Apple has been defeated in a court case against Samsung in the UK, which sought to determine whether the Korean manufacturer's Galaxy Tabs were infringing upon Apple's registered community designs for the iPad. The British High Court today ruled that Samsung's designs for the Galaxy Tab 7.7, 8.9 and 10.1 are sufficiently different to Apple's, and cited examples of prior art in the area of tablet design dating back well before the advent of Apple's 9.7-inch slate.
Samsung's victory means it is free to continue selling its range of Android-powered tablets in the UK. Naturally the decision is a major blow for Apple, which has previously been successful in having Android tablets removed from the marketplace on account of design features like rounded corners and a thin chassis.
In a statement to UK tech site Pocket-Lint, Samsung said --
"Samsung had requested this voluntary trial in September 2011, in order to oppose Apple’s ongoing efforts to reduce consumer choice and innovation in the tablet market through their excessive legal claims and arguments. Apple has insisted that the three Samsung tablet products infringe several features of Apple’s design right, such as 'slightly rounded corners,' 'a flat transparent surface without any ornamentation,' and 'a thin profile.'
"However, the High Court dismissed Apple’s arguments by referring to approximately 50 examples of prior art, or designs that were previously created or patented, from before 2004. These include the Knight Ridder (1994), the Ozolin (2004), and HP’s TC1000 (2003). The court found numerous Apple design features to lack originality, and numerous identical design features to have been visible in a wide range of earlier tablet designs from before 2004."
The news follows HTC's high-profile victory over Apple at the High Court last week, in which it was ruled that the former's Android phones did not infringe upon the latter's patents. Samsung hasn't been so lucky in the U.S., where the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is currently banned from sale, and it's had some success in blocking sales of the Galaxy Nexus.