Apple is unlikely to convince German courts to block sales of Samsung’s newly-revised Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablet. That’s the opinion of one report, citing comments that the device “has moved sufficiently from the legally protected design.” In this instance, looks are everything and the South Korean company appears to have dodged a legal bullet using cosmetic sleight of hand.
The Galaxy 10.1N is a response from Apple’s September court victory in Germany, a judge ruling Samsung’s tablet gave consumers “a clear impression of similarity.” In reaction, Samsung quickly unveiled the 10.1N with a metal border and front speakers. The minor tweaks apparently were enough to satisfy a German court that the Galaxy Tab no longer could be confused with the iPad’s continuous glass edge.
Thursday’s comments by Dusseldorf-based Presiding Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman both signal an eventual ruling for Samsung as well as a potential courtroom strategy Samsung may use in another battle with Apple — this time in Australia. The Australian legal dispute centers on Apple’s argument that iPad sales could be hurt by the similar-looking Galaxy Tab 10.1. If the court upholds that claim, Samsung could quickly introduce the Galaxy 10.1N, thus reducing potential lost sales.
The trouble is such a ‘confused consumer’ allegation does not bolster Apple’s central charge that the Android operating system is a poor alternative to iOS. As we reported Wednesday, HTC — dealt a blow by the U.S. International Trade Commission — already has a fix for an offending portion of Android. The handset maker said the offending Apple patent involved a “small UI experience.”
For Apple to truly deal a blow against Android in the courtroom, it must find a core component of Google’s mobile operating system. While the more than 30 lawsuits between Apple and Samsung provide drama, the Cupertino, Calif. company is getting little bang for its legal bucks. Perhaps another tact should be followed in 2012?