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.
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.
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.
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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