Friday, May 31, 2013, 08:57 am PT (11:57 am ET)
Dutch Supreme Court rules Samsung's Galaxy Tab doesn't infringe on iPadThe highest court in the Netherlands handed down a disappointing verdict for Apple on Friday, finding its claims that Samsung had infringed on the design of its iPad to be invalid.
The court's ruling will likely put an end to Apple's efforts to get Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned from import into the Netherlands, according to Nu.nl (via SamMobile). Apple holds a design patent in Europe on the iPad, but the Supreme Court limited the applicability of that design patent, claiming prior art.
With a few exceptions here and there, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 reproduces much of the look and feel of Apple's original iPad, which featured similar materials. One of the larger issues in the case was the "rounded-rectangle" aspect of the iPad, a feature for which Apple has secured design patents wherever possible around the world.
The Court allowed that the iPad had a "unique character," but that alone was not enough to secure a victory for Apple. The Court pointed to concepts such as the Knight Ridder tablet — the design of which predates the iPad by some 15 years — and said that the design of Samsung's tablets differs enough from the iPad that an informed user could easily tell the difference.
The ruling comes as final confirmation of a ruling from last year, in which a Dutch appeals court also rejected Apple's claim of infringement.
Apple has had mixed luck in the Netherlands in its years-long patent struggle against Samsung. In October of last year, a Dutch court found that had not infringed on Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent. Samsung representatives were pleased with Friday's verdict.
"Apple was not the first tablet designed with a rectangular shape and rounded corners," Samsung Netherlands reps said. "No company should have a monopoly on general design."
Apple has not issued a response to the ruling.
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