The judgement will be something to read if I can find it. The reason is almost every headline says the Judge struck down the Apple vs Samsung suit claiming Samsung Galaxy Tab 10 infringing iPad design because Samsung is not ‘cool’.
Since the BBC put coolness on its headline on the story, it is safe to say that media outlet did not get it wrong. For both Apple and Samsung, it is bittersweet. Sweet for Apple because its design is “cool”, bitter for Apple because it did not win. Exactly the opposite for Samsung.
From a reasonable close distance, not only Samsung’s lawyers in the US, I also struggle to tell the two apart. However, on close up, if one’s initial impression is a Galaxy Tab 10 is a iPad quickly changed to suspicion that it might not be the case and if one spend about 1 minutes with it you will know it is not an iPad.
That is why I understand why the judge used ‘coolness’ as the deciding factor. It is true that the design is very similar, but one has to look at the totality of the design. This means both hardware and software must be considered. Taken together it is hard to find a case for infringement. Taken separately there is little if any infringement on software, but hardware is a potentially borderline case. For the latter, it has to do with difficulty to tell the two apart on close up. The reason for not considering the design from a close distance away is it is not unusual for computers and tablets look the same at a distance. I am not sure that on close up there is an infringement because a lot of design decisions are dictated by common sense and necessity. Necessity because one will use a camera the size of a pin hole and not the camera len used in handheld camera, on the side of the screen; Common sense because that camera must be place in the middle of one of the side. All tablets in going to be a touch screen surrounded by border with ports/connectors at the side. Ports and connectors are also standardized item. So the design is basically the choice of colour and artistics aspect of the design of the border and the location of connectors. Is iPad’s choice worthy of design protection? I do not know the answer.