Galaxy tabs didn’t copy iPad, Dutch court rules

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Galaxy tabs didn’t copy iPad, Dutch court rules

A Dutch court on Wednesday ruled in favor of Samsung Electronics in a trial against Apple concerning tablet computer patent rights.

The Hague District Court decided that three of Samsung’s tablet PCs - its Galaxy Tab 7.7, 8.9 and 10.1 - did not infringe on the design patent of Apple’s iPad.

The court battle started in June 2011 as Apple asked the Hague court to impose a preliminary injunction on the three Samsung devices, but the U.S. tech titan failed in its bid. Samsung three months later filed a suit against Apple, asking the same court to confirm that Samsung products did not copy those belonging to Apple. Wednesday’s ruling concerns the second case.

“We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners, and that the origins of Apple’s registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art,” said Samsung in a statement regarding the Dutch ruling. “Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited.”

The Netherlands is one of nine countries in which Apple and Samsung are suing each other. They are now embroiled in almost 30 such suits.

Last July, a U.K. judge decided there were recognizable differences between the three Galaxy Tabs and Apple’s iPads. He stirred controversy by adding that the Samsung tablet was not “cool” enough to be confused for an Apple device.

The Dutch court is believed to have fallen in line with the U.K. ruling as this case revolves around a design, rather than technical, patent. According to FOSS Patents, a popular blog, design patents are subject to EU-level laws, whereas technical patents are decided on a country-by-country basis.


By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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