Apple won its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 European ban based on a design sketch filed in 2004

Apple won its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 European ban based on a design sketch filed in 2004
Turns out we shouldn't have been so cruel to the US patent system that allows big business to trademark every button and icon it produces as if they are a sight unseen, and then sue the pants off other companies.

Apple won an injunction and selling ban against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in a German court not based on a patent it holds in Europe, but on something called Community Design. The system has been created in the European Union in 2002, and basically allows for anyone to pay and patent not just photos of actual stuff, but also vague design sketches of products, software or packaging. 

Once declared valid, these Community Designs are used in a legal system which allows it, like the German one, to win injunctions against the competition, and the court is obliged to grant the motion if the paperwork is correct, without even notifying the defendant, and its decision is valid throughout the EU. In this case, however, Samsung had known about the upcoming filing, despite that it acted surprised, and has even filed a protective pleading July 29, before Apple brought the case to court, but it hasn't been considered stronger than Cupertino's claims.

The real kicker is that Apple has followed in Microsoft's footsteps, and has filed a number of those vague sketched of iPods, Macs, iPhones, tablets and so on, with various shapes, forms and button placements, with the Community Design body, and it can now use them to obtain injunctions. The court doesn't even have to understand what is going on, they just see a shape resembling the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and grant the injunction, as long as the Community Design has been given to Apple and paid for. No review, no prior art resemblance like with the USPTO.

To add insult to injury, Apple's motion is based on Community Design 003781832 - not only does it look like a napkin sketch, but it has also been filed in 2004, six years before Apple's first tablet saw the light of day. Basically it seems that Apple has been sifting through its numerous Community Design drawings to find something that resembles most the rectangular shape and tapered edges of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, knowing that the court is obliged to grant the injunction against that.

Now Samsung will fight the claims August 25, plus some big retailers have said they don't plan to stop selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 batches they have, and they also sell Apple gear, so they might get their way. Still, it is guilty until proven innocent, and despite that we know this is a regular way to do business for big companies, what happens if you are a small start-up and try to come up with something fairly novel, only to have a legal army banning your product based on hot air. Below are some examples of the sketches Apple has filed for the iPhone, for instance.

source: OSNews & FOSSPatents



1. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

lol nothing surprising here then

113. daniel_bargs

Posts: 325; Member since: Nov 27, 2010

hey it is so surprising... i thought i already know the world i live in. WTF. i think i should be pursuing fine arts or engineering or interior design now.... then i draw a circular chair, floating chair, soft and hard chairs, floating bridges, pure glass phones, parallelogram monitors and solar-powered phones! then i pass it to the authorities then after 10 years my works will be possible to build then they get my idea without my permission then im gonna file a damn lawsuit then POOF... im rich! haha

2. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

Wow, just....just wow! This is f*ckin ridiculous!

22. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010 is ridiculous

57. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Indeed. How can Apple prove that this was a design for their tablet? It could have been a sketch for a macbook or something for all we know. This product ban should be completely thrown out. If its not, it proves the EU are Apple fanboys, and you'll see other similar looking Android tablets drop off like flies in the EU, Apple wont stop with the Tab 10.1, they'll go after Motorola, HTC, Acer, and all the other tablet makers if this is upheld, and the Eu will be hypocrites if they don't honor their overlords at Apple's requests.

79. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

U r being a bit naive here... This is obviously a fault with the European patent system... It really just shows apples intelligence as a company... This was a drawing from 6-7 years ago when apple was still a smaller company when compared to Samsung Motorola Microsoft and Nokia. Somehow they were aware of this patent thing and were smart enough to submit drawings of as much innovative and vague things as possible. No i do not agree with patenting ideas, which this is, but it is the way it is and must be accepted. It comes down to which company was smarter and in this case apple.

84. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

Smart or sneaky? I'll say both.

119. Konstantin unregistered

It's called shrewd.

183. Marc unregistered

its called business go apple!er for being smart and sneaky. sly little bastards

3. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

If this is how the phone manufacturers are gonna plan then the Mobile phone industry is screwed up.

7. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

If this is how the phone manufacturers are gonna play then the Mobile phone industry is screwed up.

