In the case of a German judge, looks are everything when deciding to permanently ban Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in that European nation. “For the informed customer there remains the predominant overall impression that the device looks” like Apple’s iPad, a Dusseldorf court ruled Friday.
Presiding Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said while other tablet designs are possible, “the crucial issue was whether the Galaxy tablet looked like the drawings registered” by Apple with the European Union’s intellectual property group. The decision makes permanent a temporary order released Aug. 9, instructing Samsung’s German sales division to stop selling the tablet. Today’s ruling does not impact tablets shipped from Samsung’s South Korean headquarters nor to other EU-member countries.
Samsung says it will appeal the ruling, charging the German decision “severely limits consumer choice” and “restricts design innovation and progress in the industry,” according to Bloomberg. The German decision did not decide whether Samsung’s device infringed upon Apple patents. “Our case had nothing to do with trademarks or patents for technology,” the judge said. Apple has contended Samsung’s tablet closely imitated the iPad.
It’s unclear how today’s ruling will impact Apple’s other attempts to block the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and Japan. A decision is expected in the Australian case later this month, while Apple’s complaint is just beginning to work its way through the Tokyo courts.