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Galaxy Tab doesn't copy Apple designs, U.K. court rules

It's a win for Samsung Electronics, which hasn't fared so well in the legal arena lately. The decision affects three Galaxy Tab models.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Josh Miller/CNET

Score one for Samsung Electronics.

After several legal defeats resulting in a product ban, Samsung finally got a court to side with it. The company said that the High Court of England and Wales ruled that its Galaxy Tab did not infringe upon Apple's tablet designs, and found 50 different recognizable traits.

The victory is a measure of relief after a few rough weeks in which a U.S. judge ordered a ban on the Galaxy Nexus, resulting in Google pulling it from the Google Play store before putting it back up Saturday. Samsung has filed an appeal and the ban has temporarily lifted.

The moves are part of a broader legal skirmish between the two largest smartphone makers in the world, and part of Apple's legal campaign against Android and any company supporting the operating system. Apple and Samsung have lawsuits filed in different courts around the world, and are looking for a ban or decision so devastating that both companies will be forced to sit down and work out a resolution. So far, both sides have only seen minor victories.

Apple declined to comment on the ruling, but reiterated its claims about the similarities between its products and Samsung's lineup.

"This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas," said an Apple representative.

Today's ruling affects three versions of the Samsung tablet: the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9, and Galaxy Tab 7.7. Differences the court cited were the thickness of the devices, front and rear surface designs, and lack of physical buttons.

Samsung said it had requested this voluntary trial to get ahead of Apple's claims that Samsung's tablets copy the iPad and its design. Samsung said it welcomed today's ruling.

Updated at 7:38 a.m. PT: to include a response from Apple.