Oct 14th, 2011

On the same day an Australian court enforced a preliminary ban of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1,  Samsung and Apple met before US District Judge Lucy Koh to battle over a similar lawsuit. While a large part of the case is focused on accusations of Samsung blatantly copying Apple’s product designs, Judge Koh has expressed concern with the validity of the patents the Galaxy Tab is said to infringe upon.

We know from court documents that Samsung intended to raise questions about the legality of Apple’s patents by introducing as evidence a series of references to tablet-like computers in media and popular culture dating all the way back to the 1960s sci-fi class 2001: A Space Odyssey. They point to a clip in which two astronauts use tablets which resemble the Apple iPad:

Samsung hopes to establish the idea that the design that Apple has patented is not a new concept, and is rather a generic concept that existed long before the iPad hit shelves.

A report from Reuters indicates that Judge Koh is at least considering the argument, though she does not deny the similarities between Samsung and Apple’s competing products. During the hearing, Koh held both the iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1 above her head and asked Samsung attorney Kathleen Sullivan to identify which was tablet was made by the company she represented. Sullivan was unable to distinguish between the two from a distance. Turning to the rest of Samsung’s legal team, one lawyer was able to correctly identify the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

At this point no final decision has been made, but Koh already stated that she would not rule in favor of a ban on at least one “utility” patent. Her final decision will be based around three design patents.


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