Apple forces Samsung to hand over Galaxy prototypes in legal spat

Apple's legal battle with Samsung has taken a new twist, as a federal court is forces Samsung to hand over samples of new phones for Apple to poke and pore over.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Apple's legal battle with Samsung has taken a new twist. The California outfit is suing the Korean corporation over alleged copying of Apple products in Samsung's Android range, and a federal court is forcing Samsung to hand over samples of new phones for Apple to pore over.

The phones and tablets in question are the Samsung Galaxy S 2, Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G and Droid Charge. Fortunately for Samsung, only Apple's legal team for this case will see the products, so no-one from Apple or even Apple's in-house lawyers will see the rival devices. 

While the Samsung Galaxy S 2 has just gone on sale in the UK and the Infuse 4G in the US, the other three devices aren't yet on the market.

Normally, there'd be three months before Samsung had to hand over samples, but San Jose Judge Lucy Koh has decided that Samsung has already been shooting its mouth off about the unreleased phones and can't claim they're secret models, Courthouse News reports. Apple points out that Samsung even gave away a Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet to all 5,000 people at the recent Google I/O developer conference.

Apple claims Samsung is causing confusion in the minds of the phone-buying public by aping the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad in the design of phones and tablets, the interface and even the packaging. Samsung has to hand over samples of the phones and their packaging to Apple so it can use them as examples to build its case. When the case is presented, the court will decide whether Samsung products do indeed mimic Apple too closely.

Samsung even has its own version of the iPod touch, which strips out the phone functions for an app-running, Web-connected MP3 player -- the Galaxy S WiFi 5.0 and Galaxy S WiFi 4.0.

They may look alike, but which are the better phones? We pitted the Samsung Galaxy S 2 vs iPhone 4 in head-to-head combat to find out. Which do you prefer: Samsung Galaxy or Apple iDevice? And do you think all phones basically look the same?