UK Judge: Samsung Wins Over Apple In Patent Dispute Because Its Tablet Isn't As Cool As iPad

from the that's-one-way-to-do-it dept

While the judge in the US banned Samsung’s devices claiming it was likely that Samsung violated Apple’s patents, there was a different result in the UK… where a judge has decided that Samsung didn’t violate Apple’s design patent, because it’s obvious that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is just not as cool as Apple’s iPad.


“They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” said Judge Birss.

“They are not as cool,” he said. “The overall impression produced is different.”

Amusingly, of course, this puts Samsung in the position of celebrating its lack of coolness.

In the end, this is the right result, but the reasoning is a bit odd, frankly. When patent disputes are being determined based on a judge’s determination of “coolness,” it seems like perhaps something is wrong with the system itself.

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Companies: apple, samsung

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Comments on “UK Judge: Samsung Wins Over Apple In Patent Dispute Because Its Tablet Isn't As Cool As iPad”

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83 Comments
drheadsays:

If you were an Apple fanboy, you’d understand.

For those who are not:
Apple focuses a lot on simplicity. On most phones you’ll find about 50 buttons and ports and slots all around the edges of the phone. On the iPhone, there’s only 4 buttons total, 2 ports, and one switch. The SIM card slot is placed in such a way that it is flush with the edge of the phone. Why? Because that’s all you need. You usually only need to put in the SIM card once (or never if on Verizon) so it is tucked out of the way. They put in a good battery, so they put that out of the way as well. There is no microSD slot since managing flash storage on a phone can be a hassle, so they made that not a problem (and you should be able to fit plenty on a 32 GB iphone, I couldn’t imagine coming close to filling a 64 GB one).
On the iPad, there are also only 4 buttons (1 on front), 1 switch, a headphone jack and a dock connector. The iPad is also designed in such a way that the buttons on the side aren’t visible from the front so they aren’t distracting you. There’s also no prominently displayed Apple logo on the front like on the Galaxy Tab.
The operating system also exhibits the simplicity that Apple strives for. I’ve looked at Android tablets before. When I see the home screen on them, the first word that comes to mind is cluttered. Everything is really crammed together and, in my opinion, that makes it harder to use. One advantage of Android is that it is more customizable, however, this comes at the cost of compatibility issues arising. For iOS apps, apps either work or they don’t for a specific device/OS version. For Android apps, developers would have to make apps that work on several resolutions, several hardware configurations, and several devices. As a person who has a custom gaming rig that is better than the computer of most people I know, Android looks a lot like development hell. Apple has a lot of consistency, so I don’t have to change the layout of my applications much when the iPad 8 comes out boasting a 4096×3072 screen resolution.

I might also want to mention that everyone immediately started copying the iPhone as soon as it came out, but I have a feeling I’d lose that debate horribly on here… I’ll drop this image here anyway…
http://www.idrugged.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/befroe-and-after-iphone.jpg
To be honest, if everyone blatantly copied my design like that and fucked up the simplicity at the core like that, I’d want to sue everyone too.

Wallysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:528KB

Ok, I need to slap you with a bit of tech history.
1. It’s 640KB and it’s a quote by one Wiilam Henry Gates III in reference to the maximum amount on the IBM.
2. RAM was super expensive in the early 80’s and cost upwards of US$1,000 per megabyte.
3. The first Macintosh (1984) had 128KB of ram.
3a. The doomed Apple Lisa (of which Steve Jobs had no affiliation to that product) cost US$10,000. Most of that was because it had 1Megabyte of RAM and that cost would be the only way to recover the cost of marketing and manufacturing

4. Bill Gates referred to 640KB RAM being all the RAM MSDos needed to run so it won’t read any more than that.

Now judging by your response “528kb of storage is enough for everybody”, you are either Trolling, are no older than 18 and grew up in an erra where you had more than 32MB of RAM to work with on a regular basis for all your life, or both. You know nothing of the past or make a mockery of important human history, neither of which I tolerate very easily.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

The largest reason for the design choice is function over form. Not form over function. The screen went from being little dinky things to large high resolution displays. Now, while we can say Apple did that first more or less, it was coming anyway once costs came down, people had been dreaming of it since the days of Palmpilot, but the technology wasn’t there at a price point that made sense. Arguably it wasn’t there when the original iphone launched either, but Apple didn’t sell the iphone as a phone. They sold it as a life accessory, and that made all the difference.

