Court rules in favor of Apple, upholds ban on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales in Germany

In another blow for Samsung, a German court has ruled in favor of Apple, upholding its ban on sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country. Samsung had appealed the original Aug. 9 ruling, which ordered the company to remove the German retail edition of the tablet from shelves across the European Union. Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann denied this appeal on grounds of infringement on intellectual property: The Galaxy Tab 10.1's front, the court ruled, is too close in appearance to that of the iPad 2, and Apple's "minimalistic design isn't the only technical solution to make a tablet computer." The ruling has nothing to do with patented technology and is only applicable to sales within Germany due to the court's limited jurisdiction. Samsung has said it will once again appeal the decision, claiming that the ruling "restricts design innovation and progress in the industry." 

Source: Bloomberg

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

  • Subscribe in Pocket Casts: Audio
  • Subscribe in Spotify: Audio
  • Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (opens in new tab)
  • this is extremely short sighted by the judge IMO. Simply comparing other industries such as the Television would prove that items can clearly be identical in shape and function and continue to be different from competitive point of view. I mean seriously. How many LCD monitors look nearly the same or flat panel TVs....this is troubling.
  • I completely agree.
    Ford Motor Co. didn't sue Chevy because they had 4 tires, rear view mirror, trunk, or side mirrors. Automobiles, basically, are the same and so are TVs, phones, tablets, etc..... Imagine if Ford Motor Co. had patent 4 wheels on an Apple needs to get over itself.
  • This is by far the best comparison I have seen. Mind if I use it against my pro-Apple friends? :P
  • Apple didn't sue Samsung because they made a tablet, it's because of its design. The touchpad nor the xoom are being blocked, it's the Galaxy Tab! Watch YouTube reviews of it, almost everybody says it's an android iPad. There are many ways to make tablets, many people have done it differently, like Sony.
    Actually, look at this image:
  • You fan boys, and specifically that picture, annoy the crap out of me. It's hilariously inaccurate. You're wrong wrong wrong! The fact that you immediately listen to what someone online has said without doing any research (or intentionally choosing not to do research since it supported your case) is annoying!
  • First off Apple has announced lawsuits against the Xoom and the Touch pad is dead, also they are even after the 7" version of the galixy tab. Samsung has done plenty to differentiate it's self from the ipad in both form and function. 16:10 vs 4:3 aspect ratio, landscape vs portrait, different shape/size screen, different camera location, no physical button, curved edge vs wedge edge and more speakers. All that even before you turn it on and then even more differences occur. Sure they still look similar but so do many other products like kitchen appliances and t.v's. To give Apple sole and exclusive rights to tablet evolution is pure insanity. This judge is telling all tablet makers that they have to make large, bulky and heavy devices with lots of ports or be sued witch is completely ridiculous. Since when does Apple have the right to highjack thinner and lighter? Who in there right mind would give Apple a monopoly on minimalistc design, a concept present in the art world for 40 years and as part of philosophy for millennium. The Duch courts had it right when they tossed 9 of 10 Apple patents out and an appeal to a higher/more intelligent court in Germany should accomplished the same. All electronic devices shrink as the components are made smaller and always have done so. Only delusional Apple fans and in this case a misinformed/ignorant judge would consider it fair for Apple to use Samsung's components for there minimalitic designs but Samsung can't use there own parts to do the same. It's called competition and that's something Apple is clearly afraid of.
  • But LEXUS sued BMW because "the 2008 BMW 7-series have the same roof line & rear quarter panels design as the 2006 Lexus LS460" , even though the 2008 BMW 7-series is just an updated design of the 2002 BMW 7-series body (sheetmetal)
  • It's not about the car having 4 wheels. It's about Chevy building a copy of a Mustang and trying to sell it. Get it?
  • I'm glad Samsung isn't giving up on this.
  • This of crap. Ford should sue GM because they make a car with four wheels.
