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Apple bans Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 must be yanked from shop shelves after Apple won an EU injunction over similarities with the iPad.

The war between Apple and Samsung has claimed its first casualty: the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Android-powered 10.1-inch tablet has been on sale in Britain for barely a week, but must now be yanked from shop shelves.

The two companies are locked in a bitter dispute over claims that Samsung's Galaxy range of smart phones and tablets copies the look and feel of Apple's iPhone and iPad, right down to the packaging and accessories. Apple applied for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, granted by an EU court in Dusseldorf, for violation of intellectual rights.

The judge agreed that the 10.1 copied elements of the iPad -- and just like that, the 10.1 can no longer be sold in Europe, pending an appeal before the same judge.

The one exception is the Netherlands, although Apple is also planning to file an injunction there this month. That's likely to be followed by injunctions against the original Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy S smart phone. Apple has previously attempted to block the Tab's sale in the US.

Samsung complains it wasn't notified about the injunction and didn't have an opportunity to present evidence. The Korean company is "disappointed with the court's decision and we intend to act immediately to defend our intellectual property rights through the ongoing legal proceedings in Germany, and will continue to actively defend these rights throughout the world." Samsung also emphasises that this is a temporary ban.

Apple is also locked in a patent scrap with HTC, another major manufacturer of Android phones. The fruit-flavoured phone-flinger challenged HTC in British courts after US legal eagles ruled the company infringes two Apple patents.

These legal stramashes haven't stopped Apple from becoming the world's largest company today, passing Exxon Mobil in market value for the first time ever.

Exactly when the 10.1 ban takes effect is unclear. We'll keep you posted on further developments as this extraordinary story unfolds. Do you think the EU is right to ban the Tab? Is this the way Apple should do business? Drop us a comment below or on our Facebook page.