A German court has ruled that Samsung Electronics cannot sell its Galaxy Tab in Germany because it violated patents of rival Apple's iPad2 tablet computer.
Samsung can no longer sell or market its product in Germany
A court in the western German city of Dusseldorf on Friday banned the sale and marketing of Samsung's Tab 10.1 tablet in Germany because it too closely resembles Apple's iPad2.
The two home electronics giants are involved in a series of legal disputes in countries around the world over allegations that each has copied the other's technology.
Last month, the German court ruled in favor of Apple, based in Cupertino, California, forcing the South Korea-based Samsung to withdraw its tablet from the market. Samsung, however, challenged the ban.
In Germany, Apple said the Galaxy Tab 10.1 copied the community design of the iPad. Community design is a European Union legal right which protects the look and feel of products from imitation. Apple registered its design features in the EU in 2004.
Apple has also sued Samsung over smartphone features
Judge Johanna Brückner-Hoffmann said there was a "clear impression of similarity" between the Apple and Samsung products.
However, the court limited the sales ban to Germany, despite ruling in a previous judgement that the ban should be Europe-wide. It said the court could only order a Europe-wide ban for a firm headquarterd outside the EU if this firm had a German subsidiary, which Samsung does not.
Tab 10.1 removed from trade fair
Patents on technology inside the devices were not at stake in the Dusseldorf ruling. Aside from the legal battle, differing technology has also hampered Samsung's efforts to catch up with Apple; the Galaxy range uses Google's Android operating system.
The court also ordered Samsung to take another new model - the smaller Galaxy Tab 7.7 - off the market in Germany, forcing the company to remove those devices from its pavilion at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin earlier this week.
Industry analysts say in the fast-moving market for tablet computers, which have a very short shelf life before becoming obsolete, even a temporary ban on sales can be fatal.
The two companies are locked in legal battles in Australia, the United States and Asia. Samsung has filed a suit of its own in South Korea seeking to ban the sale of Apple products in its home market.
Author: Gregg Benzow (dpa, AFP, AP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler