Apple vs Samsung

US technology giant Apple has lost its court battle against competitor Samsung. But with even the judge describing Apple’s tablet as “cooler” than that of its rival, it looks as if the American firm still has the upper hand with consumers.

A judgement, published by the British High Court, found that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab range was not an unlawful copy of the iPad’s minimalist design.

Apple launched the law suit against its Korean rival last year, saying that the Galaxy tab “slavishly copies” its own design.

But those claims were rejected. However, there was some consolation for Apple after a judge ruled Samsung’s designs were “not as cool” as the iPad. 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. The overall impression is different.”

The judge found there were two main differences between Samsung’s tablets and Apple’s. Firstly, he said Galaxy tabs were significantly thinner than Apple’s designs, which he described as “about twice as thick as any of the Galaxy Tabs”.

And secondly, he said the detailing on the back of Samsung’s tablets distinguished them as unusual in the tablet market.

The judge said he was initially struck by how similar the Samsung products were to Apple’s designs because they had the same kind of front screen. But he added that “informed users” would be able to spot the difference.

But Apple said it was “no coincidence” that Samsung’s latest products looked like the iPhone and iPad, adding: “This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

Apple still has outstanding claims against Samsung in courts in America and Germany.

The ongoing legal action comes as the two computer giants go head to head in the battle for consumers with their two latest products.

Released in March, the new Apple iPad3 has a better retina display than its predecessors, meaning you get clearer resolution on your screen whether you’re watching a movie or reading a magazine. iPad3’s camera and mobile broadband capabilities are also improved compared to iPad2.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab2 came out a month later, a delay in its release date because it still needed some technological tweaking. Slim and light, the Tab2 comes in a choice of either 7” or 10.1” LCD screen.

While the American court dispute rumbles on, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is under a temporary sales ban in the US. But ultimately, the battle between the two tablets is likely to be for technology-savvy customers to decide. So far, Apple is winning the sales battle and, according to the judge’s comments, the fight to be the coolest.