  • My hatred for crapple grows stronger by the day!! This is just pain stupid. These old judges know nothing of modern technology. SMH!!
  • This is a big blow for consumers as it limits their choice, especially if they feel Samsung's tablet is better. This is also a big blow to the industry. But I don't know if Samsung didn't present every tablet that was there before the iPad before the judge to compare. I would have done that
  • Basically it seems that Judge has given Apple a monopoly in Germany because every tablet looks the same pretty much. Apple can simply go after each tablet maker now on the same grounds.
  • That seals it for me. I will never own an Apple product and a Samsung phone is likely to be my first phone upgrade on Sprint. I hope the Nexus Prime is from Samsung. I hope the Galaxy Note comes to Sprint. If all else fails, I'll get the Galaxy S II. SCREW APPLE. Sorry, but the Galaxy line doesn't look ANYTHING like the iPad or iPhone. Apple must be really scared of Samsung's product, seeing as how Android is overtaking iPhone. This will get very interesting when ICS arrives. Maybe Samsung should pay Microsoft a license fee in order to end this nonsense.
  • With a little PhotoShop, the Galaxy looks like an iPad...
  • Exactly! Amazing the judge didn't notice that. The judge is being paid off. Screw Aplle, I'll never buy another one of their products. They've become the same company they made fun of IBM for being in 1984.
  • Exactly! Amazing the judge didn't notice that. The judge is being paid off. Screw Aplle, I'll never buy another one of their products. They've become the same company they made fun of IBM for being in 1984.
  • So, the Germans are okay with an Apple monopoly? Apple is using the German court as a tool to block Samsung from competing with them.
  • Lol - I wonder how much Apple stock that German judge owns?
  • Honestly Samsung just needs to come up with its own unique design, most of their phones look like a mock up of the iPhone, and yes the Tab as well looks like the iPad. I love Android and everything but Sammy needs to step up and quit following Apple's design. Just like the Chrysler 300 was a mock up of ....? You get it.
  • Please explain how they followed Apple's design? The Tab looks like the iPad simply because it has a rectangle screen and a black bezel, both of which are essential to any tablet. Should they have made the screen white or round? How about putting a big hole in the center so it looks like an Eye?
  • if you look at a phone and your first instinct is its an iphone, thats a problem...likewise, i went looking for the galaxy tabs at best buy the other day, and just glancing down the aisles i walked right past them several times due to the fact that i thought they were ipads, only when i got up close did i realize they were galaxy tabs...the galaxy sII(international version) even has the home button the same as the iphones do...not to mention, touchwiz looks like ios
  • people mistook my tilt, tilt2 and epic for te iphone. it really just depends how ignorant one is. the international version has a physical home button which is flanked by two capacitive buttons. and if anything, it's the APP DRAWER in touchwiz THREE that looks like the iphone's HOMESCREEN. the icons in touchwiz 4 look different. but i suppose if you swipe from left to right in the app drawer then the entire touchwiz interface looks like ios?
  • I cant think of one touchscreen phone or Tablet that doesn't, in some form or fashion look similar to the iPhone or iPad. That being said I cant think of one flatscreen tv that looks drastically different than another, or a computer monitor that looks different than another, or a table or a desk or a chair or a door or a gps unit or a stereo or a fishing pole, or anything else on the market. I really liked apple products although when it comes to phones I'm an android guy but I will never buy an apple product based on their cowardly business tactics. You cant just sue your way out of competitors... or maybe you can.
  • Samsung has had its hands all over the iphone design since its inception as a partnership with Apple. 25% of the iphone is from samsungs designs. The more critical components at that.
  • While I think Samsung's product has similarities with the Job's product but the German law and judge is either sleeping with Jobs, blind, or just plain idiotic when it comes to product design. You don't see Mercedes or Audi suing Honda and Toyota for having similar design on their cars. Or every other laptop looks like each other so ar they going to start banning that? They are now going for Japan...where does it end? I glad Samsung is fighting it because I'd like to see the cocky smug smile wiped off that face of his.
