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Chinese Company Rips Off iPad Mini and Its Tagline

Chinese Company Rips Off iPad Mini and Its Tagline

Today in international tech news: China's notorious Apple cloner "Goophone" prepares to launch its "GooPad mini," an Irish ISP blocks -- then unblocks -- The Pirate Bay, a Dutch court says Samsung didn't lift Apple's patent, and Microsoft goes deeper into the EU doghouse.

By David Vranicar
10/25/12 9:08 AM PT

Goophone, a Chinese company best known for cloning Apple products, will release its iPad mini doppelganger in November.

According to GizmoChina, the "GooPad mini," which already appears on posters, will sell for US$99, while Apple's iPad mini will cost $329 but won't be sold right away in China.

Goophone has even taken the liberty of ripping off Apple's "Every inch an iPad" tagline: "Every inch a GooPad mini."

According to The Register, Goophone is not at all running from potential legal battles with Apple. In fact, after launching its "Goophone i5," a replica of the iPhone 5, Goophone issued a public warning that it had patented the design in China and would sue anyone trying to sell it in the country. Apple is likely to launch the iPhone 5 in China by the end of the year.

Irish ISP Blocks, Then Unblocks, Pirate Bay

Making like a politician, Irish Internet service provider UPC appears to have flip-flopped.

According to the BBC, UPC users who tried to access file-sharing site The Pirate Bay earlier this week got a notice that the site had been blocked per a court order from the Irish Recorded Music Association, or Irma. That notice, however, has since been taken down, and UPC has confirmed that the court order in question doesn't actually exist.

UPC claims the mix-up resulted from routine network testing, and that it is not planning to block The Pirate Bay.

According to the BBC, UPC fought and won a court case against Irma in 2010, refusing to implement a so-called "three strikes" policy that would have required the ISP to send letters to illegal downloaders threatening to disconnect their Internet access.

Pirate Bay patrons in Europe might be extra wary about access to the site. Earlier this week, a copyright-protection organization in the UK asked the nation's major ISPs to block a trio of highly trafficked file-sharing sites. That comes after the UK's April decision -- and the Netherlands' May decision -- to block The Pirate Bay. Then, earlier this month, The Pirate Bay mysteriously went offline for two days.

Last week, The Pirate Bay announced it was ditching physical servers and would instead operate in the cloud.

Dutch Court Sides With Samsung

A court in the Netherlands ruled that Samsung is not infringing upon Apple's multitouch function, which allows users to use two fingers simultaneously on a touch screen.

According to Reuters, Apple contended that some of Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and tablets utilized Apple-patented technology Visit the VMware Tech Center. Apple lost an injunction on this patent in the Netherlands last year.

The Netherlands is one of a handful of countries -- at least 10 -- where Apple and Samsung have been waging patent disputes.

Apple had made similar claims about this patent -- also unsuccessfully -- against HTC Corp (in Britain) and Motorola Mobility (in Germany).

Microsoft Goes Deeper Into EU Doghouse

Regulators in Europe charged Microsoft with an antitrust violation for failing to carry out a 2009 agreement to offer Windows users equal access to rival Web browsers.

According to The New York Times, the decision might mean big fines for Microsoft, which has already had to pay its share of penalties to the EU.

Europe's top antitrust regulator has long told Microsoft that it must equip European versions of its next operating systems, Windows 8, with rival browsers. After failing to do so, Microsoft issued an official apology in July, vowing to rectify the browser problem.

It didn't, however, and in the process became the first company that -- faced with European antitrust penalties -- failed to fulfill the terms of a settlement, which according to European law would have allowed the company to avoid fines.

The Times says that Wednesday's action against Microsoft is tantamount to a warning to Google, which is currently negotiating a settlement with the European Commission to allay EC concerns about its market dominance.


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.


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