As expected, Samsung has decided to fight back against Apple’s preliminary injunction to ban sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 across the European Union (excluding the Netherlands). On August 25, the rumble continues, as Samsung will go to court in Dusseldorf, Germany to appeal the court’s decision, reports the Wall Street Journal.
It’s been a long and bloody fight so far, with both sides losing quite a bit of ground. In Samsung’s case, the European injunction is by far the greatest setback. But the GalTab has also been put on hold in Australia, with decisions pending here in the U.S. That’s a pretty big hunk of the global market to lose, and if these preliminary import bans become permanent ones, it could change the tablet game considerably.
The GalTab is widely regarded as the strongest competitor to the iPad, and Apple’s widespread control of the tablet market is certainly threatened by this new Samsung slate. But what’s worse is that Apple’s reputation is also at stake. While there are innumerable complexities to consider going into these patent brawls, the majority of the general public doesn’t really have access to the nitty gritty details of the court proceedings (details on the trade-dress violations, the in’s and out’s of this extremely complex legal process across multiple court systems, etc.).
I whole-heartedly believe that Apple has every right to defend its trade dress, and I also believe that some of Samsung’s new products (the GalTab 10.1 and Galaxy S II smartphone, included) very closely resemble the look and feel that Apple has spent so much time establishing. The appearance of Apple products is just as important as what they do, and Apple knows this.
At the same time, Apple tends to overreach. Once the complaints start moving into the software arena, things get really blurry. Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7 all share quite a few different features, yet the patents related to software are so general and broad that it hardly seems fair. Every time Apple pushes hard against Android, whether it be with Samsung’s smartphones or HTC’s, Apple ends up looking entitled and desperate to premptively squash competition.
In any case, we’re the ones with the most to lose. Apple and Samsung will both survive this fight, albeit with a few bumps and bruises. But end-users are getting screwed out of fun new toys, and that’s what hurts the most.