Court rules Samsung can't sell tablet in Germany

September 9, 2011 - 10:30 AM
Germany Samsung Apple

FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2011 file photo a lawyer holds an Apple iPad and a Samsung Tablet-PC at a court in Duesseldorf, Germany. A Duesseldorf state court said Friday, Sept. 9, 2011, it would not allow Samsung, based in Seoul, South Korea, to market its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany because it too closely resembles the iPad2. Previously in August the court had ruled in favor of Apple, based in Cupertino, California, forcing Samsung to withdraw its tablet from the market. (AP Photo/dapd, Sascha Schuermann, file)

BERLIN (AP) — Samsung Electronics cannot sell its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer in Germany after a court ruled Friday that its design "too closely" resembles Apple's iPad2.

The ruling by a Duesseldorf state court, however, only applies to direct sales from the Seoul, South Korea-based company, meaning distributors who acquire the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from abroad could resell them in Germany.

Apple had taken Samsung to court over its Galaxy line, arguing their design is too close a copy of their own products.

Samsung said in a statement it will appeal the ruling, which it said "severely limits consumer choice in Germany."

Already in August, the court ruled in favor of Apple, based in Cupertino, California, forcing Samsung to withdraw its tablet from the European market. It later determined the injunction only applied to sales in Germany, where it had not yet been launched.

"We also believe that by imposing an injunction based on this very generic design right, this ruling restricts design innovation and progress in the industry," Samsung said.

Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said in her ruling that Samsung, "did not keep the necessary distance" in its design, the news agency dapd reported. Apple patented its design in 2004, and Brueckner-Hofmann cited products from Asus, Acer and Toshiba as examples of tablet computers that nonetheless have a clearly different design.

Apple and Samsung are involved in a series of legal disputes in countries around the world over allegations that each copies the other's technology.