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Court partially lifts EU sales ban on Samsung computers

Samsung is now free to sell tablet computers in the EU except Germany.

The district court (Landgericht) of Düsseldorf, Germany lifted its 9 August injunction, at least until another hearing on 25 August.

Sales of Galaxy tab computers had been blocked in the EU after Apple won a patent infringement lawsuit. Apple had accused Samsung of copying the design of its iPhone and iPad products and infringing ten patents.

But the Düsseldorf court may not have been competent to enjoin a Korean company from selling products outside of Germany, says Florian Mueller, intellectual property analyst and author of the Floss patents blog.

“Should the court really find that the Düsseldorf court didn’t have personal jurisdiction over a Korean company, this would reinforce a lot of people’s impression that Apple’s enforcement of design-related rights is, even though understandable to a certain degree, overreaching in some areas,” Mueller writes.

He adds that the issue may be due to an ambiguous translation of the relevant EU regulation.

Samsung Korea could be sued in any EU Member State where it has an ‘establishment’. But the German translation of ‘establishment’ can be interpreted in different ways, Mueller says.

If Samsung’s German subsidiary isn’t considered an ‘establishment’ of Samsung Korea, “Apple would have had to sue (or might still sue) in Spain” because the EU’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market is based in Alicante, Spain.