4. Airhorn unregistered

So, not only are the folks at Apple retarded, but so is everyone in the European Union. I'm going to draw a stick figure of Steve Jobs ass-raping a globe on a napkin, hopefully I can get that "Community Design" protected. GTFO.

36. kainy

Posts: 165; Member since: Aug 10, 2011

You obviously don't know about the European Union ... there are reasons for these patents. They have that sketches, they legally patented them, so they have the rights ... so they can sue the crap out of anybody except Microsoft ... that's it.

47. kainyisdumb unregistered

why don't you shut the F up- you sound f retarded who the F ask you anyway?

70. ph00ny

Posts: 2066; Member since: May 26, 2011

I don't think you understand the concept of community design. IIRC, these aren't like the real patent requests where review process is performed to confirm the validity of the patent ownership. For whatever the reason, Germany only requires a valid legal document to grant an injunction without a review process

5. chocolatebear76

Posts: 123; Member since: Mar 03, 2011

The whole reasons behind the so call lawsuit on here is rediculous,i was expecting a better and meaningful reason,this just shows apple is scared of competition as it looks more like she is unable to innovate. Apple should be ashame of her

81. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

That makes no sense at all... Apple actually has something called the ipad if u haven't heard of it which most people have accepted changed the tablet world. So funny how they actually made a great tablet before other companies but u say they aren't innovating...and it makes no sense that u wid say Apple is scared of competition when they obviously have the means as a business company to defeat others in business and legal battles...

115. LOL unregistered

Actually no, it DOES make sense. Apple is suing people right and left instead of bettering their mobile OS and their tablet. Will iOS 5 change the game? Not really. It's Gingerbread with an Apple skin just like Mac is Linux with an Apple skin. Apple just can't figure out how to innovate better and decides to sue to win marketshare in other countries. That truly is pathetic.

192. MATT unregistered

Except of course Apple upgrade the iPad and the OS with no competition at all. By all accounts they are working on additional upgrades but their is still no meaningful competition in the market place. What innovation does the tab 10.1 (v2 or v1) bring to the marketplace? How does copying help consumers?

193. Rasumusu

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

You´re totally right! Apple is starting to steel everything from android! and, they are gettin afraid of android, and all the cell (and pad) companies! soooo, they think to sue everyone will help... but there is one good thing about this! (?) I´ve heard alot of people say that they will change to android cause apple is getting evil! but I really hope Samsung wins the 25th cause I want to buy the Galaxy tab 10.1!!#

6. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Well, as if we needed another reason to think the EU is retarded. So Taco, maybe you're rethinking Apple's righteousness in this case?

15. rican

Posts: 132; Member since: Jul 02, 2011

Damn thats just too damn vague, how is this even justified. and no Sniggly hes prolly jerking it to the fact

24. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i am dying to see Taco's responce. Taco, Miz, and Gemini are probably getting together to come up with some of their usual BS. I thought the whole sketch thing was crap to begin with.. but now that we know more details its beyond crap. Thats the most petty and cheap move I think I've seen in quite a while. Quick ,someone find a drawing of an apple they did in gradeschool and sue Apple's logo right off of them!! lol

27. PeterIfromsweden

Posts: 1230; Member since: Aug 03, 2011

Yeah, lets get an apple drawing and sue apple for their logo : )

32. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

I think Apple is totally in the right to attack the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It's an obvious copycat product.

40. rican

Posts: 132; Member since: Jul 02, 2011

hows it copycat...PROOOOFFF NEEDED!!!!!

46. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Rican check this article for proof. The courts agree with Apple.

60. rican

Posts: 132; Member since: Jul 02, 2011

its a f**king sketch

42. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

So let's go over every one of the iPad 2's design characteristics: It's a slab. It's thin. It's light. It comes in black or white. It's dominated by a touchscreen. So is Apple the only company in the world allowed to use touchscreens in tablet PCs? No. Are they the only ones in the world allowed to make their products in black or white? No. Are they the only ones in the world allowed to make their products thin and light? No? Then how the f**k is the Galaxy Tab a "copycat" based on physical design alone?

45. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

The Galaxy Tab looks Exactly like the iPad and comes in the same damn colors.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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