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Apple gets permanent injunction on Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany

Galaxy Tab 10.1
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A German court has granted Apple a permanent injunction on the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, ruling that the Android-based tablet “too closely” resembles Apple’s popular iPad 2 tablet. However, the permanent injunction may not do much to actually keep the Galaxy Tab 10.1 out of German retailers: the ban applies only to direct sales from Samsung Germany, which means that retailers who acquire the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from third parties or from other Samsung divisions outside Germany would be permitted to resell them in Germany.

Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann found that Samsung did not maintain “the necessary distance” from Apple’s products in the design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, noting that Apple patented its design in 2004 and that companies such as Acer, Asus, and Toshiba have been able to bring tablet computers to market with designs that are clearly not based on Apple’s.

Samsung has issued a statement indicating it will appeal the ruling, which it claims “severely limits consumer choice in Germany.” The company notes the decision contradicts an August 24th decision from a Dutch court that count that Samsung’s Galaxy products don’t infringe on Apple’s designs.

The ruling is the latest development in Apple’s broad-ranging litigation with Samsung over its Galaxy Tab tablets and Galaxy S line of smartphones, which—despite the fact they run Google’s Android operating system—Apple claims amount to slavish copies of Apple’s iPad and iPhone products. Last month, Apple won an injunction against importation of Samsung Galaxy Tabs to the EU, which was later reduced to just Germany—the new ruling essentially reinforces that decision, despite some controversy that images Apple supplied the court to bolster its case may have been manipulated. Apple also recently won an injunction on the sale three Samsung smartphones in Europe, although that ruling is actually dependent on the version of Android used on the devices, not the phones themselves.

Apple has also launched litigation over Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S smartphones in the United States, South Korea, and (just this week) Japan.

Samsung is counter-suing Apple in many jurisdictions, accusing the Cupertino company of violating its wireless technology patents.

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