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Apple's evidence may be flawed in European Samsung case

Pictures of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 submitted into evidence look more like the iPad than the actual Samsung device does

By Andreas Udo de Haes
August 15, 2011 11:18 AM ET

(COMPUTERWORLD NETHERLANDS) -- Apple and its lawyers have, perhaps inadvertently, misled the judge of a Düsseldorf court by filing flawed evidence of the similarity between the iPad 2 and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets based on an inaccurate picture, an investigation by Webwereld.nl, a Dutch IDG publication, has found.

But it appears that Apple has failed to provide the German judge with accurate evidence. At least one of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 pictures that Apple provided as evidence in the German case is either wrong or manipulated.

Photographic evidence submitted by Apple, found on page 28 of the German complaint, shows two pictures: the iPad 2 and the alleged Galaxy Tab 10.1, accompanied by Apple's claim that the "overall appearance" of two products is "practically identical."

Image from lawsuit filing
This image is from the lawsuit. The German text reads: "The overall appearance of the two products shown above is almost identical, because the Galaxy Tab 10.1 copies all distinctive elements of equipment of the iPad 2."

But the picture Apple submitted of the Tab is inaccurate and does not match the real Galaxy Tab 10.1, Webwereld discovered. Further investigations have verified this assessment. The Galaxy Tab due on the European market is taller and more oblong than the iPad 2. However, the shape of what Apple claims to be a Tab 10.1 resembles the iPad very closely.

The picture of the alleged Galaxy Tab provided by Apple is cropped and its aspect ratio is distorted. According to Samsung, the Tab measures 256.7 x 175.3 millimeters, which translates to an aspect ratio of 1.46. The Tab pictured in the complaint however has an aspect ratio of 1.36. The bottom is about 8% wider than the actual one.

As a result, the aspect ratio of the purported Tab is actually closer to the aspect ratio of the iPad 2, which is 1.30. In short: the shape of the alleged Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Apple's complaint matches the iPad 2 more closely than it matches the actual Tab.

Apple evidence
A comparison showing the aspect ratios of the Apple iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Arnout Groen, a lawyer with the Dutch firm Klos Morel Vos & Schaap, specialized in intellectual property rights litigation, is baffled. "This is a blunder. That such a 'mistake' is made in a case about design rights can scarcely be a coincidence. ... The aspect ratio of the alleged Galaxy Tab is clearly distorted to match the iPad more closely. Inasmuch as this faux pas will have consequences for the case is of course up to the judge. But at least a reprimand by the German judge seems to be in order."

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