Samsung Galaxy Tab ban lifted in Europe

A German court lifts the temporary injunction on the Galaxy Tab--which stemmed from an Apple patent lawsuit--in all EU countries except for Germany itself.

Ban against Samsung's Galaxy Tab lifted in Europe.
Ban against Samsung's Galaxy Tab lifted in Europe. Samsung

A ban that prevented sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Europe has been lifted, according to the Dutch publication Webwereld.

Citing confirmation from Peter Schutz, spokesman for the Dusseldorf District Court, IDG's Webwereld (English translation) said Samsung can now resume sales of its Galaxy Tab tablet throughout Europe, with the exception of Germany. The court ruled that the German court does not have the power to ban sales of the tablet except within its own country.

In response to the new ruling, Samsung sent CNET the following statement:

"Samsung welcomes the Dusseldorf District Court's decision to suspend the pan-European preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung is fully committed to providing our innovative mobile devices to the market without disruption, and ensuring that consumers have a wider selection of innovative products to choose from. We look forward to the opportunity to reassert our intellectual-property rights at the hearing scheduled on August 25."

The lifting of the temporary injunction is in effect at least until Apple and Samsung meet again in court on August 25 to present arguments over the future of Tab sales in Europe.

Over the past several months, the two companies have been mired in a patent lawsuit in which Apple alleges that Samsung illegally copied technology and design aspects of the iPad to create the Galaxy Tab. Last week, Apple was able to convince the German court to issue the temporary injunction banning the sale of the Tab in virtually all nations of the European Union.

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Apple yesterday was the object of criticism in another Webwereld story, which concluded that the company had fudged a photo of the Galaxy Tab in a document submitted to the German court. Analyzing photos comparing the Tab with the iPad 2, the publication discovered that the two tablets appeared "practically identical" in length.

But the Galaxy Tab is, in fact, "longer and more oblong than the iPad 2,"according to Webwereld. Specifically, the Galaxy Tab has an aspect ratio of 1.46. But the image of the Tab generated by Apple shows an aspect ratio of 1.36, closer to the iPad's ratio of 1.30.

Webwereld's story didn't indicate that the inaccurate photo had any bearing on today's decision. Instead, it seemed to be more a matter of jurisdiction.

Florian Muller, publisher of the FOSS Patents blog, said in a post today that he believes Samsung stands a "pretty good chance" that this temporary lifting of the ban will be turned into a partial reversal of the preliminary injunction at the August 25 hearing.

Muller called this "an unpleasant situation for Apple," since, if the German court is found to have ruled outside its jurisdiction by banning sales for a Korean company, it would "reinforce a lot of people's impression that Apple's enforcement of design-related rights is, even though understandable to a certain degree, overreaching in some areas."

Updated at 9 a.m. PT with a statement from Samsung.

 

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