Able to tell the difference between an iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab? Samsung lawyers couldn’t. A US Judge has ruled Samsung Tabs 10.1 have infringed on Apple owned patents, although warned Apple still need to prove their case.
This latest blow for Samsung Galaxy Tab maker comes as an Australian court upheld an interim ban on its Tab 10.1, meaning the android Honeycomb tab is highly unlikely to be sold this side of Christmas.
Apple are looking to ban not only the Tab 10.1 in the US but also its Galaxy S II smartphone which is pending release there.
One of the critical deciders which appeared to favour Apple was when U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh held up both Apple’s iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab, and asked Samsung legal counsel Kathleen Sullivan, a lawyer representing Samsung, to spot the difference and identify the iPad from the Galaxy at San Jose, California federal court, Thursday.
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According to Reuters, she could not do it from a distance of about 10 feet away. “Not at this distance, your honor,” Sullivan replied.
“Can any of Samsung’s lawyers tell me which one is Samsung and which one is Apple?” Judge Koh asked.
A Samsung lawyer then did identify which was an iPad and a Galaxy, moments later.
“It took a long time to make that distinction,” Judge Koh noted.
Apple are claiming Samsung infringe at least three design patents, similar to the case made before an Australian court last week.
However, its not looking good for Samsung – the Judge ‘frequently’ remarked on the similarity between the rival tabs.
And she did agree Samsung has infringed design patents, although appear to reject Apple claim on one of its other ‘ulility’ patents.
However, the onus now is on Apple to prove the patents are valid under law.
Samsung counsel are arguing it has raised enough “substantial questions” about the validity of patents in question to prove Apple has no case.
However, a final decision on three other Apple design patents will be arrived at “fairly promptly” as US carriers including T Mobile and Verizon are siding with Samsung, arguing a ban on Galaxy S II will hit Christmas sales hard.
After the hearing, Samsung spokesman Kim Titus rejected Apple’s case for a ban as “groundless.”
However, Apple spokeswoman, Kristen Huguet, maintains Samsung are copy cats: “It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad … This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”
And it looks like other Android devices in Australia could also be in danger of being banned, following last weeks ruling by Judge Bennett, where the ban on Galaxy Tab 10.1 was upheld until a full hearing on November 1.
According to Foss Patents expert, Florian Mueller, after Justice Bennett’s decision it is possible “no company in the industry be able to launch any new Android-based touchscreen product in Australia anytime soon without incurring a high risk of another interim injunction
But it wasn’t all bad news for Samsung, in Australia at least.
Justice Amanda Bennett rejected Apple’s bid to vet any new Samsung tablets before they go on sale here on Friday last, meaning that although the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is banned for the interim, its 7.7 inch device could be released here instead.