UK court rules Samsung tablets do not infringe on Apple's design

[JURIST] A UK court ruled [judgment, PDF] Monday in favor of Samsung Electronics (UK) Limited in a design infringement case brought by Apple [corporate websites]. Apple filed suit against its rival Samsung in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division [official website], alleging that three of Samsung's tablets infringed upon Apple's registered design patents while Samsung denied infringement. The issue before the court was whether Samsung's counterclaim should be stayed. Judge Colin Birss held that the designs of Samsung's Tablets 10.1, 8.9 and 7.7 did not infringe upon the Community Registered Design No. 000181607-0001 which belongs to Apple. Birss discussed the back and side design of Tablet 7.7 to stress the difference between Samsung's products and Apple's design. He used the particular tablet because, according to him, it has least visually prominent detailing. Although the front of both companies' products are very similar, the judge pointed out that to an "informed user" the difference between them becomes considerably enhanced if observing the back and side designs. The judge noted that Samsung's tablets are not as "cool" as Apple's design, which demonstrates "extreme simplicity" thereby creating a different overall impression to consumers.

Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in continuous patent litigation around the world. Earlier this month, a federal judge issued an injunction [JURIST report] against Samsung to stop the sale of its Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the US. A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] found that Apple is likely to succeed on the merits in the litigation and would likely suffer irreparable harm if Samsung's sale of its smartphone is not stopped immediately. A week earlier, Judge Lucy Koh had already granted [JURIST report] an injunction against Samsung blocking the sale of its Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer while the patent infringement case is reviewed. The CAFC had rejected [Bloomberg report; CAFC notice] Samsung's appeal of the decision that remanded the case to the district court giving Apple another opportunity to ban Samsung's Galaxy products in the states after it partially reversed [JURIST report] the district court's refusal to grant a temporary injunction for Apple against Samsung. Apple's request for a temporary injunction was denied [JURIST report] by the district court in December. Apple filed a suit [JURIST report] against Samsung in April of last year alleging that Samsung committed ten patent infringements, two trademark violations and two trade dress violations by copying iPhone and iPad technology in making its "Galaxy" products. In June, the District Court of The Hague ruled [JURIST report] in favor of Samsung against Apple holding that Apple was liable for infringing upon one of the Korean company's four patents, a 3G patent.

 

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