Where Does it Stop? Apple Wants German Court to Block Motorola Xoom Too

by: LucianAugust 10, 2011

Just a few days ago we found out that Apple not only blocked the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from launching in Australia, but it also did it in Europe, when a German Court decided to give them the injunction over Samsung’s tablet. If you thought that’s bad, it’s getting worse. Apple now wants the German Court to block the imports of Motorola’s Xoom to Europe as well.


Where does it stop?

I think the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was different enough compared to iPad 2, and I think the Xoom is even more different than iPad 2 in both look and feel, and of course software. If you want to compete in the same space as another company making a type of product, you have to make it somewhat similar, so customers can at least identify it as being the same type of product.

You can’t make a product 100% original, and still compete in the same space as someone else. That’s not how it works in the real business world. When you’re product is actually 100% original, and has no resemblance at all to another product, then you’re not competing in the same space and market anymore. You’ve invented a new type of product, and you’re not a “competitor” to that company anymore.

The sad thing is, patent law doesn’t account for all that. The way the current patent law works is that if you have your product 99% original, and 1% is similar to a concept that someone else has patented, he’s in the right to sue you, even if you didn’t “copy” his product’s feature per se, but you made it similar enough.

Because tablets are more or less the same, and the iPad is the most popular tablet by far in the history of tablets, Apple thinks they can start blocking out most or all of the other tablets from the market, and it appears some Courts, especially the ones outside USA, are starting to agree with them, probably because the way the patent system works there, which isn’t that much different from the one in USA.

Who’s next?

What happens if they manage to block the imports of Motorola Xoom, as well? One of the most popular Android tablets so far, if not the most popular, has been the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. I don’t think they care as much about how “similar” a tablet actually is to the iPad, but about how successful it’s about to become.

They don’t care about a complete clone from China, but they do care about the ones from some of the most successful Android manufacturers. And I believe Asus will be either #2 or #1 manufacturer to make the best Android tablets in the future. They seem to be quite innovative in this space, and I actually think the future “tablets” that will get to replace our notebooks, will be tablets that come with a keyboard dock, so you can transform them into a notebook, the same way the Asus Eee Pad Transformer works.

Apple is being anti-competitive

Even if the law allows them to do it, and the judges agree to it, I think ultimately Apple is being anti-competitive here, and they are abusing an already very broken patent system. They are  trying to take out their competitors in Court, rather than in the market. They are depriving potentially millions of customers from getting these products. Do they really think that if they do this, they will just buy an iPad instead? Sure, some might, the ones who probably didn’t know about the Galaxy Tab 10.1, or Motorola Xoom in the first place, but even so, they are taking away choices from them. Plus, whoever actually wanted one of these tablets, will get even angrier with Apple for doing this, and will not even consider other products of theirs in the future.

I don’t think this will ultimately hurt either Samsung or Motorola. They will adapt to this new situation, and try to make their tablets as different as possible in the future. But what it does do, is put Apple in an even more negative light for more and more people.

  • I live in the USA, but I will NEVER EVER BUY an iPad! If I get a tablet anytime in the near future (in the next six months) it won’t be an apple product! It will be an Acer probably.

  • Graham

    My girlfiend has been hassling me to buy an ipad for months now. i’ve refused because there are so many interesting android options coming soon or already here, the deal was if the android devices were not as good as an ipad we’d buy an ipad.

    Now Apple is taking away our options leaving us with buying an ipad or devices that are worse than it, will i give in and buy an ipad? you bet not!

    I mean I was willing to buy an ipad if it was a good device for a reasonable price but after the repeated actions by apple to remove what are new and innovative products i wont’ buy one on principal.

    When your business model is challenged you need to adapt not sue people that innovate. Didn’t work in the past, don’t se it working now

  • Kpurdu1

    I agree with the writer on pretty much everything he said. I just bought a galaxy tab 10.1 a few weeks ago but gave hard consideration to getting an ipad instead even though i have an android smartphone already. I like Android and the ability to customize and the ability to have a choice between devices and manufacturers, which is ultimately what kept me on Android. That said apple does make great products but their closed ecosystem and this no competition allowed Nonsense is a big turn off for me. Now that they are trying to sue everyone for making a tablet device it actually makes me dislike them to the point where i dont think i could ever buy an Apple product EVER.

  • Sara Nelson

    This was a great article.

    Honestly, I dislike Apple products. Sure they “work” great, but at what cost? The cost of freedom, of individuality, and customization. It sickens me to think that a company with more money than the US government, that makes 55% of its revenues of the iPhone, and that basically got patents on things like wheels on cars is trying to monopolize and stifle innovation through clever use of the courts.

