Dutch court rules against Apple

A Dutch appeals court has rejected Apple’s claim that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes its design rights and follows a ruling last year in which a judge threw out Apple’s call for an injunction against its rival’s tablet in the Netherlands.

Next week a German appeals court is set to rule on a design related injunction granted in the country.

The judges noted that the backs and sides of Samsung’s tablet differed from that of the iPad and that the two firm’s models were different in thickness, thus allowing informed users to distinguish between the two devices.

Apple had been seeking a wide definition of its design rights, such as that the iPad looked like a “mirror-smooth lake” onto which an image appeared. The Dutch court disagreed with such a wide definition and dismissed the appeal.

However, the Dutch court ruled that Apple could only claim a narrower definition since the “characteristic elements” of its design had previously appeared other works including a 1994 concept video produced by the Knight Ridder newspaper group and a 2004 US patent filed in the name of inventor Helmers Ozolins.

Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court is likely to consider the latest ruling when it hears Samsung’s appeal against a German sales ban imposed on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 last August. Samsung subsequently redesigned its tablet and released the Galaxy Tab 10.1N in November.

However, Apple is also seeking to ban the newer model and a ruling is scheduled to be given in early February.

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