I don’t really think Apple should have crap to stand on for being there first to market with a design everyone wanted to do back in the 90s. Other than control of the market while everyone else catches up. They didn’t do anything patentable. They took hardware someone else made, which is patentable, and shoved it together in an exceedingly obvious way. Just no one else wanted to take the monetary risk. They’ve been rewarded for that, look how many iphones have sold, they’ve made billions. But that shouldn’t let them control the market once other competitors enter.

Wallysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:Function over form

I agree with you. Apple was the first to take the plunge into an untouched, very risky market. You’re absolutely right in saying they took a huge risk. Part of innovation is taking risks. Apple took a risk with the iPad when others wouldn’t. Once others found out the market had a niche, they all went the same direction. It might not have been innovation in some cases, but at least they launched the tablet industry into new heights by taking the risk. They may not have alway been first, but they certainly strive for better, easier to use products. The reason why Apple has sold so many devices is they make it way easier to learn the interface. My 4th gen iPod touch came with a two sided card with pictures showing the gestures and everything else was there.

Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Stylesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:Function over form

Wally, I’m just going to say it again, you are seriously misinformed. Apple did not take a risk, nor did they innovate with the iPad. Look without going all specific, the iPad was NOT even the first tablet released the year it came out. This is a verifiable fact.

However, it was the first tablet to actually gain any sort of popularity and thus market share and actually be considered a success.

Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Stylesays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:Function over form

Well, I wasn’t replying to you, unless you’re Wally/Sad Mac. However, Apple was not the first to do things right either. They were the first to do things “right” insofar as gaining rapid and popular acceptance goes. But that isn’t the same thing as saying they were the first to do things right. Not even remotely. Don’t conflate “popularity” with “right”.

Also, if that was indeed what you were trying to say, say it clearly. Do not state, they were the first ones to create a tablet when that wasn’t the case. If you do so, you will be corrected. Say they were the first ones to make a popular product, that is much more accurate.

JEDIDIAHsays:

Re: Re: Re: The evil is unecessary

…all of which means that any legal shenanigans should be considered entirely gratuitous. No fanboy should be making excuses for such barratry because it is simply not necessary.

Apple being evil should shock Apple users as much if not more than the rest of us. It means that they are focusing on lawyers rather than engineers.

Not an Electronic Rodentsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Now, while we can say Apple did that first more or less,

They did what??? I had…hmmm… 2 phones with large touch screens about the size of an iPhone, the second of which was hi-def and both of these before the first iPhone was released. Apple have rarely, if ever, done anything first they’ve just done it popular and (if you must) “cool”.

Not an Electronic Rodentsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Now, while we can say Apple did that first more or less, it was coming anyway once costs came down

Oh, and forgot to say, prior art is still prior art even if it’s expensive – had an IBM “tablet” (convertable laptop with touchscreen) waaaaaaay before the first iPad complete with screen bigger than an iPad

Anonymous Cowardsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Apple was the first to take the plunge into an untouched, very risky market.”

See, that was your original statement up above. Do you notice a trend? Someone makes a remark usually based on facts and evidence shooting down your comments, you then alter your comments to something else.

Either start off by saying something that is in line with the facts or don’t say anything at all.

And no, the iPad was not the first tablet available with an acceptable price range for it’s performance. There were others before that.

THE ONLY THING THE IPAD WAS FIRST IN (as far as tablets are concerned) WAS IN RAPID POPULAR ADOPTION BY THE GENERAL MASSES. That’s it. It wasn’t the first tablet. (Not even for the year.) It wasn’t the first available at an acceptable cost. (Again, not even for that year.) And so on and so forth. The only first it achieved was in popularity. Nothing more and definitely nothing remarkable since.

Please, I know you like Apple products (that is readily apparent), stop with the misinformation and attempts to try and paint Apple’s iProducts as the be all end all of consumer goods. Their “first” were anything but as history, and a quick search online, will readily show.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Unfortunately, that simplicity always comes at the cost of unintuitiveness. Apple makes the most frustrating and unintuitive devices and software I’ve ever had the misfortune of using.

Their devices do look great though, Ill give them that, but using them makes me want to blow my brains out everytime.

Wallysays:

Re: Re: Re: Who Copied Who?

iPhone uses Haptic feedback, not capacitance like the Proda. The Proda had.

Now for that wonderful place Wikipedia
LG Prada under iPhone Contraversy,

“LG later claimed that Apple stole both the ideas and concept of the Prada phone. A lawsuit by LG had been rumored prior to this announcement; [8] however, LG never followed through with it.”

