Implications for tablets in Europe if Apple wins patent battle in Germany

“What is the difference between an air freshener bottle and a tablet computer? Quite a lot, Apple will be hoping, when it returns to court in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Thursday 25 August trying to prove the Samsung Tab 10.1 is a copy of the iPad,” Nick Clayton reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“The importance of the air freshener bottles is they were the focus of the first Community design case to go all the way through the appeals process. Proctor & Gamble claimed Reckitt Benckiser’s ‘Air Wick Odour Stop’ copied the ‘Febreze Air Effects’ canister. Much to the surprise of many intellectual property (IP) lawyers Procter & Gamble lost the case,” Clayton reports. “‘From that point on everybody looked at registered design and thought, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on,’ said Alexander Carter Silk, partner and head of the IP, technology and commercial team at law firm Speechly Bircham.”

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Clayton reports, “So Apple appears to be the first major technology company to use European design law for litigation. But its victory would have wide repercussions. If it can be shown that the Samsung Galaxy Tab has infringed European Union design-right, it could allow Apple to use the regulations against other competitors. It might also make design-right a new legal battleground of choice for technology companies in Europe… A victory for Apple in the Netherlands would do severe damage to Samsung as most of its European imports are thought to pass through the port of Rotterdam. The case for an injunction will be held on September 15, but if approved would not come into force before October 13.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You be the judge. Apple’s products came first, then Samsung’s:

Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement


[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sarah” for the heads up.]


  1. Nokia’s smartphones (N8 or N9) looking nothing like the iPhone, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S is very similar looking to the iPhone in order to mimic it. It’s very easy to build tablets that look nothing like the iPad from the sides or back.

    Apple didn’t build a tablet that looked like the typical Windows tablets, so I don’t see why Samsung built a tablet that looked so close to the iPad except to pass it off to consumers as an iPad knock-off.

    It doesn’t matter what I think, so let the courts decide. At a glance those two Samsung products look close enough to Apple’s products to the degree that I’m absolutely certain Apple is going to win the case. Samsung just went a bit too far to emulate the iPhone and iPad.

    I know when Ford came out with the Mustang, the Chevy Camaro looked nothing like it despite having four wheels just like the Mustang yet they were both pony cars and were distinctive from each other. They were not carbon copies at all.

  2. You’d have thought that corporate pride would have motivated Samsung to produce at least a differently coloured bezel and corner radius.

    With a steel-grey scheme, and tighter corner, the Samsungs would not only have their own look, but probably avoid the courts too.

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