Galaxy Tab isn’t cool, says judge

It’s not often that a manufacturer breathes a sign of relief on being told its products are uncool. But that’s what happened to Samsung yesterday in the UK.

High Court judge Colin Birss ruled that the Galaxy Tab 10 couldn’t be confused with Apple’s iPad, and that there was no justification for an import ban. “They are not as cool,” he said. “The overall impression produced is different.”

Birss cited the thinness of the Samsung design – ‘almost insubstantial’ – and said it lacked the iPad’s understatement and simplicity. The Samsung tablet also had more detailing on the back. Users wouldn’t confuse the two devices, he concluded.

Samsung’s welcomed the decision, calling Apple’s legal claims ‘excessive’, and saying that asserting them elsewhere, as Apple has been doing, will hamper innovation and user choice.

Apple has three weeks to appeal.

It’s the second blow for Apple in the British courts in less than a week. Last Thursday, a judge there ruled that its slide-to-unlock patent was obvious, given a similar feature in a Swedish phone released back in 2004.

And, in the US on Friday, an appeals court lifted a ban on sales of the Galaxy Nexus smartphone – although sales of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet remain on hold until a full trial begins on July 30.

Here, Apple’s going after as many Samsung products as possible, with 19 devices claimed to infringe design patents, although some of these claims may still be dropped.