  • On the sleeping with Jobs part you are right, BUT then again maybe Sammy will come out with a whole new design to sell even more. As for the Honda and Toyota they look nothing alike, and for the laptops yes you are absolutely right. Then again look at the design of the LG Optimus black, thats a beautiful design and its very unique, or the Moto Photon, another gorgous device and again unique. Now look at an iPhone 3G and look at a Samsung Galaxy... better yet swipe through the software and tell me Sammy didnt say in their corporate offices " This iPhone is selling like hot cakes! Why dont we adopt Android and copy the iPhone in design! That way people who cant afford an iPhone will get one that looks like it!" Now i know the iPhone is cheap now but still ... if I was the CEO i would be like NO!!!! Go back to the drawing board and make something beautiful like our TV's!!
  • The photon has flat corners... that's about the end of innovation there.. although they did add a kickstand but they got that from HTC, its still not groundbreaking. The LG optimus black looks just like a Galaxy device from the front. And I'm pretty sure both are running Android... so what is different?? OOOhhhhh wait... Samsung actually competes, and the Galaxy S 2 obviously has Apple slightly concerned. As far as cost goes.. both phones cost the same to make so the iPhone isn't necessarily worth more, they just charge more.
  • Devi have you held a Moto Photon? Have you actually touched one? Trust me when I say its the most futureristic design on ANY Android phone out now!And I've owned just about every Android phone out there at onepoint. Its way different from seeing it in reviews and pictures etc than to actually hold one. That phone blew my mind away, but I had to take it back due to a low quality camera. I am not saying the iPhone is all great and all but if there's one company that likes to design behind the footsteps of Apple its Sammy.
  • Jesse813 you totally miss the whole point of business and sales.
  • German judge has either been paid off by Apple or is stupid. Ditto the LCD or TV comment. The iPad tablet design is a copy of Windows tablets before it but they made it thinner...wheee. Like cell phones are the same as those big satellite phones but smaller. How can you make a tablet unique while keeping it sleek? :-P
  • I don't care one way or the other, but I will say that the Asus Transformer managed to accomplish this without making their product look like an iPad.
  • +1 for the Transformer, deff very unique and tempting!!
  • The problem is, with a ruling like this Apple could technically GO after the transformer (if they win their case) The Transformer still violates the community design as this judge is likely to interpret it. The judge did NOT compare the device to the ipad2 for this ruling, but ONLY to the filing (which is a generic rectangle with rounded corners) With the keyboard the transformer IS unique, but separate Apple could claim it infringes.
  • I will never buy another Apple product (unless they come out with something really cool that I want)!!!
  • Not trying to start a war here but Apple makes SOLID products period. I own an Mac and a Macbook, I will never buy a PC, the quality of an Apple computer is just top notch. I have had an iPhone in the past and what made me switch is how boring it got, every other one looked identical, so it got boring to me. I am not saying i wouldnt go back to it, but for now Android has way more to offer, but honestly Android is getting boring to me now too- we all know 2.3 was one of the buggiest updates in Android and I hope Ice Cream Sandwich wil change my mind on this.
  • We, or oui, are you a french person, what are the bugs in android 2.3, as I am and 2.3 user, so I would really like to know of the "bugs"
  • Apple makes solid products eh? Well, do you realize that Apple's iPad is manufactured by Foxconn? And that Foxconn also makes PC parts? You're just another sucker that thinks brand = quality. Most computer parts come from Asia and I don't see that changing any time soon, whether it's Apple computers, HP computers, or anything else with chips in it.
  • All I have to say is Why did Samsung have to make pretty much an identical connection port to this tab as apple has for its iPad and all its iOS products? I could careless about these wars but that is just stupid IMO and trying to replicate it. Why not just use basic mini USB like everything else? I'm a big android phone and have had 4 android devices so I'm not in favor of the iPad, also cause I still don't find tablets something I need in my life, but common!
