Apple nears German court rebuff in row with Samsung

DUESSELDORF, Germany Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:38am EST

An employee of South Korean mobile carrier KT holds a Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet (R) and Apple Inc's iPad tablet as he poses for photos at a registration desk at KT's headquarters in Seoul August 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

An employee of South Korean mobile carrier KT holds a Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet (R) and Apple Inc's iPad tablet as he poses for photos at a registration desk at KT's headquarters in Seoul August 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jo Yong-Hak

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DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - A German court rejected Apple's claims that Samsung Electronics' reworked tablet PC still looks like a copycat version of the iPad, in a preliminary assessment.

Apple is fighting several rival makers of smartphones and tablet PCs in courts worldwide over intellectual property.

Its battle with Samsung, which is Apple's supplier as well as a competitor, has been especially bitter, with some 30 legal cases in 10 countries.

"According to the court's assessment, the defendant has moved away sufficiently from the legally protected design," Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said in court on Thursday.

Brueckner-Hofmann added that a ruling was slated for February 9.

In response to an earlier court ruling in Apple's favour, Samsung had redesigned its Galaxy Tab 10.1 for the German market only and named it Galaxy Tab 10.1N.

But Apple challenged the reworked version as well, seeking an injunction that would ban Samsung from marketing the product in Europe's largest consumer market.

Samsung, for its part, earlier this week filed new claims in a separate dispute related to telecommunications standard technology with Apple for alleged patent infringements in Germany.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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Comments (4)
hfwbr wrote:
This article neglects to mention that there is much more to the similarity between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad than the so-called “legally protected design.” The packaging, cabling, accessories and “smart cover” all are reminiscent of the output typical of a Chinese knock-off shop. The judge also fails to note that no other competitor seems to be having problems with originality in the tablet’s design or in any of these areas.

The judge asserted that “customers are well aware that there is an original.” How does she know how true this claim is for the population at large? She further said that “buyers are vigilant when looking at products.” Such a statement is certainly less than completely accurate.

Finally, the judge stated that “We don’t think that someone buys a Samsung (005930) to make his table neighbor at the coffee house believe he owns an iPad.” Such an assertion is completely beside the point. The reason Ford can’t make a vehicle that’s identical to a model from BMW is not because it would allow buyers to purchase one to fool their neighbors.

Let’s hope most judges in Germany are more competent than this.

Dec 22, 2011 11:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
Nullcorp wrote:
Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann should take a closer look at the photo above this article. I read that Samsung’s legal team couldn’t even tell the difference in court when all of this began. IP laws are weakened by these actions, innovation should be protected by law.

Dec 22, 2011 12:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
thinktwice wrote:
The Judge is already seeing the game Apple is playing. Samsung has won in the USA and Australia. Soon it will win this one and the BS by Apple will be finished.

Dec 22, 2011 6:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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