Apple and Samsung have been in dispute over Apple’s European Community design registration for the tablet computer iPad, and Samsung’s competing product, the “Galaxy Tab 10.1”. We reported the initial skirmishes in January this year.
Apple failed, on appeal in both Germany and The Netherlands, to obtain a Community-wide preliminary injunction for design infringement.
Apple sued Samsung in the UK, arguing that the Galaxy Tab infringed its Community design registration in the UK.
The judge considered the most important similarities between the Galaxy Tab and Apple’s design to be:
The judge held that there are also differences, the most important being the thinness of the Galaxy Tab, and the detailing on the back of each of the devices.
The judge decided that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab does not infringe Apple’s Community design in the UK.
In his judgement, the judge said “the informed user's overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool. The overall impression produced is different”.
Samsung is challenging the validity of Apple’s Community design registration, and it is likely that courts around Europe will stay proceedings until the Community Designs Office (OHIM) decides on the registration.
In the US, a court has awarded Apple a preliminary injunction, to prevent Samsung selling the Galaxy Tab in the US.
The latest UK decision is unlikely to be the last we hear from Apple – the court has given leave for it to appeal the decision.