Apple’s attempts to bring the legal hammer down on Samsung’s head have not been in vain: A German court has ruled that the Samsung Galaxy tab 10.1 cannot be sold in Germany. Apple filed lawsuits against Samsung, claiming that the user interface of their Galaxy Tab tablet is a direct ripoff of their own iOS interface that’s used on the iPad (and Samsung defended themselves by trying to make it sound like that’s the only kind of interface one can use for a tablet). Samsung still has an opportunity to appeal, however.
Originally, the German ruling blocked sales of the Galaxy Tab throughout the European Union (save for the Netherlands), but the ban was lifted on August 16th to allow sales except in Germany. Apple would have also liked to have seen sales for the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and all Galaxy Tab models blocked in Japan (and let’s face it: Everywhere else if they had their way), but a ruling has not been handed down yet, as the suit was only filed recently. Apple’s also halted sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, pending a court decision about whether or not intellectual property was really violated.
This story, for me, brings to mind a comment from Tom Reestman as quoted on Daring Fireball:
It gets old seeing companies copy Apple so fully, and then claim they had no choice because there’s no other way to make whatever it is they’re making.
This is a very, very important quote that focuses a view on the industry’s attitude about ideas, how they’re used and — most importantly — how one defines “innovation”. With all the talk that Samsung has spouted about innovation, the front end of their forerunner tablet product is so similar to the iPad that it’d be hard to tell the difference if you were wearing the wrong prescription glasses. While we’ve all seen enough petty and nit-picky patent disputes to last us a lifetime, I commend Apple (and anyone else) who knows when to point a finger and say “There’s nothing ‘innovative’ about that.”