  • +1 for you comment +2 for the Lakers!
  • Because every other tablet maker (at least with android) is using a non-standard charging port as well?
  • Apple needs to stick to their group of users that like to stay inside the box with restrictions and rules and focus on that group. Otherwise the rest of the world that has opened their eyes has realized that Android is a nice open sourced platform with plently of options/devices/apps to boot and they are moving here by the thousands each day... Apple is really starting to look and act like a piece of spoiled fruit that it is... :p
  • This could have been avoided and its not like me to side with Apple but Samsung has been playing with Apple design fire and has now got burnt. Where's the Samsung Logo on the front like they have on there phones? Why not bring the metal of the tablet around to the front so its doesn't replicate the iPads simple clean black bezel? They could have simply made the corners sharper but no they opened the door for Apple to halt there sales of a great product which actually isn't made any better by these cosmetic features. What a shame they don't simply have belief in there hardware because the hardware is what is causing the sales not its cosmetic similarities to Apple products
  • Samsung should have made "dancing widgets" for the judge to notice them and realize the difference
  • Apple are annoyed that a company they see as a parts supplier are successfully competing with them (mainly on phones); so they have exploited a rather vague bit of local legislation - plus a very vague registration document they made a few years ago. A less blinkered court would have thrown it out, as the Dutch court did. However, Germans can buy then through other EU markets. I hope they do.
  • Sadly, I can kind of see similarities between the Tab 10.1 and the Ipad. Specifically the are by the camera on the back is a direct rip off of the IPad (minus flash) only with a landscape layout over portrait. That said I still think its ridiculous to block them anywhere as there are enough differences to invalidate Apples claim. Screen size, aspect ratio, OS look and feel, etc all differentiate the product. There are only so many ways to make and ultrathin and light device. I am even more surprised Apple was able to get this to stand up against the 7.7 Tab which is nothing like an iPad since Apple doesn't believe in choices and thus don't have different size iDevices. One good thing that can come out of all of this is hopefully Samsung will be forced to evolve TouchWiz's look and feel a bit more to get away from the Apple-esque icon's and dock layout and comeout with something nicer for their phones. I would also love to see them ditch the center click button on the next Galaxy phones, although they have been doing that since before the first iPhone.
  • I don't see the similarity besides it is a rectangular tablet. Apple is known for their circular hard home button. Samsung doesn't have that. That is big enough difference to tell the device apart. If this case is based on appearances... a hard button is a pretty big deal. I think so...
  • Apple is getting out of hand! Fortunately I'm not interested in any of this tablets! Take a look at this and tell why should i:
  • Apple is getting out of hand! Fortunately I'm not interested in any of this tablets! Take a look at this and tell why should i:
  • My Hyundai Azera looks like a Mercedes so Mercedes should sue Hyundai.Thats one of the worse ruling I have ever seen.Did the judge ever looked at ipad sales? Is Germany stipulating what tablets their citizens can use? Anyway this is going to make people overseas rather buy the galaxy tab through other retailers and what can Apple do about it, sue individuals also.Apple is certainly threaten - INNOVATE! that is what you are suppose to be working on, Android is moving at the speed of light.
  • Idk personally I can tell them apart myself but i can see how people confuse them.. in school some guy asked my classmate if his tab was an ipad so maybe the average people that aren't like us confuse them.. But I think if Samsung were to change the icons of touchwiz it wouldn't be as similar
  • I wonder how will this ruling will effect other Samsung consumer products sold in Germany. washing machines, flat panel television, ranges, microwaves... Are Maytag. SONY and Whirlpool rubbing their hands together..
  • Samsung just needs to buy Foxxcom who is building the iphones that would put a big ass stickler up the a$$ of apple. Make apple look for a new manufacture for their products and see how well they do. It is not like Foxxcom does not have enough issues with their management right now that buying them out is not possible.
  • Apple is scared...this proved it beyond doubt.