Judge: “We don’t think someone buys a Samsung to make his table neighbor at the coffee house believe he owns an iPad”

Perhaps in what might be read as a wake-up call for Apple, the Cupertino, Calif., gadget powerhouse was just served a dose of reality before a Dusseldorf court in Germany. A quick recap: Apple secured a sales ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in September on the grounds of too many similarities and patent infringement.

Samsung then re-engineered its device and re-introduced it under the Galaxy Tab 10.1N moniker, but Apple pushed for an injunction of that model, too. Today at the Dusseldorf court, presiding judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann made it known that Apple was pushing its luck with a request for an injunction.

According to Bloomberg, she said:

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Wow, Apple actually got Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned in Germany

The verdict is in.  German consumers won’t soon be able to pick up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

A Dusseldorf court today upheld the temporary sales ban it issued Aug. 9, rejecting Samsung’s bid to overturn it for the most part. The judges won’t ban sales in other European Union countries as Apple had sought, Presiding Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said when delivering the verdict.

The judge stopped at German borders instead of issuing a full EU wide ban but further rulings could see the ban spread.

“The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible,” Brueckner-Hofmann said. “For the informed customer there remains the predominant overall impression that the device looks” like the design Apple has protected in Europe.

The ruling is a big victory for Apple and as the Verge puts it, “the decision could foreshadow the future of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 and, honestly, any number of rectangular-shaped tablets in Germany as well.”

FOSSPatents mentions some other “oddities” which could play a role in the widening scope of the case:

 The Community design that the Düsseldorf Regional Court deems valid and infringed was also presented by Apple in its Dutch proceeding, but a judge in The Hague threw it out.

If the face of the Galaxy Tab is what is at issue, it isn’t Samsung that is at fault, it is Android.  Cross-posted at 9to5Google.

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Updated: Samsung Responds… Apple stops Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 distribution in European Union

Update: Samsung has issued the following statement (via TNW) addressing the court’s decision to grant Apple the preliminary injunction:

Samsung is disappointed with the court’s decision and we intend to act immediately to defend our intellectual property rights through the ongoing legal proceedings in Germany and will continue to actively defend these rights throughout the world.

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.

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

This decision by the court in Germany in no way influences other legal proceedings filed with the courts in Europe and elsewhere.

Reports are coming in that Apple has been granted a preliminary injunction for the entire European Union (excluding Netherlands) that will halt distribution of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. This comes on the heels of a postponed launch of the device in Australia due to a lawsuit with Apple.

The decision by the Regional Court of Dusseldorf in Germany to block sales of the device comes after a judge sided with Apple on claims that Galaxy Tab copied key design components related to the iPad 2. While Samsung can appeal the court’s decision sometime in the next month, the Telegraph’s Shane Richmond is quick to point out it would be heard by the same judge. Apple is also said to have a separate lawsuit filed in the Netherlands as well.

Samsung had this to say in a recent statement about their legal disputes with Apple:

“Samsung believes that there is no legal basis for this assertion. We will continue to serve our customers and distributors and the sale of Samsung products will be continued.”

And Apple has made their stance on the situation clear…

“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. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

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