Score another victory for Samsung. A UK judge has determined that the manufacturer of the Galaxy line of Android tablets did not violate Apple’s patents by citing one major reason … Android isn’t as cool as the iPad. Gee, I didn’t know that coolness had a legal definition …
“They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool,” he said. “The overall impression produced is different.” – Judge Colin Birss
The ruling, made by Judge Colin Birss in the United Kingdom stated that while the Samsung Galaxy line of tablets belonged in the same family as Apple’s iPad, he based his decision on the conclusion that their overall impression was different … and Android apparently isn’t as cool.
Cool as a legal term. That’s pretty … well, COOL!
I’m not sure that Samsung, or Google for that matter, would want to base an ad campaign over the fact that their Android tablets aren’t very cool (kinda like Volvo, we’re boxy by good), but a legal win in this protracted world war is win nonetheless. And it’s the second ruling against Cupertino in the United Kingdom this summer. The first being a ruling by another UK judge that found HTC without fault in a patent lawsuit where Apple said HTC violated patents on the slide to lock feature and other touch screen centric features for it’s line of Android based smartphones (no determination of legal coolness in that case, however). Is Great Britain showing a disdain for Apple’s worldwide legal battle to keep Android, and by extension Google and it’s partners, from gaining marketshare against iOS devices? It would seem that way according to Samsung:
“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,” Samsung said in a statement.
A judge in the Netherlands also ruled in Samsung’s favor, stating that it was Apple who knowingly violated patents held by Google pertaining to their Android OS. Even in the US it seems the legal winds are blowing against Cupertino. The U.S. International Trade Commission rejected Apple’s request for a ban on HTC smartphones like the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE. And there are other signs that the legal strategy may be staring to backfire. Apple also just had their pre-trial injunction against the Google Nexus phone lifted when a Federal Appeals Court judge ruled in favor of Samsung, and Motorola Mobility scored a victory in March when the courts of the United States International Trade Commission ruled that the Motorola did not violate Apple patents with their version of the Android smartphone OS. This same ruling was affirmed by a US District judge who dismissed the case outright.
But all hasn’t been rosey for Samsung or Google as a US District Court Judge upheld a ban of selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States.
It seemed like just last week, the legal winds were favoring Cupertino, but now the winds have shifted. Will that stop Apple from pursuing legal action? Not likely. Before he died, Apple Founder Steve Jobs was quite clear in his intention to wage war against what he considered a “stolen operating system.”
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s … to right this wrong.” -Steve Jobs Biography, Walter Isaacson