Apple wins key German patent case against Samsung

2011-09-09 14:37

Duesseldorf – Apple won the latest battle in a global legal war with Samsung today when a German court banned the Korean firm from selling a tablet computer in Germany, ruling it had copied the iPad.

The court, in the western city of Duesseldorf, said Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 computer, a rival to Apple’s iconic iPad, had infringed key patent laws.

Presiding judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffmann said there was a “clear impression of similarity” between the Apple and the Samsung products.

As an example, she cited the “minimalist, modern form” of the two firms’ products, with flat screens and rounded edges.

However, the court limited the sales ban to Germany, despite ruling in a previous judgment that the ban should be Europe-wide.

The court ruled that “it could only be competent to order a Europe-wide ban for a firm headquartered outside the European Union if this firm has a German subsidiary,” it said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on the judgment.

Samsung said: “We are disappointed with this ruling and believe it severely limits consumer choice in Germany.”

The firm added: “Samsung will actively and immediately appeal this ruling to protect our intellectual property rights.”

The Korean firm, which denies Apple’s argument that it had “slavishly” copied the market-leading iPhone and iPad, had to pull its latest Galaxy Tab 7.7 inch from a major electronics fair in Berlin earlier this week in view of the case.

Industry analysts say that in the fast-moving world of tablet computers, which have a very short shelf life before being replaced by improved products, even a temporary ban on sales can be fatal.

“This decision is a catastrophe for competition, for the whole industry, but it’s not over yet,” said Sascha Pallenberg, a technology expert.

“The judge basically said that only Apple is allowed to sell thin, square tablets with round edges. That’s just insane,” he added.

The two firms are also locked in legal battles in Australia, the US and Asia. Samsung has responded to Apple’s accusations by filing suits of its own in Seoul, asking for a ban on sales of the US firm’s products in South Korea.

The tussle began in April when Apple filed a suit accusing Samsung of copying its smartphones and tablet computers.

Samsung responded with a claim in Seoul alleging five patent infringements by Apple.
The US company upped the ante in July by asking the US International Trade Commission to block imports to the US of some of Samsung’s smartphones and tablet computers.

In the Netherlands, a court in the Hague banned three Samsung telephone models on August 24 following an Apple suit. Samsung launched a counterclaim, due to be heard by the same court on September 26.

And Pallenberg said it would not really stop consumers from getting their hands on the product if they were determined enough.

“Anyone who really wants to have this tablet can just buy it abroad,” he said.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, hailed by some in the industry as an “iPad killer”, has been a huge-selling rival to the touch-screen phenomenon.

Despite their prickly competition, the two actually have a close business relationship.

Apple was Samsung’s second-biggest client in 2010 after Japan’s Sony, accounting for 4% of the South Korean firm’s 155 trillion won (R1 trillion) annual revenue.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.