Samsung Electronics Co. lost a bid to overturn a German sales ban on its Galaxy 10.1 tablet computers obtained by Apple Inc. (AAPL) in an intellectual property dispute.
The Higher Regional Court in Dusseldorf backed the ban in a ruling today. While Apple can’t rely on a European Union design it used to win the sales ban, the order is justified under German competition rules, Presiding Judge Wilhelm Berneke said.
“Samsung wrongfully takes advantage of the enormous reputation and prestige of the iPad,” Berneke said. “Samsung unfairly imitates the iPad with its tablet.”
The legal battle between Cupertino, California-based Apple and its closest competitor in tablet computers is intensifying as an increasing number of consumers use devices such as tablets and smartphones to surf websites, play games and download music.
After the initial victory in Germany last year, Apple has faced several setbacks over the design issue. A Dutch appeals court ruled on Jan. 24 that Samsung can continue to sell the tablet in the Netherlands. Apple also lost similar rulings in Australia and California in December.
The ruling has little relevance because of the new Galaxy Tab 10.1N, Samsung said in an e-mailed statement after the ruling. The decision doesn’t apply to a suit Apple filed over that model, which is being reviewed by a lower court in Dusseldorf, the company said.
The court today said the sales ban also applies to the Galaxy 8.9., so a separate ruling on that device, requested by Apple, isn’t necessary.
In today’s case both sides were appealing a Sept. 9 sales ban issued by the lower court. Samsung sought to overturn the ban, while Apple wanted it extended to cover all EU countries. The court said today that the ban only applies in Germany.
Today’s cases are: OLG Dusseldorf, I-20 U 175/11 and I-20 U 126/11.
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