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Apple loses German bid to ban revised Samsung tablet

Apple has failed in an attempt to get Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablet banned in Germany.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Apple has failed in an attempt to get Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablet banned in Germany.

A Düsseldorf district court said on Thursday (PDF, in German) that the device did not infringe on Apple's design rights. The ruling only applies to the temporary injunction that Apple was seeking, and the case will still go to full trial later this year.

Meanwhile, on Friday Motorola failed to gain Apple products banned in Germany over the supposed infringement of a 3G patent.

In August last year, Apple won a ban on Samsung's successful Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet — it originally aimed for a Europe-wide ban, but was only successful within Germany.

Samsung responded by altering the 10.1 for the German market, naming the revised version the 10.1N. The new device included a prominent metal strip around the bezel, as well as speakers that had been moved to the front, and a more prominent Samsung logo.

Apple tried to get the Galaxy Tab 10.1N banned too, but the district court noted before Christmas that it was not inclined to allow this.

The court confirmed on Thursday that it would not give Apple its temporary injunction. It said the changes Samsung had made to the tablet were sufficient to avoid infringement on Apple's design rights. The court also disagreed with Apple's assertion that Samsung was trying to piggy-back off the success of the iPad by making the 10.1N look very similar, which would have constituted 'unfair competition' under German law.

The case will go to full trial on 25 September, at which point Apple will argue that Samsung has infringed on its intellectual property with 15 different models of its Android smartphones and tablets.

Germany is a key battlefield in the mobile industry patent wars. Last week, Motorola succeeded in getting Apple to briefly remove key products such as the iPhone 4 and 3G-enabled iPad 2 from its online store. The products were back on sale within hours, though.

On Friday, a Mannheim court denied Motorola's application for another injunction on Apple's 3G-capable products, deciding that Apple was not infringing on a Motorola UMTS patent. Motorola had not actually provided evidence of the supposed infringement, so the judge dismissed the case.

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