Stretching the truth
Apple's initial victory over Samsung regarding the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet was a highly significant moment, and an emotive one too if the number of comments on our report are anything to go by. But an investigation by Dutch site webwereld suggests some of the images Apple used to make its case in the German courts have been altered.
Our Dutch not being up to scratch we're grateful to Computerworld for an English interpretation of the story. It points to photographic evidence submitted by Apple on 4 August on page 28 of the document embedded below. The photos claim to show an iPad 2 and a Galaxy Tab 10.1 next to each other, in order to demonstrate how similar they are.
10-08-04 Apple Motion for EU-Wide Prel Inj Galaxy Tab 10.1
It can't be denied that, with the exception of more rounded corners and the absence of the button, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 looks pretty similar to the iPad 2 - it's even the same size! But there's just one problem with those photos, according to the report - they've been doctored.
Or more precisely the Galaxy Tab one has. Check out the image below from the original report. It shows the photos used as evidence, which give the Galaxy Tab 10.1 an aspect ratio (length/width) of 1.36. In reality, however, the Samsung tablet is narrower, with an aspect ratio of 1.46. In other words, the image submitted by Apple appears to have been manipulated.
If the judge is made aware of this we imagine they're going to be pretty unimpressed with Apple's tactics. Computerworld got the following quote from a Dutch IP litigation lawyer:
"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."
They also spoke to the currently ubiquitous Florian Muller of FOSS Patents, who thinks this could damage Apple's case even if it was inadvertent. "But even if the picture they presented was merely obsolete as opposed to forged, this could raise the prospects of a reversal of fortunes at the August 25 hearing in the Düsseldorf district court," he said.
Apple's case hinges on proving the similarities between its own products and Samsung's. If it has to resort to doctoring images or using obsolete ones in order to prove this, it implies the similarities are not as great as claimed.