Samsung Galaxy Tab 'not as cool as iPad', rules UK court

In a delicious back-handed compliment, a UK judge has ruled that Samsung tablets don't copy the iPad because they're "not as cool".

Samsung tablets don't copy Apple's iPad, says a UK court -- because they're "not as cool". In a supreme example of the fine art of the back-handed compliment, Judge Colin Biriss ruled that Samsung tablets are indeed different to Apple tablets, in that they don't have anything like the "understated and extreme simplicity possessed by the Apple design". Er... yay, Samsung?

If there's anyone who knows cool, it's High Court judges, right? The judge noted that the similarity between the tablets when viewed from the front is "really very striking". But that was not enough to convince the court Samsung had ripped off Apple's design.

The makers of the Galaxy Tab told us: "Samsung welcomes today's judgement, which affirms our position that our Galaxy Tab products do not infringe Apple's registered design right. As the ruling proves, the origins of Apple's registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art."

Referring to other similar legal battles, Samsung continued that, "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."

The two companies are locked in bitter legal warfare in courtrooms around the world, with both sides trading blows such as bans on particular phones and tablets, including the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1 . The dispute began when Apple accused Samsung of outright copying, right down to the Tab's packaging, but has since been pared down to a disagreement over technical patents.

It isn't just Samsung bearing the brunt of Apple's ire -- Apple has launched patent challenges against several manufacturers of Android kit, including HTC and Motorola, after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs declared " thermonuclear war " against Android.

After a British judge ruled in HTC's favour in another patent dispute, this is the second defeat for Apple in UK law in the past week.

In light of a Dutch court recently ordering Apple to compensate Samsung  and a US judge lambasting the California company's " frivolous filings ", it seems the tide of these patent disputes is turning against Apple -- but a lot rides on the US case taking place later this month.

Is this the end for Apple's patent disputes? With the judge's words ringing in our ears, is this a pyrrhic victory for Samsung? Deliver your verdict in the comments or on our Facebook page.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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