It was a real surprise that Apple obtained a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s importation of tablets in the EU. Even Samsung was surprised:
“The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung.“
Doesn’t sound like due process to me…
I expect Samsung will soon get a hearing on the matter from that court or an appelate court and straighten out the matter. The idea of a preliminary injunction is to maintain the status quo, according to PJ, and at this time the situation is that no Galaxy Tabs are being imported, but that was scheduled to change within a few weeks. By then Samsung will be harmed and if they can persuade the judge that Apple is nuts and that Samsung is likely to win, the injunction will likely be removed pending trial. I can see Samsung appealing this if the injunction is not overturned promptly.
The basis for this injunction is a rather broad design patent for something technically needing to be flat, rectangular and hand-held to do the job and there is nothing innovative about the design. It’s like a compact monitor with touch after all. Those have been around since the 1960s and were rectangular. Of course the clay tablet and soapstone on slate writing devices were around for centuries. My parents, aunts and uncles used them. They were rectangular for good reasons. That’s an easy shape to build and to hold. That’s why they call these new gadgets tablets or slates… This is just more vomit from USPTO, who should be ashamed of themselves.
UPDATE SJVN has a similar take, and a reference to Star Trek, “Iâ€™ll tell you what I see, itâ€™s a freaking tablet. Yes, it looks like an iPad. But, it looks just as much like every tablet thatâ€™s ever existed or ever will exist. Itâ€™s a tablet.
What is Appleâ€™s problem anyway? Afraid of a little competition in the marketplace?”
The Star Trek thing is something I knew about but my memory does not work in real time… see Wikipedia
“The Star Trek franchise inspired many modern technologies, including the tablet personal computer, the personal digital assistant, mobile phones, and the MRI (similar to Dr. McCoy’s diagnostic table).”
Star Trek was a sci-fi TV series from the 1960s… It’s hard to see how a patent on similar designs can happen 50 years later except that USPTO has no memory these days. They had no problem going back 30 years the last time I filed a patent application with them. I guess it’s hard to find good help these days.
Vancouver Sun has a decent analysis of the risk/reward of Apple’s legal strategy. Even if Apple loses in the long run they may gain in market share as a result of delaying competition. The big risk is that Apple may end up paying huge sums to Samsung for lost revenue…
UPDATE It turns out that Motorola sued Apple first and Apple has replied with the same sort of desing-patent nonsense…
see The Inquirer – Motorola confirms Apple has sued it over Xoom tablet design