Tuesday, 19 April 2011 12:15

Apple to Samsung: Galaxy infringes iPhone, iPad patents and trademarks


The Galaxy Tab is one of the best received tablets after the iPad. Is that partly due to its strong resemblance to Apple's tablet? The Cupertino company thinks the resemblance is too strong, and is taking Samsung to court over the matter.

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Samsung, alleging that the Korean company's Galaxy and other models infringe various Apple patents and trademarks.

Apple has reportedly alleged that Samsung's Galaxy models copy the trade dress of the iPhone and iPad as well as specific design patents and trademarks covering certain icons.

A US government web site defines trade dress as "The totality of elements in which a product or service is packaged or presented, such as the shape and appearance of a product or container, or the cover of a book or magazine. These elements combine to create a visual image presented to customers and are capable of acquiring exclusive legal rights as a type of trademark or identifying symbol of origin."

The overall appearance of some of Samsung's devices certainly bear strong resemblance to Apple products in the iPhone and iPad families.

Some commentators are making much of the fact that Samsung is a major component supplier to Apple, and are suggesting that the legal action is as much about getting a better deal from Samsung as it is to prevent the sale of what Apple sees as 'copycat' products.

Legal action isn't all going Apple's way at present - see page 2.

In related news, Apple suffered a setback in its case against HTC and Nokia in which it alleged patent infringement. US International Trade Commission staff have recommended that neither company should be held to have infringed Apple's patents.

The ITC is able to prohibit the import of products that are held to infringe patents or trademarks. Given that most electronic devices are now manufactured outside the US, this tactic can be used by companies based outside the US against American businesses.

Indeed, HTC has taken a complaint against Apple to the ITC. The hearing is expected to begin next month.




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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.




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