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10 August 2011, 10:13

Apple vs. Samsung: court bans sale of Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe

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Galaxy Tab 10.1
Source: Samsung

Apple has succeeded in having competitor Samsung barred from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablets in the European Union. The US company has confirmed that it obtained an injunction against the South Korean manufacturer in the Düsseldorf District Court. Apple is accusing Samsung of having copied the iPad in producing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and having infringed its IP. It has accused Samsung of exploiting the iPad's reputation by making a "slavishly copy" of the iconic tablet.

The injunction is directed against Samsung Electronics GmbH based in Schwalbach, Germany and the parent company in South Korea. The sales ban applies across the European Union with the exception of the Netherlands. Under German law, Apple asked the court to set out punitive damages of 250,000 euros or a jail term of up to two years should Samsung breach the injunction.The injunction applies across all of the EU, except for the Netherlands where the law is different and Apple are engaged in separate litigation.

Samsung reacted to the news saying that they had been given no notice of Apple's application for an injunction, though this is often the case with requests for summary injunctions. The case is only about the design of the tablet rather than any patents or copyright. In 2004, Apple registered a design for a "handheld computer" which was a rectangular thin slab, with an earphone socket and wide connector on the top and bottom edges.

Although the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was due for release in the rest of Europe on 17 August, it became available in the UK at the start of the month, being stocked predominantly by PC World.

Apple and Samsung are in dispute over numerous aspects of the design of their smartphones and tablets in a number of countries. The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) last week launched an investigation into Samsung following a complaint from Apple which will cover both smartphones and tablets. The Düsseldorf District Court case was limited to the iPad and Galaxy Tab tablets. Apple hopes to use the ITC investigation to block Samsung from importing its devices into the US.

The dispute between the two manufacturers escalated in April, when Apple filed a suit against Samsung. The Korean company responded by launching a countersuit and the two sides now find themselves locking horns in courts in several different countries. In March, Apple also launched an action against Taiwanese vendor HTC alleging patent infringements.


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