UK High Court: Galaxy Tabs "not cool" enough to infringe on Apple design patents

Samsung nabbed another patent victory this week after the UK High Court ruled that the company's Galaxy Tab tablets do not infringe on patents held by Apple.

The ruling covers the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9, and Galaxy Tab 7.7.

According to a Samsung press release, the court found that Apple design features lacked "originality," with a variety of iPad features visible in tablet designs dating back at least a decade. That includes the 1994 Knight Ridder, the 2004 Ozolin, and the 2003 TC1000 from HP.

Making the ruling, Judge Birss QC said: "[Samsung's tablets] do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool."

The court also said the differences between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad were apparent to the naked eye, like the front surface design and thinness of the side profile.

"Samsung welcomes today's ruling by the High Court, which affirms Samsung's commitment to protect its own intellectual property rights while respecting those of other companies," the company said in a statement. "Samsung believes Apple's excessive legal claims based on such a generic design right can harm not only the industry's innovation as a whole, but also unduly limit consumer choice."

Last month, Samsung lost a bid to temporarily halt a ban on its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the US, which stemmed from a patent complaint from Apple.

The UK Galaxy Tab ruling comes shortly after the High Court of Justice in London found that four patents asserted by Apple against HTC are invalid and not infringed upon by HTC devices.

As patent blogger Florian Mueller noted at the time, it is often difficult to succeed on patent grounds in the High Court. "According to statistics, only about 15 per cent of all patent infringement claims brought in the UK result in a finding of a violation," Mueller wrote in a blog post.

Samsung also won some legal relief Stateside recently, with a US Federal Appeals Court lifting - temporarily at least - the pre-trial sale embargo imposed by District Judge Judge Lucy Koh on the Galaxy Nexus smartphone.