Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned from sale in Germany

A German court says Samsung violated Apple's patents by making its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet too similar in appearance to the Apple iPad.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been blocked from sale in Germany following a key court ruling against the company.

A German court today banned the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in its country, arguing that the device infringed Apple patents. According to the AFP, which first reported on the story, judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffmann said that there is a "clear impression of similarity" between the iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1.

As one might expect, Samsung is not pleased with the court's decision. In an e-mailed statement to CNET, the company said that it believes the ruling is bad for German consumers.

"We are disappointed with this ruling and believe it severely limits consumer choice in Germany," the company told CNET. "We also believe that by imposing an injunction based on this very generic design right, this ruling restricts design innovation and progress in the industry."

Germany has quickly become the epicenter of Apple's battle with Samsung. Early last month, Apple won a preliminary injunction against Samsung in a German court that banned the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 across Europe. In response, Samsung said that it was surprised by the decision, and had no idea Apple was seeking an injunction.

"The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung," the company told CNET in a statement at the time.

A week later, Samsung went back to a Dusseldorf District Court, arguing that its device should not be banned from sale across Europe. The court agreed with Samsung's claim , saying that its only jurisdiction was in Germany. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 was thus allowed to be sold in Europe, except in Germany.

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Late last month, Apple and Samsung went back to German court to argue their sides once again. Today's ruling is the result of that hearing.

During the battle with Samsung, Apple has continued to beat the same drum, arguing that Samsung has engaged in "blatant copying."

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told CNET last month. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

Apple might be able to use its victory in Germany as a precedent elsewhere around the world. The company is currently locked in a bitter patent dispute against Samsung in South Korea, the U.S., and Australia. Earlier this week, Apple also filed suit against Samsung in Japan , arguing that the company's Galaxy S and S II smartphones, as well as the Galaxy Tab 7 tablet, violate its patents.

In Germany, Samsung is ready to respond. The company told CNET that it plans to appeal today's ruling "to ensure that consumer choice in Germany is restored."

Apple has yet to respond to CNET's request for comment.

Update at 10:10 a.m. PT to include Samsung's statement.

 

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