Apple-Samsung Patent Battle: Apple’s Totally Winning

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Read more about the life and legacy of Steve Jobs in the tribute book from TIME—Steve Jobs: The Genius Who Changed Our World

Samsung’s not getting much love from the courts as it tries to defend against Apple’s patent infringement claims.

In the United States, District Judge Lucy Koh repeatedly mentioned the visual similarities between Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Apple’s iPad. In one instance, reported by Reuters, she held up both tablets side-by-side, and challenged Samsung’s attorneys to tell them apart. One Samsung attorney, standing 10 feet away, said she couldn’t tell the difference at that distance. Another Samsung lawyer picked the correct answer a moment later.

(MORE: Apple Sues Samsung, Samsung Vows to Counter)

Koh is now considering whether to ban Samsung’s tablets from the U.S. market for the duration of the patent infringement trial. Fortunately for Samsung, Koh made a “tentative” decision not to ban the Tab based on Apple’s “utility” patents, but she may still allow an injunction based on the similar designs. Apple will have to establish the validity of its design patents if it wants the Galaxy Tab 10.1 removed from store shelves.

Overseas, Samsung’s luck has been worse. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has already been banned in Australia and Germany. In the Netherlands, Samsung’s attempt to strike back and gain leverage with an infringement claim on the 3G patents used in the iPhone and 3G iPad was denied. The ruling could, in turn, affect similar claims that Samsung has made in France and Italy. Samsung has been talking about launching a stronger offensive against Apple’s newest iPhone, but so far the company’s not getting much traction.

My non-legal mind continues to think that if Samsung’s getting busted for making a tablet that looks like the iPad, then all non-iPad tablet makers should be under scrutiny. But I also think the competition is healthy and good for consumers. So whatever happens to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, I hope Samsung can move on and keep making tablets. Some of them look pretty cool.

LIST: Eight New Tablets and Ultrabooks You Should Know About

Read more about the life and legacy of Steve Jobs in the tribute book from TIME—Steve Jobs: The Genius Who Changed Our World

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