Samsung Loses German Case Because of Their “Minimalist, Modern Design and Round Edges”

September 9, 2011
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About a month ago Apple was granted a preliminary injunction by a German district Court over Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, on the grounds that it’s virtually indistinguishable from the iPad, and while that may not be the case so much in reality, they did try to make it look like it is on paper.

But Apple did manage to win the injunction case, and now Samsung is forbidden to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 anywhere in Germany, and they are also not allowed to sell it anywhere in Europe from their German subsidiary, but they can continue to sell to Europe from their subsidiary in Holland, where the Court didn’t grant Apple the preliminary injunction.

The judge from the German Court said about Samsung’s tablet that it’s “simplistic, modern and has round edges”, implying that he thinks it looks too much like an iPad. But what does that truly mean? His explanation for the ruling seems very vague. Is he saying that other tablets now can’t be simplistic and look modern, or have round corners? How is competition supposed to happen then if the other tablet manufacturers are only allowed to make old style looking “bricks” compared to the iPad?

Samsung also replied with “By imposing an injunction based on this very generic design right, this ruling restricts design innovation and progress in the industry,”, and they also said this decision is inconsistent with the one from Holland, where Apple lost with the design related claims about the Galaxy Tab 10.1. There they only won with a infringement claim related to the gallery app on Galaxy S, but Samsung can change that soon anyway, so it was a pretty insignificant win for Apple.

Apple has also managed to get a preliminary injunction for the Galaxy Tab 7.7 in Germany which is even more ridiculous considering it’s even more different than the iPad. It’s significantly smaller and you can grip it from the sides with only one hand. It also weighs only 335 grams, which is almost half the weight of the iPad 2 (601 grams). And of course it has a 16:10 ratio, rather than a 4:3 one, but that won’t stop Apple from claiming it’s the same. Also, who knows what the German Court will decide this time. After this first ruling, anything is possible.

Samsung is planning to take the case for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to a higher Court in Germany, and if it wins the appeal there, the first judge might reconsider putting a final injunction on the Galaxy Tab 7.7, too.

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