Apple has received another boost in its high-profile infringement dispute with Samsung, after a German court upheld an earlier preliminary injunction to prevent the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country.
The ban was first granted in August and industry analysts expected it to be upheld. However, Samsung is still free to sell the device in other European countries.
Interestingly, the Dusseldorf judge was reported to have referred to Galaxy Tab devices and not the Tab 10.1 specifically, explaining that the injunction relates to all products that have the visual characteristics protected by the asserted Community design.
This means that Samsung will not be able to promote or sell any new products in Germany that infringe the Community design for as long as the injunction is in force.
"If Samsung came out (hypothetically speaking) with a Galaxy Tab 9.0, it seems the injunction would apply," explained Florian Mueller, a software patent specialist, on the Foss Patents blog.
"[However] Samsung can still sell the original Galaxy Tab. Generally, German courts won't hand an injunction if a rights holder has been aware of an infringement for a month (some say two months in certain parts of the country) prior to filing a complaint."
Mueller added that, while Apple could eventually gain an injunction against this device, it is unlikely to happen soon.
"Apple will still be able to get an injunction if it requires, but not using the fast track methods," he said.
"The logic is that, if you wait so long, it can't be urgent and therefore you can't rush the court to a decision. You can still stop an infringement, but only on the normal track."
Samsung expressed disappointment with the ruling in light of other decisions by European courts, and said that it plans to appeal.
"It should be noted that today's decision is inconsistent with the Dutch court's ruling on 24 August, which found the designs of Samsung's Galaxy range of products are distinctive and do not violate the cited design right," the firm said.
"To defend our intellectual property rights and protect our freedom to innovate, Samsung will take all available legal options including continuing to aggressively pursue Apple for its ongoing violation of Samsung's wireless technology patents."
The Korean manufacturer added that it believes the tablet design is generic and that the ruling restricts design innovation and progress in the industry.
Samsung was forced to pull its upcoming Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the IFA electronics show in Berlin earlier this month, after Apple was granted a preliminary injunction in the German courts.
The Galaxy Tab 7.7in was unveiled on 1 September alongside the Galaxy Note hybrid smartphone/tablet.
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