Samsung won a patent dispute with Apple on Monday, but the reason for the victory is something the company likely won’t want to brag about: British High Court Judge Colin Birss said Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets are simply “not as cool” as Apple’s iPad and thus consumers won’t mistake the two devices when shopping.
The Galaxy Tab and iPad are both tablets dominated by touchscreens. They do look similar — much like any two tablet families might — but Samsung’s slates are “very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back,” Birss said in his ruling. “They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” Birss stated. “They are not as cool. The overall impression produced is different.”
In its UK suit against Samsung, Apple argues that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes on the patented look and feel of the iPad, making it difficult for consumers to discern between the two devices. The UK victory follows a small win in the U.S. for Samsung: On Friday, a U.S. appeals court overturned an earlier ruling from a lower federal court that banned the sale of the Galaxy Nexus smartphone. however, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is currently under a temporary sales ban in the U.S. in the same stateside suit.
Apple and Samsung are involved in similar patent disputes in about 10 other countries as well. It’s a strange predicament, given that Apple maintains strong business relationships with non-tablet-related Samsung arms.
Officials at Samsung and Apple were unavailable for comment at press time.