US tech firm Apple has gained partial success in its feud with rival Samsung over patent rights. A court in Germany banned a Samsung tablet computer from markets in Europe, but a successor version may be sold.
An appeals court in Dusseldorf on Tuesday banned sales of Samsung's 7.7-inch version of its Galaxy Tab series in the European Union on the grounds that the tablet computer infringes on Apple's design patent for its bestselling iPad.
However, the court denied Apple a German-wide ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N - a larger computer remodeled by the South Korean firm to sidestep Apple's legal challenge in Germany.
The ruling came after Apple had appealed the decision of a lower German court in February, which found that the changes made by Samsung to the successor model rendered the tablet sufficiently different to the iPad.
Appellate court judge Wilhelm Berneke upheld that ruling, saying that Samsung's adaptions were "sufficiently distinguishable" from Apple's product, due to its prominent company logo, wide frame and cut-outs for its loudspeakers.
The rulings by the two German courts are preliminary and may be subject to change when Apple pursues the case at a higher court, which will involve a full-scale hearing.
A billion dollar gamble
Apple and Samsung have been fighting each other in dozens of court cases worldwide over patent rights and legally registered designs.
Apple accuses Samsung of "slavishly" copying its iPhone and iPad designs, while Samsung insists the US firm uses technology it has patented.
Meanwhile, Apple is allegedly seeking damages to the tune of $2.5 billion (2.1 billion euros) from Samsung in a court case beginning in California next Monday.
Apple allegedly will claim damages from Samsung for lost sales and licensing revenue from its products.
German patent lawyer Florian Müller told the dpa news agency that in documents relating to the case Apple's lawyers considered the sum a "conservative estimate."
uhe/ncy (dpa, AFP)