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Apple Loses Dutch Samsung Galaxy Tab Ban Appeal

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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A Dutch Court rules that the design of the Samsung Galaxy Tab is sufficiently different from Apple’s iPad

A Dutch appeals court has rejected Apple’s claim that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringed its patents.

The Hague-based Gerechthof’s Gravenhage refused to overturn the decision made by a lower court not to issue an injunction against the device in August 2011.

‘Mirror-smooth lake’

Apple alleges that the design of the Samsung Galaxy Tab mimics that of its own market-leading tablet, the iPad, to such an extent that it infringes its design rights. Apple had sought a wide-definition on design rights, but the court ruled that it could only claim a narrower definition as the characteristic elements of its design had previously appeared in other works.

This narrowed scope meant that Apple’s asserted rights were not infringed as the judges said that the back and the sides of the Galaxy Tab differed from those of the iPad, while the difference in thickness allowed users to distinguish between the two.

Analyst Florian Mueller notes that a US District Court in California used this reasoning to reject a ban on the Galaxy Tab in the US last December. Judge Lucy Koh said that although it was likely Apple would be able to prove that Samsung infringed on one of its patents, it had not shown it was likely to defeat challenges to the patent’s validity. Apple must demonstrate both to succeed in its lawsuit.

The ruling comes a week before a court in Dusseldorf considers Samsung’s appeal against a German ban on the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country, and it is likely to consider the Dutch ruling.

In September last year, a German court decided to permanently ban the device from sale, a ban which initially extended to all European Union countries, but this aspect was later overturned as the court had no jurisdiction over other member states.

However, in an effort to circumvent this ban, Samsung announced plans to release a modified version of the tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.N, which featured a number of design alterations.