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September 11, 2011

Court upholds ban of Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1 in Germany

Ban does not extend to other European countries as Apple had sought  

By CBR Staff Writer

A German court has upheld its earlier ban on the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, backing Apple’s claim that the product looks like the iPad.

Apple has sued Samsung in many places including the US and Australia, accusing the South Korean electronics company of copying its iPad design and functions.

Recently, Samsung was forced to delay the launch of its Galaxy Tabs in Australia because of Apple’s lawsuit.

Last month, the Regional Court of Dusseldorf had banned the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer in the country.

The court has upheld the temporary sales ban it issued 9 August. However, the court will not ban sales in other EU countries as Apple had sought, presiding Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said.

Brueckner-Hoffman said, "The predominant overall impression [is] that the device looks like the iPad Apple has already protected in Europe."

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"The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible," Brueckner-Hofmann said.

Samsung said it will appeal against the ruling.

The South Korean company said, the ruling "severely limits consumer choice in Germany" and "restricts design innovation and progress in the industry," according to the BBC.

In April this year, Apple sued Samsung alleging that the South Korean company’s Galaxy line of smartphones and tablet computers infringe patents and copy the trademarked design of its iPhone and iPad.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Oakland, California, Apple had said Samsung products infringe seven patents in user interface, including selecting, scrolling, pinching and zooming, and three patents on the design, including the flat black face of the iPhone and iPad.

Apple had said the blatant copying of its products is a deliberate attempt to benefit from its research.

Apple had said in its lawsuit, "When a Samsung Galaxy phone is used in public, there can be little doubt that it would be viewed as an Apple product based upon the design alone."

"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."

"Instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung has chosen to slavishly copy Apple’s innovative technology, distinctive user interfaces, and elegant and distinctive product and packaging design, in violation of Apple’s valuable intellectual property rights," Apple said.

Samsung refuted the claims and responded within a week by suing Apple over patent infringements.

Samsung had said that Apple’s iPhone and iPad infringe 10 mobile technology patents.

Samsung had filed the patent lawsuits in South Korea, Japan and Germany which included power reduction during data transmission, 3G technology for reducing errors during data transmission, and wireless data communication technology.

Though Apple is still a leader in the tablet market which it created, Samsung has risen sharply with new tablets powered by Google’s Android OS. Samsung is also a supplier of chips and LCD displays for phones and mobile devices, with Apple being one of its clients.

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