Apple loses in Samsung tablet case

Samsung's Galaxy tablet computer is not "cool" enough to be confused with Apple's iPad, a judge has ruled.

The American electronics giant had argued the Samsung Galaxy Tab was too similar to their own product, but the claim was dismissed on Monday at London's High Court.

Judge Colin Birss QC said: "They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool."

He said consumers were not likely to get the two tablet computers mixed up and ruled the Samsung tablets do not infringe Apple's registered design.

The judge said that while the Tab and iPad look similar from the front, he noted differences in the thickness and details on the backs of the devices. He said he had questioned if those two differences were enough to overcome the similarity of the front of the devices and the overall shape of them.

Apple had argued that the front face and overall shape were the most important factors because the informed user would spend the most time looking at the front and holding it. The judge said he did regard the overall shape as very significant but said there there was a very obvious visual similarity at the front.

He said: "However, to the informed user (which at that stage I was not) these screens do not stand out to anything like the same extent. The front view of the Apple design takes its place amongst its kindred prior art."

Apple has been given 21 days to appeal against the decision.

A spokeswoman for Samsung welcomed the ruling and accused Apple of "excessive legal claims".

An Apple spokesman said he would not comment specifically on today's ruling but reiterated the company's earlier claims against Samsung: "It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging."