Apple: too “cool” to be copied

This month has been a busy one for Apple’s lawyers. First, there was the dispute in China over ownership of the iPad name, which eventually settled out of court in Apple’s favour. Then a US court, whilst maintaining a ban on the sales of Galaxy 10.1 tablets, lifted a similar ban on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, despite the argument from Apple that it infringed its unified search patent. Around the same time, a UK court ruled Apple’s patent on the “slide to unlock” function could not be enforced against HTC. Now, the results of the latest battle against rivals, Samsung, have been announced.

The dispute was over whether the design of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes the design of the iPad. Apple complained of several similarities between the designs including the rounded corners, curved back and overall simplicity of the design. However, Judge Birss QC, sitting in the High Court, concluded that the overall impression of the two devices was different. In his judgement, he stated the Samsung Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool”.

Though Apple may be flattered to know their products are cooler than those of their rivals, this “cool” factor meant they lost the case. The result of this is that Apple cannot block sales of the Samsung tablet for being too similar to the iPad. They have 21 days to appeal the ruling.

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