Apple Loses Second Bid to Ban German Sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1N

Apple Inc. (AAPL), maker of the iPad and iPhone, for the second time failed to win a ban on sales of Samsung Electronics (005930) Co.’s Galaxy 10.1N from a German court.

The Dusseldorf Regional Court rejected the bid for an emergency ruling today in a case where Apple invoked a European design right. Apple last week lost a similar attempt over a technology patent in a Munich court.

A Dusseldorf appeals court last week upheld Apple’s request to ban sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the predecessor model, which the company had won in the same lower court that rejected today’s bid. Samsung began selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, a revised version, in Germany last year to get around that ban. Samsung lost two patent rulings against its rival in a Mannheim court last month.

“The Galaxy Tab 10.1N now sufficiently differs from the form Apple has registered as a design right,” the court said in a statement. “Apple’s iPads and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1N now are two competing products of equal value.”

The legal battle between Cupertino, California-based Apple and its closest competitor in tablet computers is intensifying as an increasing number of consumers use tablets and smartphones to visit websites, play games and download music. More patent rulings between the two are scheduled for the coming weeks.

Remains on Sale

Samsung said the ruling affirms its position that the Galaxy Tab 10.1N is distinctive and doesn’t infringe the rights asserted by Apple. The Galaxy Tab 10.1N remains available to consumers in Germany, Samsung said.

Apple spokesman Alan Hely declined to comment on today’s ruling and referred to the company’s earlier statement that Samsung is “blatantly” copying the iPhone and iPad.

The judges in today’s case said the Galaxy 10.1N is no longer a “quasi-identical copy” of the iPad. They rejected the claim that Samsung is exploiting the reputation Apple’s products have earned. The new design with a broader frame on the side as well as loud speakers and Samsung’s name tag on the front are enough to distinguish the products, the court said.

“It’s odd to claim that buyers are fooled into thinking they buy an Apple product if they get the Samsung device,” said Deputy Presiding Judge Ulrike Pastohr. “You don’t buy consumer electronics like you would buy butter in a supermarket, you’re much more attentive.”

Today’s case is: LG Dusseldorf, 14c O 292/11.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Dusseldorf via kmatussek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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