A EUROPEAN UNION (EU) design patent that fruit themed Apple used to win a sales ban on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 could be of little value after new evidence was shown in an appeal of the decision.
According to Bloomberg, Samsung bought in as evidence a US utility patent using a type of flat screen that was published 13 days before Apple filed its EU design patent.
At a hearing in Dusseldorf, the judge said this could limit the protection that Apple gets.
However, he said that Apple might still be able to rely on fair competition rules for a German ban, with a ruling set for 31 January.
"Apple's tablet design may have a rather broad range of protection, because it's widely known," said Judge Wilhelm Berneke. "But there are also elements that need to remain free, like the feature that tablets are very thin."
Both sides are appealing a 9 September sales ban issued by a lower court. While Samsung is looking to overturn the ban, Apple wants it extended to cover all EU countries and both Samsung's German sales company and its South Korea based parent.
The companies will face each other again tomorrow in the lower court, where Apple is also seeking a sales ban for the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Apple will only be able to get an EU wide ban if its design patent prevails on appeal. Under German fair competition rules it can only ask for a ban limited to that country
Source: The Inquirer (http://s.tt/14Xaq)