal that was favourable to Apple financially in the short term, and generally in the long-term. BillG got to keep the image he was creating for himself intact.

  36. g e
    Facepalm

    This really makes me

    Want a Samsung 10.1

    Seriously.

    If it's THAT good that Apple are going to this lame lengths to prevent people getting one (as they could sue without banning people's access to it, I'm sure), then I want one. Badly.

    Fantastic advertising for Samsung if they spin it the right way, too.

  37. BorkedAgain
    WTF?

    Sorry, but did I miss something?

    So a regional court in Dusseldorf controls the whole European market now? Did I authorise this?

    That "Community Design" seems to outlaw frozen pizzas as well. Also DVDs. And some picture frames.

    This is grade-A, Highest-quality bullshit. I'd love to know whose palms were greased on this one...

  38. Michael Brown
    FAIL

    What did the Romans ever do for us?

    It's hilarious to see all the Apple haters getting their panties in a bunch about this! The arguments trotted out against Apple are equally entertaining. Litigating because they can't compete? Hello! Reality calling! The iPad is utterly dominating the tablet market, far from not being able to compete, there basically is no competition for the iPad. If Samsung, Motorola, RIM et al keep churning out 3rd rate products that no one wants to buy (and even of those that *are* bought, most are returned) then Apple really have nothing to worry about. That doesn't (and shouldn't) stop them however from taking action if someone is blatantly ripping them off. It's the same as Ferrari (successfully) suing the kit car manufacturers for selling "replica" Ferraris, even though Ferrari have nothing to fear from those outfits.

    Now about Apple not innovating. So Apple didn't invent the first computer with a GUI and mouse. So Apple didn't invent the world's first ever touch screen tablet computer. So they didn't invent the world's first ever portable HDD based MP3 player. So they didn't invent the first ever touch screen mobile phone. So what? Apple *did* produce the first ever *successful* computer with a GUI and mouse. Apple *did* produce the first ever *successful* HDD MP3 player. They produced the first ever *successful* touch screen tablet computer. They produce what is by far the most *successful* touch screen smartphone. Edison didn't invent the light bulb. He *did* however invent the first commercially viable one. That's innovation just as important, or even more so, than the original idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: What did the Romans ever do for us?

      "Edison didn't invent the light bulb. He *did* however invent the first commercially viable one."

      And he did sue and bully his competitors. Well done: in your little rant with the usual vague terminology like "rip off" that acts as a feeble substitute for critical thinking, you've managed to stumble on the right precedent.

      Apple is like Edison. And that's not meant as a compliment.

    2. Dave Fox
      FAIL

      Now about Apple not innovating....

      Being successful is *not* innovating, it's being successful.

    3. Figgus
      Facepalm

      Not quite

      "Apple *did* produce the first ever *successful* computer with a GUI and mouse. Apple *did* produce the first ever *successful* HDD MP3 player. They produced the first ever *successful* touch screen tablet computer. They produce what is by far the most *successful* touch screen smartphone."

      The fact that those things were successful has less to do with any real innovation and more to do with an excellent marketing department and a veritable army of zombie twats who must have the new iShiny just so they feel cool.

      Marketing + Stupidity != Innovation

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Veritable army of Zombie Twats?

        What? In 1984?

        You sound as though you weren't even born then.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I like Apple kit...

    ...but that's one hell of a way to get more free advertising for Samsung's products!

    Well done Jobs, you made the Samsung PR depts' day!

  40. Fab De Marco

    @Michael Brown

    Care to re-read your post?

    Yes the iPad is dominating the tablet market. So when a competitor comes along with a better product, Apple use some mickey mouse lititagtion to stop them selling their product rather than using advertising, sales, competative pricing, etc to beat them. So rather than compete on a level playing field they shoot down the othe teams players. That's not competing... its cheating.

    You continue to say that Apple did not invent X but they innovated it. How is this different to what samsung are doing? They have made their own spin on a tablet Computer and have been penalised for doing so because it is the same shape as the ipad.

    Please tell me you clicked the link in the article that shows apples case against samsung, and please don't tell me they have a point.

    On a sude note shouldn't Apple be trying to put this same case against the rest of the tablet computer manufacturers, after all, they will all be in violation of it. Unless of course Apple doesn't see them as a competative threat.

  41. Neil 38

    Are Kellogg's next?

    That community design relates as much to a box of cornflakes as it does to the galaxy Tab.

  42. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Samsung is starting to get a clue

    >This is what the Japanese did untill the 70's, copy western tech and produce a lower priced and usualy crappy imitation

    You do know that Samsung design and build most of the iPad?

    Apple license the ARM core from the UK, have the Koreans design and manufacture all the chips, copy a free BSD operating system and then Foxcon assemble it cheaply in China.

    The packaging and clever marketing is all Apple have - that's why they need to defend it.

