Apple wins temporary European ban on Samsung tablet

Apple wins temporary European ban on Samsung tablet

Summary: A Düsseldorf district court has granted iPad maker Apple a preliminary injunction against the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 across almost all of the EU, including the UK

TOPICS: Legal, Piracy

Apple has won a preliminary injunction in a German district court that temporarily bars Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet anywhere in the EU except the Netherlands.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Apple has won a temporary ban on imports of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to the EU, except The Netherlands. Photo credit: Bonnie Cha/CNET News

First reported by the German news agency dpa on Tuesday, the preliminary injunction is based on the alleged violation of a European Community design that covers the iPad. Unlike the software patents usually cited in battles between Apple and the makers of Android tablets, this case is to do with the appearance of the devices.

Rulings on Community designs are applicable everywhere in the EU, including the UK. The Netherlands was excluded from Apple's suit as the iPad maker has initiated separate legal action against Samsung there, according to patent expert Florian Mueller.

Samsung has not yet confirmed whether it will stop selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the UK. The device only went on sale in this country on Thursday.

Apple's feud with Korea's Samsung, which is coincidentally a major component supplier to the US tech company, began in April, when Apple accused Samsung of "blatant copying" in the way its smartphones and tablets allegedly resemble the iPhone and iPad.

Samsung 'disappointed'

In a statement on Wednesday, Samsung said it is "disappointed" in the decision of the Düsseldorf district court.

"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 said. "We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung's innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world."

According to Reuters, the electronics giant said it had not been notified of the request for injunction, and not given a chance to present evidence or argue against Apple's case.

Florian Mueller, who is German, explained in a separate blog post that this is standard practice in Germany, and preliminary injunctions do not mean a successful applicant will win the main case. Indeed, he pointed out that, if Samsung were to win the main case, Apple would be liable for damages compensating Samsung over a loss of sales caused by the injunction.

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.

– Apple

Samsung said in its statement that the Düsseldorf decision did not affect the other battles between it and Apple in courts around the world. These are taking place at the US International Trade Commission, the court of the North District of California, and in Australia, Japan and South Korea.

An Apple spokesman told ZDNet UK the ban is in place, with immediate effect.

"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," Apple said in a statement. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

A representative of the Düsseldorf district court said it was impossible to specify the contents of the injunction until Samsung formally says it has received it.

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Topics: Legal, Piracy

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!
    roger andre
  • Samsung hardly 'feed' Apple. Apple is simply a Samsung customer. There are plenty of other manufacturers and if Samsung were to lose Apple's business they would suffer far more than Apple would.
  • that's rich from a company who's can't even design an original logo.
  • Samsung would suffer more than apple, hardly , as samsung supply pretty much all of the chips for there ipads , and phones, and the touchscreens as apple were forced to move from LG to samsung because of display problems. I so hope Samsung says , right enough and stops supplying them.
  • This was mentioned over a month ago on other sites so no surprise really.
    What some don't realise is that Apple rely heavily on Samsung for their components, and as a trade group, Apple bought nearly $6 billion of hardware from Samsung to make the ipad which only equates to less than 3% of Samsung Groups Business ($205.9 billion latest in wikipedia). The question should be, as with Microsoft tactics (buy out or remove the company suing), if Samsung pulled their components from Apple, would Apple be able to supply to their customers? After all a good chunk of the technology in the ipad is actually Samsungs hardware.
  • Apple should just stop crying and compete, there will be designs that at least "approach" the appearance of their products.
    Apple....just stop bitching, moaning and spending tons of cash on legal action, instead spend that money on a commercial that points out "our product is so cool that even samsung emulates us"
    People who can afford your typically over priced stuff will buy it as long as it "really is better"
  • After reading this news and the comments, I had a look at photos of the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab. They appear so similar that it suggests the use of common components. If true, that would give Apple quite a big stick. Use of common components would also , presumably, lead to cost savings in the Samsung's Galaxy.
    The Former Moley
  • I think this is disgusting tactics by apple and a sign that they fear the competition the 10.1 offers the Ipad2. I have a samsung galaxy s smartphone and quite frankly it is as good if not better than the iphone. Certainly the colours on the ipad/iphone are nowhere near as sharp as the samsung.

    I for one will never buy an apple product because like microsoft, they have become arrogant with their sucess.
  • I am disappointed with Apple. I was considering purchasing an iPad2, but now on principle, I will look at an alternative solution. At the end of the day, the look and design of any tablet is limited by its very nature (unless of course there is a market for a triangle tablet).

    I'm not suggesting Apple will disappear in the near future, but history shows that companies that focus their efforts on protectionism rather advancing their products, inevitably fall by the wayside.
  • What's similiar?
    - aspect ratio and therefore shape is different
    - size is different
    - there is no physical home button on the tab
    - camera is located in different place

    I don't really see similarity in design, at some point of generalization all tablets look the same, but the details are totally different and distinguishable. I can only assume the judge is blind or have no idea about design.
  • It's occurred to me that Jonathan Ive's designs for Apple have armed the company with a major weapon when it comes to asserting design 'patents' such as this one.

    Apple's general design ethos is based around simplicity. If you take a product type and refine it to its most basic form, then any other product in that category will surely resemble it. The only way to avoid doing so would be to stick knobs on for the sake of it.
    David Meyer
  • Maybe Samsung should stop sending components to Apple until the dispute is resolved, with no components how many apple units will ship?
    Simon Cantwell
  • @David Meyer - That's very true - but if you did put some extra knobs on a tablet, wouldn't that approach the design of an Etch-a-Sketch? Sounds like a no-win situation!
  • Ha! Very true.
    David Meyer
  • "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," Apple said in a statement. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

    Possibly one of the most hypocritical things I've ever heard.
  • The German court is out of it's mind!!!! Essentially they're saying Apple has a valid design right to the rectangle with a border!!!! The Dutch court went the other way and even went as far as to say that Samsung "did NOT slavishly copy" Apple products. Btw, this is kind of off topic but if more cite quote Florian Mueller I'm going to go insane. How the hec is that guy an expert anyway? He's wrong nearly half the time and his interpretation of the law is absolutely horrible and terribly Apple-centric. I've wonder even if he's on Job's payroll! Lol!
  • Yes coming from a company whose founder outright stole GUI!!!! Talked about two-faced!!!
  • @Zenvegas1001

    > a company whose founder outright stole GUI!!!!

    Not really. Xerox showed Apple its GUI work and did a deal for Apple to use it.


    > if Samsung were to lose Apple's business they would suffer far more than Apple would.

    Hard to say. A lot of Samgsung's stuff is in short supply and it might well find customers who are willing to pay higher prices than Apple, which is famous for grinding down its suppliers. Also, Apple would end up using components that are generally inferior in quality.
    Jack Schofield
  • Apple - stop spitting your dummy out and accept that you have serious competition!! You'd better move over cos now Android stuff may just take over in popularity - I love Android!! Apple stuff is cool but not beyond all other stuff and it's WAY too expensive too!! :o)