Alas, the poor Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, we knew it well, but not in Germany, where a German district court ruled on Friday—it seems once and for all—that Samsung can no longer sell it, because, in so many words, it’s too much like Apple’s iPad 2. Worse still for Samsung, that means German retailers are banned from selling it throughout the European Union.
That’s one heck of a victory for Apple. Cupertino was granted a preliminary injunction against sales of Samsung’s Android-based tablet back in August. At that time, the tablet was to be pulled from shelves across all of Europe save the Netherlands.
In today’s ruling, the German district court upheld that injunction, denying Samsung access to one of Europe’s strongest economies.
“The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible,” said Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman in the verdict. “For the informed customer there remains the predominant overall impression that the device looks [like an Apple iPad 2].”
While the court didn’t mention the iPad 2 by name, it referred to the design Apple filed with the E.U.—for all intents and purposes, the same thing.
“The crucial issue was whether the Galaxy Tablet looked like the drawings registered as a design right,” said Brueckner-Hoffman. “Also, our case had nothing to do with trademarks or patents for technology.”
What’s Samsung’s workaround? It doesn’t have one in Germany, but while German retailers can’t sell the tablet elsewhere in the E.U., Samsung’s not banned from selling it through other countries (at least not yet).
Samsung’s vowing to appeal the decision, of course, so never say never, and don’t forget Samsung has its own patent suits against Apple.
But for better or worse, in this first of doubtless numerous upcoming tablet/patent-related slap-fests: Apple 1, Samsung 0.