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Europe’s ban on Samsung Galaxy Tab lifted, for now

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10-1 screen angle right
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A German court has partially lifted the preliminary injunction against Samsung that prevented the South Korea-based company from legally distributing its Galaxy Tab 10.1 throughout all European Union countries, except Germany.

The ban on the Galaxy Tab was first put in place earlier this month after Apple filed an lawsuit against Samsung. The move was part of the ongoing battle between the two companies over whether Samsung unlawfully copied Apple’s design of the iPad tablet to create the Galaxy Tab, along with other similar patent disputes.

According to Dutch website Webwereld, which was first to report the news, Germany’s Dusseldorf District Court that issued the interim lift on the ban will have a formal hearing on August 25 to decide whether or not to fully reinstate the injunction.

The court’s decision to suspend the preliminary injunction comes just hours after it was revealed (also by Webwereld) that Apple may have doctored evidence submitted the court that was intended to show the similarities between the iPad and the Tab 10.1.

In its filing, Apple submitted photos that make it appear as though the iPad and Galaxay Tab 10.1 are the same size. Problem is, the iPad and Tab have entirely different sized screens with different aspect ratios (4:3 vs 16:9, respectively).

According to respected patent expert Florian Mueller, who has kept a constant finger on the pulse of Apple’s patent battles, the DUsseldorf court did not mention Apple’s potentially flawed evidence as part of its reasoning behind lifting the injunction. “Therefore, the question of whether Apple’s evidence was suitable or not has, at least in a formal sense, not played a role in this decision on a suspension,” Mueller writes on his blog.

The real reason for the ban lift, says Mueller, may be because the German court cannot impose an injunction on Samsung as a whole, as it is a South Korean corporation. Instead, it only has jurisdiction over Samsung’s German subsidiary, Both the German subsidiary and its parent company, Samsung, are mentioned in Apple’s lawsuit.

Apple has also successfully held up sales of the Galaxy Tab in Australia with claims that the company violated 10 of its patents. The Tab remains unavailable in that country.

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Andrew Couts
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