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Apple v Samsung: no copyright infringement but dispute continues

By Tim Sandle     Jan 24, 2012 in Technology
Apple’s claim that Samsung had heavily borrowed its design concept for the iPad have been rejected by a Dutch appeals court. However, the long-running dispute between the two technoloogy giants looks set to continue.
Apple have lost claim that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes its design rights at an appeals court in the Netherlands (the Gerechthof 's-Gravenhage). Previously the U.S. computer giant had attempted to issue an injunction against the South Korean Samsung tablet for ‘blatant copying’ of its design, which was unsuccessful.
As CNet reports, the decision by the Dutch court follows a ruling last year in California, by Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, where Apple’s attempt to argue that Samsung had infringed its patent was similarly dismissed.
According to the BBC, the Dutch court’s opinion was that there were numerous visual differences between the two devices, especially in relation to the backs and sides of Samsung's tablet, which uses the Android operating system, differing from the iPad's, and that the two firm's models differed in thickness. Thus, it was considered that consumers would be able to tell the difference between the devices.
PC World quotes an official announcement from Samsung as saying: “Samsung welcomes today's ruling by the court in the Hague, which affirms the August 2011 ruling that the design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is distinctive and does not infringe Apple's intellectual property rights. This ruling again demonstrates that Apple's products simply do not warrant the intellectual property protections that it believes."
The court also dismissed Apple’s claim that the design was unique, citing earlier patents which had similar designs. The move comes as one of a series of failures by Apple to claim that companies have infringed its designs. In an earlier expose by CNet, Apple are rumoured to have spent $10 million contesting the iPhone design against HTC for its range of mobile devices.
Apple is also planning to take the appeal to a court in Germany (the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court). Whether this will lead to a different outcome is uncertain, as is the implication if one European nation’s court rules one way and another country’s court rules another way. This difference of design opinion could be set to run for a while longer.
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