Apple has lost an appeal against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, asserted on the grounds that the South Korean company's tablet infringes on the design of the iPad.
Gerechthof 's-Gravenhage, an appeals court in The Hague, Netherlands ruled that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 did not infringe on Apple's designs on Tuesday, Florian Mueller, a software patent expert, said in a blog post on Tuesday.
"The rationale underlying this decision is very similar to the approach taken by Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, who denied Apple a preliminary injunction for, among other things, an iPad-related design patent that is the US equivalent of the Community design asserted in Europe," Mueller said.
The decision was an appeal of a ruling from a lower regional court in August 2011, requesting a temporary injunction. At the time, Apple did win a temporary injunction in the Netherlands. However, it was based on a photo gallery scrolling patent and not design-related patents, which were ruled not to infringe in the ruling on Tuesday.
"The existence of at least two pieces of prior art for each of the asserted key design elements led the Dutch appeals court to determine that the valid scope of Apple's asserted design-related right is narrow. Based on that narrowed scope, the asserted right was not deemed infringed," Mueller said.
Apple and Samsung are involved in several legal actions against each other in a number of different countries, including the Netherlands, Germany and the US.
The German case is currently playing out in a Dusseldorf higher regional court, following an earlier decision from a lower court that resulted in a temporary injunction against the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
In contrast to the Dutch court, the temporary German injunction described the scope of the protection as medium-range or broad. Under EU laws, Gerechthof's-Gravenhage was obliged to explain to the Dusseldorf court why it came to a different decision.
In this case, the Dutch appeals court said it had taken into account prior art that had not been considered in the German ruling, Mueller said.
A decision on whether the German injunction will be overturned by the higher regional court is due within the next week, Mueller also noted.