updated 09:40 am EDT, Tue May 24, 2011
Apple order brings new Samsung gear into lawsuit
Apple in a filing late last week (below) is now known to have brought Samsung's latest devices into its lawsuit against design copying. An expedited but limited discovery order will let its attorneys look at all of the devices that Samsung is just now putting into the market, including the Galaxy S II, Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, the Infuse 4G, and the Droid Charge. Lawyers wanted to gauge whether or not these too infringed on Apple's patent or trade dress claims and argued that comparisons were already being made between the S II and the iPhone 4 as well as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the iPad 2.
Judge Lucy Koh was inclined to side with Apple that there was a "reasonable basis" to inquire whether Samsung was designing hardware to look like the iOS devices. Apple gave a particularly condemning example when Samsung mobile VP Lee Don-Joo signaled that Samsung would change the Tab 10.1 design to beat Apple on thinness and, just three weeks after the iPad 2 was unveiled, had a tablet design just slightly thinner where its original model, shown just over two weeks before the iPad 2, was thicker.
Samsung had tried to object on the grounds that some of its products hadn't been released at the time of the original notice of an intent for the order, on April 20. Judge Koh dismissed this as all of the products had already been given official public appearances, including in person. She added that Samsung had even given out 5,000 Galaxy Tab 10.1 Limited Edition models at Google I/O on May 10, leaving members of the regular public with the final design in their hands.
The ruling gave Samsung a minor concession in saving Samsung executives from having to provide depositions on the devices, saying it would be "unduly burdensome" to have them cover so many topics with relatively little warning.
Apple's win may compound Samsung's troubles in the case. Although there are conspicuous differences, Samsung's device lineup has had design traits not seen on other Android phones that are conspicuously like that of the iPhone, including a large central home button and icons on the Samsung-specific TouchWiz interface that are only slightly different than their Apple equivalents. [via Courthouse News Serivce]
Galaxy S II