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German court: Samsung likely guilty of Apple design patent violation

updated 04:54 pm EDT, Tue June 25, 2013

Six older phones cited in January 2012 German Apple versus Samsung action

In the latest chapter of Apple and Samsung's legal travails in Germany, reports are surfacing that the same court which issued a preliminary injunction in the country against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 over a design patent will issue a similar ruling on Apple's claim that six older Samsung smartphones are also clear imitations of Apple products. Devices cited as infringing in this action include the Galaxy S I , Galaxy S Plus, Galaxy S II, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy R, and Galaxy Wave M.

Patent analyst Florian Mueller cites "an absolutely reliable and independent source" and reports that the court prior to the trial commencement today told both Apple and Samsung counsel that the position of the court is that Samsung has "created a derivative imitation of key characteristics of the iPhone."

Mueller clarifies German law in the matter by saying that "German unfair competition law prohibits imitation of a unique product or service. The analysis is holistically based on the overall impression made by the parties' products. Imitation requires a defendant's knowledge of the imitated product, which is an established fact in this case."

Apple claims that the similar designs cause confusion in consumers about which companies the products originate from, and the copies cause competitive harm from the imitations of various Apple products. German law does not require the court to agree with Apple's assessment of damage to its reputation or business to hold Samsung liable for the design imitation.

"A win in this unfair competition case involving Galaxy smartphones in a "neutral" country (where neither of the parties is headquartered) would buttress Apple's story of reckless copying by Samsung. In the public perception game and in psychological terms this would really benefit Apple," says Mueller.




by MacNN Staff

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