Apple Injunction Blocks Samsung Galaxy Tablet Sales in Europe

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Apple Injunction Blocks Samsung Galaxy Tablet In Europe
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Tens of thousands of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets reportedly have been seized across Europe, as the legal battle between Apple and Samsung turns ugly.

Apple confirmed it has been granted an injunction in a German court that practically prevents the sale of Samsung’s tablet across the European Union, except the Netherlands.

[Related: Apple Drags Motorola into iPad Turf War]

Samsung said it was unaware of Apple filing for the injunction, while the German court made its order to block sales of the tablet "without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung,” and that it would "act immediately to defend our intellectual property rights." Meanwhile, European customs officers were ordered to seize shipments of the Tab, and tens of thousands of Samsung tablets are thought to have been seized after the ruling, according to the U.K.’s Guardian .

A separate lawsuit between Apple and Samsung is underway in the Netherlands. Apple on Wednesday will seek a similar injunction against Samsung in a court in The Hague, with the aim of barring local sales of the Galaxy Tab, and on Thursday it will go before that court requesting that sales of Galaxy smartphones be stopped as well.

The German court's decision was reported by intellectual property activist Florian Mueller on his FOSS patents blog, citing a report by German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Apple did not provide further details on the ruling, but Mueller said the injunction relates to Samsung's alleged infringement of Apple's iPad-related Community Design 000181607-0001, which protects the design of the product across the European Union.

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas," an Apple spokeswoman said via e-mail.

The History of the Battle

This is the second Apple victory against Samsung, which has allegedly "slavishly" copied the technology from the iPad and the iPhone. The first win was at the beginning of August, when Samsung agreed not to sell its 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab tablet in Australia until it resolves its patent issues with Apple. A hearing in Australian courts to review the status of the case is set for August 29.

“Note that this is an intellectual property right granted by an agency of the European Union,” Mueller explained on his blog. “It can therefore be enforced on an EU-wide basis, while European patent law is still fragmented, requiring a different lawsuit in each country in which one seeks to enforce it.”

Mueller also found Apple has filed for the injunction on August 4, and uncovered pictures comparing the iPad and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that Apple presented to the German court. The company is also seeking a similar move in the Netherlands, the only country not affected by the blanket injunction.

Apple sued Samsung last month in the U.S. as well, where it currently seeks a preliminary injunction against sales of a Samsung tablet and phones.

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(IDG News Service contributed to this report)

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