German appeals court says 'Nein' to Samsung's Galaxy Tab

A German appeals court today upheld an injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet today, ruling that the device infringes upon Apple's intellectual property.

The Higher Regional Court in Dusseldorf, Germany, today said that Samsung still may not sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Germany, upholding a ruling made by a lower court in Germany last year that found that the device infringed on Apple design patents that related to its popular iPad tablet.

BACKGROUND: Apple loses latest round in Android patent fight

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While today's ruling means that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 can't be sold in Germany, it currently has no impact on sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1n, a different tablet model that Samsung released to address Apple's claims that its tablet infringed upon its patents. As patent blogger Florian Mueller notes today, the Dusseldorf Regional Court is slated to announce a decision on the fate of the Galaxy 10.1n on Feb. 9 this year. If the court rules in favor of Samsung on the new model, Mueller says, then today's decision against the original 10.1 model would mean "next to nil" for Samsung commercially.

The latest ruling in the Android patent saga comes less than a week after a Dutch court found that the Galaxy Tab did not violate Apple's intellectual property rights and could thus be sold in the Netherlands and distributed throughout the European Union. A Dutch court last year had already issued an EU-wide preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy smartphone, however, meaning that Samsung would still have challenges in selling all its devices in the European market even if the German court had ruled in its favor today. Samsung has also agreed to voluntarily stop selling its Galaxy Tab in Australia until it has resolved all its intellectual property disputes with Apple.

Apple, Microsoft and other big tech companies have been suing manufacturers that create and sell devices based on Google's Android operating system for alleged patent infringement since 2010. Apple got the ball rolling by filing a lawsuit against HTC for allegedly infringing on 20 Apple patents in March 2010 and Microsoft followed shortly after by announcing it had reached a licensing agreement with HTC where the company would pay Microsoft royalties in exchange for the right to sell Android-based devices.

To combat these patent suits against Android vendors, Google has attempted to boost its own patent portfolio through both its failed bid to acquire valuable tech patents formerly held by Nortel and its announcement that it intends to pay $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility and its portfolio of 24,500 patents.

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