Galaxy tablets didn’t copy Apple’s design, Dutch court rules


Apple isn’t having as much litigation success in Europe as it’s had over in the United States, where the jury hit Samsung with a massive $1.05 billion fine in the high-stake Apple v. Samsung trial. Courts in The Netherlands, for example, aren’t nearly as sympathetic to Apple’s infringement claims.

To refresh your memory, Apple has been claiming that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets infringe upon its design patents for the iPad. However, it’s been reported this morning that a Dutch court upon closer examination of Apple’s claims has ruled that the Galaxy tablets do not infringe an the iPad design. Interestingly enough, the ruling mentions previous decisions in British courts…

Reuters has the story:

Wednesday’s ruling by a district court in The Hague concerned the rounded corners of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9, and Galaxy Tab 7.7.

Samsung said this in a written statement:

We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners and that the origins of Apple’s registered design features can be found in numerous examples.

Apple representatives wouldn’t comment on the outcome, though we have no doubt in our mind that Sewell & Co. will be objecting to the ruling.

According to data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and published last Thursday by IFI Claims, Apple was granted a total of 1,135 patents in 2012 for the 21st place among all of the observed companies worldwide, a 68 percent increase versus 2011 when the company ranked 39th with 676 patents.

Rival Samsung, however, was awarded four times the Apple filings, or an astounding 5,081 patents, enough to secure the #2 spot and second only to IBM.

Rivals have sought to invalidate some of Apple’s prized iPhone patents, including the popular rubber-band scrolling and touch screen heuristics inventions that USPTO preliminarily invalidated recently until the disputes are resolved.

Whichever way you look at it, the rounded-corner rectangle design shouldn’t really be patentable, now should it?