The ruling handed down by the highest court in Netherlands has come as a huge blow to Apple’s ambitions to keep Samsung’s tablets out of play. The Dutch court deduced that Samsung has not infringed on Apple’s patents and that the Galaxy Tabs were sufficiently different from Apple’s iPad in terms of design.
Apple has been vigorously opposing the entry of Samsung’s tablet computers into Netherlands, on the grounds of patent infringement. Apple’s says that iPad has a distinct design and form factor, particularly the rounded rectangle, which has been blatantly copied by Samsung, and therefore the Galaxy Tab should be banned from being sold in Netherlands. Apple has secured design patents for this “rounded rectangle” all over the world and has been battling Samsung in courts ever since the Galaxy Tab came out.
The highest court in Netherlands admitted that the iPad does have a “unique character”, but also said that the Galaxy Tab was not too similar to the iPad. The court further elaborated that any informed user will easily be able to tell the difference between the two. The court went on to cite the example of the Knight Ridder tablet, which was designed about 15 years prior to iPad’s inception.
The ruling is a major setback to Apple, and a huge relief for Samsung. The Samsung representative in Netherlands commented on the ruling saying, "Apple was not the first tablet designed with a rectangular shape and rounded corners. No company should have a monopoly on general design."