That being said, LG makes the Retina display for Apple.

Now when you get back to the ruling I will be happy to talk.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who Copied Who?

The original iPhone had haptic feedback? and what do you mean by haptic feedback?

http://www.gsmarena.com/apple_iphone-1827.php

And by saying “capacitance” you sound like you are talking about the display where the iPhone too use a capacitance TFT.

Further up until March 2012 it seems, there was no haptic feedback different from others in the iPhone.

Quote:

Right now if you want any kind of haptic feedback from your iPhone, you?re out of luck. A number of Android OEMs implement a form of haptic feedback by using the phone?s vibration motor on keypresses, but it?s never felt quite right to us. Apple have reportedly filed a patent application which may solve the problem, and could already be looking into manufacturing possibilities.

http://www.slashgear.com/apple-patent-outlines-iphone-haptic-feedback-system-22219598/

G Thompsonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who Copied Who?

iPhone uses Haptic feedback, not capacitance like the Prod

WTF? It does NOT! Haptic feedback (by use of the word feedback) requires a two way system of allowing the user to know they have initiated some type of action by the use of haptics (touch). It allows the perception of mechanical interactions/movement where there are none

Though Apple are working on haptic feedback devices, as everyone else has for over 50yrs (yes 50!) they definitely DO NOT use haptic feedback systems for the iPhone or any other current device they produce

Wallysays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Who Copied Who?

Haptic Feedback refers to the singnals your fingers send from the nerve endings to your brain. The iPod touch’s and iPhone’s and iPad’s touch screens detect the electric signals from your haptic nerve endings in your finger tips. When you feel the screen a positive charge is detected on one end of the HAPTIC nerve, the signal is sent to your brain as “oh, this is solid” which goes back to the finger in a complete circuit to detect if your finger is still there…a negative charge. So basically the moment your brain feels the screen, the device picks up on the electric signals being used by your brain that signal the sense of touch. You feel you touch the screen, no real extra feedback.

Ever wonder why an iOS device with a touch screen will not work with a plastic stylus? There is your answer.

drheadsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I did not say that it was a feature. I said that managing two separate storage devices on a phone does not come without its disadvantages. There is no way to get a microSD card and onboard flash storage to work seamlessly together. If you tried to emulate a RAID 0, the speed would always be that of the microSD card. If you let them behave separately, certain files would load slower and it’d be harder to fit several large files on the phone if they didn’t fit nicely. Most users don’t want to deal with this kind of crap. Apple does allow you to bring your phone in within 30 days to upgrade to one with more storage capacity if you find it to be insufficient, so it’s not like you never get a chance once you buy a phone.

I also feel that I must ask exactly how much porn you are trying to store on your phone.

techflawssays:

Re: Re:

They put in a good battery, so they put that out of the way as well.
A nice way to describe you got to pay Apple top dollar cause you can’t relace it yourself. Fanboy, indeed.

I might also want to mention that everyone immediately started copying the iPhone as soon as it came out, but I have a feeling I’d lose that debate horribly on here…
Obviously.

To be honest, if everyone blatantly copied my design like that and fucked up the simplicity at the core like that, I’d want to sue everyone too.
Lucky for Apple, Prada thinks differently.

drheadsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“A nice way to describe you got to pay Apple top dollar cause you can’t relace it yourself. Fanboy, indeed.”
Does it really matter if I don’t have to replace the battery?

As for that link, those people seem to act like Apple is the only company to ever do things like that. Apple is not the only company to ever misuse the patent system. Ever heard of the Bethesda Game Studios vs. Mojang AB case? Not only does that show that others make bullshit patent cases, but it also shows that we should really be mad at the lawyers instead.

techflawssays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Does it really matter if I don’t have to replace the battery?

And why is that? Cause you spend money on a new device and don’t use the old one long enough? Does at least this behaviour qualify as fanboism?

Apple is not the only company to ever misuse the patent system.

That’s your defense? Other people are jackasses too? Yeah, that makes me like Apple much more for abusing the system.

drheadsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’d also like to mention that iTunes received an update containing references to what would be the iPhone some time in September of 2006. The LG Prada was first announced on December 12, 2006. Now, unless Apple’s Time Machine backup drive has some interesting hidden features, I don’t think they copied it. In fact, the iPhone has been in development since 2005 at least.

http://www.wired.com/gadgets/wireless/magazine/16-02/ff_iphone

Just because the phones ended up looking alike doesn’t mean a thing. It’s called ‘convergent evolution’. Sharks and dolphins look alike, but they are clearly different. The sharks aren’t suing the dolphins over copying their design.

techflawssays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just because the phones ended up looking alike doesn’t mean a thing. It’s called ‘convergent evolution’.

