Apple has been dealt another blow in its ongoing legal patent war with Samsung. A Dutch appeals court ruled Tuesday (via FOSS Patents) that an appeal by Apple against a lower court’s decision from August 2011 is invalid, and that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 does not infringe on Apple’s iPad design right.
In the original ruling, Apple actually came out somewhat ahead; it won a preliminary injunction against Galaxy smartphones related to an image gallery scroll patent, which Samsung later modified its software to avoid. The original ruling denied Apple’s claims related to Samsung’s tablets at the same time, however.
The Dutch appeals court found that Apple’s asserted design-related right is valid, but also narrow in scope, and that Samsung does not infringe upon that narrow scope with its device designs. The court considered size pieces of prior art in the form of devices from other companies, as well as U.S., Canadian and Japanese patents to determine the scope of Apple’s design claim.
A German court in Dusseldorf, ruling on the same issue earlier, found that Samsung had infringed Apple’s designs and ordered a preliminary injunction. That prompted Samsung to introduce the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, a redesigned version of its 10-inch tablet specific to the German market. That injunction is up for appeal, too, and should come down next week.
On the one hand, Apple at least retains its community design right, but on the other, this decision is definitely a blow to its plans to attempt to hurt Samsung’s sales.
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