The patent blame game continues as Samsung Galaxy tab 7.7 faces an EU ban. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, running on an Android OS and has a 7.7” Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) display. All this investment by Samsung into this tablet is impractical now that German Appeals Court has finally banned it from being distributed in the European Union. The tablet is part of the many smartphones and mobile devices made by Samsung that are being subject to lawsuits by rival Apple Inc.
Back in September, 2011 Apple Inc. succeeded in stopping Samsung from promoting Galaxy Tab 7.7 at the annual IFA electronics show claiming a design patent infringement. The product was displayed but not sold. Samsung counter-sued Apple stating an infringement on their wireless patents. Both companies have since then been in litigation over the design of Galaxy Tab 7.7 which Apple claims resembles iPad. The lower courts in Germany ruled against Samsung agreeing with Apple’s claim. Samsung sent in an appeal. On Tuesday the Appeals Court confirmed the lower court’s ruling and ruled against Samsung adding that Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be banned in the European Union, not just Germany.
Apple Inc. has been fighting patent litigations all over the world and also filed a similar case in United Kingdom which was decided a week earlier. Amazingly, the judge ruled that Samsung’s design was not ‘cool’ enough and it did not have the ‘extreme simplicity’ and the ‘understated’ feel of the Apple design. The judge ruled in favour of Samsung saying that the designs were different. United Kingdom is part of the European Union and the rulings have a clash.
Samsung is not happy with the German Appeals Court’s rulings and said that it will take all measures to make Galaxy Tab 7.7 available for its consumers in the EU market. They also believe that suing anyone and everyone for ‘generic design patents’ will ‘restrict’ innovation and progress. Apple has not commented so far.
Apple and Samsung are also scheduled to go into California Federal Court on July 30th to resolve the issues of patent violations. Although both companies have tried to settle the matter out of court twice but it seems like court is the only answer to their problem. Among other problems of patents is a cropping up issue of valuation of patents that are licensed for use to competitors. Apple is one of the largest component customers of Samsung and the litigations have created a sticky situation to deal with and rendered the case a high profile rating.
Tussling in nearly every major city, Apple has claimed a settlement amount of $2.525 billion in damages. This covers the damages not only for Galaxy Tab 7.7, but also for other smartphones and mobile devices that are in patent cases. Apple believes Samsung has taken a ride on the glory and fame of Apple devices and Apple deserves retribution. Samsung replied by accusing the company of trying ‘to stifle legitimate competition and limit consumer choice to maintain it historically exorbitant profits’.
What we think?
Samsung will tweak Galaxy Tab 7.7 like it did Tab 10.1 to market it in the European Union. German Appeals Court allowed Galaxy Tab 10.1N. The only changes made to the model were ‘relocation’ of the speaker and a change in the frame. Apple Inc. fails to realize that Steve Jobs made an empire out of hard work not by litigating on design patents. If the U.S. trial turns in favour of Apple, we might see cheaper Apple products since Apple is contesting for lower licensing rates for patented technology to be used as industry standard.