Wait, what? What about your previous statement

To be honest, if everyone blatantly copied my design like that and fucked up the simplicity at the core like that, I’d want to sue everyone too

So when Apple does it, it’s convergent evolution but when others do it, it’s blatant copying?

Lawrence D'Oliveirosays:

Re: Re: If you have an idea, then do it right so nobody copies it.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Any fool can have an idea, and a lot of them do.

The difference is not in the idea, but in the execution. As Thomas Edison said, anything worth achieving is 5% inspiration, and 95% perspiration.

In other words, let them copy your idea, because that alone will not be enough to successfully compete with you. To take away customers from you, they will actually have to execute on that idea to produce a superior product.

ottermatonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: If you have an idea, then do it right so nobody copies it.

As Thomas Edison said, anything worth achieving is 5% inspiration, and 95% perspiration.

Or, as Nikola Tesla said in reference to Edison:

His method was inefficient in the extreme, for an immense ground had to be covered to get anything at all unless blind chance intervened and, at first, I was almost a sorry witness of his doings, knowing that just a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90 percent of the labor.

Dukesays:

Not a Patent dispute!

This wasn’t actually a patent dispute (unlike last week’s HTC v Apple case). While it may seem like a trivial difference, this was a “(European) community design right” dispute. That means it was about the actual design and the way it looked, rather than anything to do with how it works, hence coolness being an important factor.

The judgment can be found here, for anyone interested: Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd v Apple Inc [2012] EWHC 1882 (Pat), the relevant paragraphs being 182 and 190:

The [iPad] looks like an object the informed user would want to pick up and hold. It is an understated, smooth and simple product. It is a cool design. … [The Samsung tablets] do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool. The overall impression produced is different.

So Apple doesn’t have a complete monopoly on rectangular hand-held computers with rounded corners – just cool ones.

Dukesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a Patent dispute!

… no, they’re design rights. Either registered, unregistered or community (in England). They work differently, require different registration, cover different things, last (in some cases) different durations and come from different bits of law.

Patents cover processes, design rights cover shapes (and designs), copyright covers expressions of ideas, trademarks cover brands, performance rights cover performances, and so on. They are all subtly (or not so subtly, in some cases) different.

Saying design rights are patents on designs seems like saying a physical right of access is like a patent on a footpath… also, I’m fairly certain I’m not your son.

anonsays:

Aplle?

I realized today that apple actually have the best screen for browsing the internet, a widescreen is just too slim for browsing. The problem is that the ipad is too restricted in what you can do with it, like play home made videos on a usb stick or sd card. So i think we all need to ask Samsung to do a tablet that is the exact same size as the ipad3 and just make it not look as cools as the ipad. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would buy it…

Wallysays:

Re: Re: Aplle?

Two things to make your day:

1. Take a magnifying glass to the screen with tiny text on it and count the pixels you don’t see around the edges of the text.

2. You can jailbreak your iPad and do what you wish with it ๐Ÿ™‚

As for the size, reading from a portrait aspect ratio from an iPhone, 4th gen iPod Touch is like reading from a news paper column.

Double tap on a bit of text in a column, it zooms in to lake the text larger.

Yup, better display.

Anonymoussays:

Cool decision!

Actually, I commend the judge for a pretty cool decision. This was a very silly claim about copying a “look”, nothing to do with patents, and his use of the vernacular “cool” shows that he totally gets it.

Thankfully in Europe you can’t “patent” that, unlike the US patent office which often seems to be unable to make the distinction between a patent and an industrial design.

(And by the way that should be “Who copied WHOM.”)

Anonymoussays:

Just seems like the judge is using different wording for Mike’s favorite “idiot in a hurry” test.

Judge walks up to a table with two tablets. He looks at each, flips it over a couple of times, and decides that they are indeed not the same thing, and neither is a copyright infringement on the other. Why? Is the judge going to talk about “simplicity of design” or “the braun effect” or even “softer lineshapes”? No, because he’s a judge and not an interior designer. He’s going to say “This Apple one is different in a legally significant way. Why? I dunno….it just looks cooler”.

Just because he didn’t say it in Latin doesn’t mean it’s the wrong decision.

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