    I say down with Apple. Let the regulatory agencies hold them accountable for their transgressions. I will NEVER buy an Apple product. Shame on them.

    There are so many innovative Android tablets out right now, or in the process of coming out, that I think it’s impossible to stop them all.

  • My thoughts exactly. It’s a real shame because it takes choice away from consumers. Apple are trying to catch up from not hammering Samsung when the Galaxy S was first released.
    This is winding me up so much that I am using the #FreeTheGalaxyTab hash tag: http://www.androidgenus.com/?p=242

    Nice article….wish I’d thought of some of those points for my article!

  • AppleFUD

    Someone posted a link to a youtube video with one of these articles, can’t find the video now. However, the video was about a group in Boulder, Colorado that was developing a way to make newspapers digital. It was a news story aired on TV back in 1994 and if you can find it, you will see they have a device that looks like a iPad. . . just a little bigger without a capacitive touch screen. Not to mention companies like Archos that have been making these types of devices for years.

    There just isn’t anything really unique about the iPad, but they have been able to convince patent offices otherwise thus courts are going along with this BS.

    What’s amazing is that the companies being attacked can’t show that everything about the iPad is a copy from something else when commenters are linking to prior art all over the place. . .

    However, Samsung does seem to have copied much of the iPad’s trade dress and I think this is where they are getting slapped as the current issue is NOT about hardware/software patents. Seriously, there is no need to make the packaging even remotely similar.

  • TheBlacKCat

    Where does it stop? It doesn’t, not until Apple has either forced everyone else out of the market, its patents are either invalidated or ruled inapplicable, or other companies use their own patents to make Apple stop. Apple isn’t going to be satisfied by this, they are going to be encouraged to go after other competitors.

  • Jon Garrett

    my wife and I have an iPhone 4 but we also have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Im getting the LG Optimus 3D when it comes out later this month.

    our contracts on our iPhone’s expire next year and there is no way in hell we will buy an iPhone 5 or any other product from apple.

  • Anonymous

    I have an Ipad and a Xoom. I got my Ipad from my dad. When the Xoom came out I did the leg work and also my bud let me test drive hers before I bought one of my own.And let me tell you I use my Xoom alot more than the Ipad.I affectionately call my apple maxi pad aka the paper weight.I simply LOVE my XOOM and apple needs to quit their bytching and get over the fact that android devices are superior.Hey apple get flash compatibility then maybe you’d be worth the money it takes to buy your products.And hey federal government abolish the patent system altogether.And maybe the worlds courts systems wouldn’t be forced to put up with cupertino’s temper tantrums.

  • Personally, I think the future of mobile computing device is a tablet-notebook hybrid like the asus transformer. I have essentially replaced my laptop with it. Working as an on site engineer, I have to frequently refer to document references. Other guys carry around large folders and astm and aci very thick books. I just use the tablet part of my transformer to look up references in the pdf files. What’s more, I use the adonit jot to hand write notes into the pdf files. Other guys carry around their laptops to write reports and create presentations. I just plug my transformer tablet into the keyboard dock. Other guys always have to plug in their laptops every chance they get because laptop batteries don’t last too long. I can go through the whole day without even thinking about recharging the transformer. And for fun and games, they’d take out their ipad 2. I just use the transformer.

    The point is the transformer really is a universal device, or at least very close to it. I really don’t understand why people would spend $500+ on the ipad 2 and then only use that for fun and games. To me, that’s a waste of money. The transformer along with the dock are infinitely better if you want a fun and game device that’s also productive when you need it to be.

    Too bad apple has already convinced the public at large that the tablet platform is not for productivity. This is why my colleagues still can’t understand why I would use my tablet at work. They can’t imagine a tablet being anything other than fun and game.

  • Someguy

    Screw you Apple! I used to have a 8gig Ipod Touch then a 8gig Iphone 3g and then a 32gig Iphone 3gs and then a 16gig Iphone 4, i had sold/traded all of them each time i upgraded until i then got my first android, the Nexus One which was amazing and loved it. I then got a Samsung Galaxy S 16gig and love it too and will never go back to Apple. Especially now hearing this, i will never buy another apple product again, not even a damn Ipod! I hope that Samsung will make a new tablet with a AMOLED screen though :)

  • starfury1

    hello Dave, what are you doing dave? Im buying an android, I cant let you do that dave, But Hal… i really want an android i dont want to be beholden to the all powerful apple, im sorry dave… That is not allowed….