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German court bans sale of Galaxy Tab 10.1, says Apple

Temporary ban on the sale of Samsung tablet in all but one EU country

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A German court has issued a temporary ban on the sale of a Samsung digital product in every single EU member state with the exception of the Netherlands, according to media reports.

Apple was successfully granted the injunction against the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the UK and every other EU member state apart from the Netherlands, the reports said. The tablet computer product is a rival to Apple's iPad.

Apple alleges that Samsung has violated its Community design rights over the way the Galaxy Tab 10.1 looks, according to a report.

A registered Community design is a monopoly right for the appearance of the whole or part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and materials of the product or its ornamentation.

Applications are filed at the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market. Approved Community designs cover all 25 member states of the European Union.

In order to qualify for Community design rights, designs must be new and have individual character. To be new, the design is required to differ from known designs by more than "immaterial details". To have individual character a design must create a different overall impression on an informed user. Although a design application can be filed up to one year after the design has been made public, it is preferable that a design application is filed as soon as the design is created.

Community design rights can last up to 25 years, although the designs must be renewed every five years within that period.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 ban is in place with immediate effect, an Apple spokesman has said, according to the report.

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," an Apple statement said.

"This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas," Apple said.

Samsung said it was "disappointed" with the decision of the Dűssledorf district court, according to Reuters.

"The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung," Samsung said, according to the Reuters report.

"We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung's innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world," the statement said.

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OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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