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Samsung dodges another Apple injunction in Germany with redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1

by Phil Hornshaw

The legal battle royale between Apple and Samsung continues all over the world, but it seems Samsung has won something of a definitive victory in fighting against Apple’s patent infringement claims in Germany.

Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab 10.1N in the country, a redesigned version of its Android-running, iPad-size tablet. According to a post from FOSS Patents, a Dusseldorf court has denied Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction banning the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1N. This should mean (at least for now), that Samsung’s iPad competitor is in the clear in Germany.

It’s a bit of a backhanded win for Samsung to beat back Apple’s preliminary injunction against the redesigned Galaxy Tab, however. The 10.1N is the result of another injunction Apple did win against its South Korean rival. The original Galaxy Tab 10.1 was banned from sale in Germany last year after a court ruled that it infringed on Apple’s patents on the “look and feel” of its iPad. That ruling meant Samsung couldn’t sell the device in Germany at all, and in fact, Samsung suffered other bans in The Netherlands as well. The redesigned Galaxy Tab got Samsung around the injunction, but obviously Apple is still fighting to keep the Android tablet off shelves.

On the plus side, Samsung does seem to be pushing back in Germany and winning victories. The German equivalent of an appeals court ruled in Samsung’s favor even over its original Galaxy Tab 10.1 design, stating that the device didn’t fall within the scope of patent infringement on Apple’s designs. And the lower court’s ruling against a preliminary injunction seems to indicate that Apple’s case is weaker and Samsung’s stronger than they were last year.

But Samsung and its Android devices aren’t out of the woods just yet. While the ruling against the preliminary injunction was a victory, it was still just a preliminary injunction. Apple has a suit pending against Samsung over designs for 10 devices, including smartphones, that hasn’t even gone to court yet. The preliminary injunctions are capable of banning Samsung’s devices in the meantime before the full court decisions are handed down. So while Samsung has fought off one attack, the real battle is still ahead. As Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents points out, it’ll probably be quite a while until Samsung and Apple resolve their case in Germany. Then there’s just the cases across the rest of the planet to worry about.