For Samsung, a mini-victory was won yesterday as Judge Koh decided to exclude the Galaxy S, Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Ace from the Apple-Samsung trial on the basis that these phones weren't offered for direct sale in the United States by Samsung or any of Samsung's subsidiaries. Since the trial only covered devices sold in the U.S, the burden of proof was on Apple to argue why they should have been included in the first place.
The exclusion is significant since the Galaxy S, Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Ace were the three devices that had a single hardware button, similar to the iPhone's, centered at the bottom from the front bezel. Appler now has to prove its case against devices that all have four capacitive buttons on the front bezel, and even a model which has a hardware keyboard.
It's likely that Apple knew the devices would end up being excluded, so this decision is not a big surprise. But it still may confuse the jury a bit and weaken Apple's case against Samsung now that the best-selling Samsung Galaxy models have been excluded from the trial.
Trade dress – in this case, the uniquely branded design of the phone – is one of the elements over which Apple is suing Samsung, arguing that the average potential customer wouldn't have been able to tell the difference between a Samsung Galaxy S and an iPhone in a carrier shop. But excluding three phones that have a similar button layout to the iPhone won't help Samsung fight Apple's other trade dress charges, including those leveled at the way their phones scroll and the design of the icons on their homescreens.
There are still 20 remaining Samsung models which will be shown to the jury, so the loss of these three may or may not have SUCH a big affect on the trial, but you better believe Apple isn't happy about this decision.
Top photo: Engadget