  43. Gavin 2
    WTF?

    Design

    Take an Etch-a-Sketch and remove the knobs, what have you got? The Ipad community device

    I used to have a HP Tablet PC, remove the keyboard and you've got the same design again.

  44. AdamWill

    Something else interesting

    Just noticed something else interesting. The Community Design in question is cited in the article as "related to the iPad 2", but if you look up the original filing - use http://oami.europa.eu/RCDOnline/RequestManager , I can't get a direct URL for the page as it's all Javascript-y - it's dated 24/05/2004, which has to be long before anyone was thinking about iPads specifically. That's probably why it doesn't look like an iPad. The designer is listed as one "Bartley K. Andre" (anyone know anything about him? Maybe that'd help nail down what product/prototype the design is actually related to...) The 'community design' cites a prior U.S. protection of some kind, dated 17/03/2004, reference "29/201,636". I'm not sure what that would be. It's not U.S. design patent D201636, as that was filed in 1965.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      29/201,636 is an application number for the priority design

      The community design registration is claiming priority from a prior US design patent application. Confusingly, there are lots of different numbers associated with applications and granted patents (design or utlity). 29/201,636 is an application number. You can look them up on the US PAIR system, but make sure you put the correct number in the correct box. You can view all the correspondance between the Examiner and the applicant too via this system.

      Don't ask me about US Design patents. Not my bailiwick.

  45. Kevin Bailey

    Celebrate!

    The future is open source.

    Apple have now shown that they don't 'get it'.

    I've always recommended Apple stuff even though I don't have any - but no more. Android and Ubuntu all the way now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      They don't get it?

      They've got $76bn in the bank because they're muppets? Silly Apple...for not 'getting it'...

      <rolls eyes>

      At least say you don't recommend Apple because of proper stuff - like unnecessarily high prices (which is my line).

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    From a trainee leech

    This story does not really make clear what a community design is, or how they work.

    A registered community design is a unitary right, that has force right across the EU. It's obtained by a registration process, so there is no formal examination. It is not a patent. Patents are subject to a substantive examination process where a search is carried out to ensure that the claims are novel and inventive (and not within a number of exclusions).

    A design registration is not subject to such a substantive process, merely being required to be in accordance with a number of formal requirements to be in order for registration. The onus is then on interested third parties to apply for the design registration to be declared invalid. This can be done on a number of grounds.

    Firstly, for the registration to be valid, the design must be new. The test for this is that no identical design can have been made available before the registration. A design that varies only in immaterial details is still considered identical.

    A further requirement is that the design is of individual character, which is to say that it creates a different impression on the informed user than any other design that has come before (this is the design equivalent of the inventive step).

    It is further the case that features that are solely dictated by technical function are excluded from design protection.

    In the case of this design registration, the key issues are:

    Was an identical design made available before the design registration? The design does not have to be in the same field of use - any identical design that has previously been made avaialble will be grounds for revocation.

    Is the design of individual character? Does it create a different impression on the informed user than any previous design?

    To what extent are the features dictated by technical function? Can the technical function be acheived by a different design? What degree of freedom is available to the designer in acheiving the technical function?

    Apple are likely to argue that the aspect ratio of the tablet is not dictated by technical function, and that Samsung copied it. Samsung will do their level best to find prior art that invalidates, and probably argue the technical function exclusion too. Samsung would have been well advised to begin proceedings to invalidate the design registration prior to EU release of their tablet.

    And as an aside, an injunction normally (in English law) requires a cross undertaking to pay damages resulting from the injunction if the court eventually finds against you.

    1. AdamWill

      Someone did

      "Samsung would have been well advised to begin proceedings to invalidate the design registration prior to EU release of their tablet."

      The interesting thing is, someone did.

      See my post here - http://www.happyassassin.net/2011/08/10/apple-vs-samsung-a-detail-everyone-seems-to-have-missed/ . The RCD cited in this suit is not related to the iPad; it's a much earlier RCD. Apple has RCDs for the iPad, dated 2004. There are dozens of them, but one - the most basic one - is marked as 'invalidity process pending' in the RCD-ONLINE database. So it sure looks like someone did try to invalidate Apple's iPad RCD prior to distributing their own tablet - but they didn't notice that Apple had a much earlier tablet-y RCD, dated 2004, so Apple cited that one instead.

      It's still an almost surrealistically broken system. You can file an RCD for absolutely anything you like, and as long as the paperwork is in order, it'll be granted. You can then get an injunction based on that RCD with absolutely no need to really prove your claim has a whelk's chance in a supernova of standing up to any kind of examination at all, and have your competitor's product stuck in limbo until they can sort out all the expensive and time-consuming due process to get your RCD lifted. What an awful, awful process. Thom Holwerda goes into more detail at http://www.osnews.com/story/25056/The_Community_Design_and_you_Thought_the_USPTO_Was_Bad .

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