Samsung tweaks Galaxy Tab 10.1 design to beat German ban

By Lee Kaelin on November 18, 2011, 8:30 AM

Samsung is getting ready to launch a modified version of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany after it had its original version banned by German courts in September. The refreshed model features a more pronounced silver bezel, the speakers have been relocated from the sides to the front of the tablet and several cosmetic tweaks have been made to change the overall feel of the display.

"Samsung decided to introduce this new version in order to meet consumer demand for our innovative and distinctive products," a Samsung representative commented when speaking with the BBC. They will still need to seek approval of the German courts before legally selling the refreshed model in either case.

Florian Mueller, a patent consultant posted on the Foss Patents blog, "I'm not in the position to say that this product definitely steers clear of infringement." He pointed out that it was up to the courts to decide whether they felt the "community design" was still being infringed.

"A Community design is infringed only if all of its key characteristics are matched, or if that is the overall impression on an informed person. The Galaxy Tab 10.1N still has rounded corners, but Apple doesn't have an exclusive right on just one such feature: what is protected is a set of characteristics and the overall impression it makes," he further commented.

Apple is yet to comment publicly about the announcement but it is very likely the Cupertino-based firm will seek a new injunction claiming the tweaked tablet still infringes the current court order, which bans sales of the Samsung device in Germany. The company is likely to stick by its original comments in April this year when it said that Samsung was blantantly copying its Apple iPhone and iPad products.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1N is set to be an exclusive product for the German market and is already beginning to appear on German technology sites for sale. The South-Korean electronics giant said it should be available for purchase in the next couple of weeks.

On Tuesday in Australia, Samsung won an early hearing in March 2012 for the counter-lawsuit it has filled against Apple to have iPhone sales banned for violation of its 3G wireless patents. Justice Bennett flat out refused Apple's requests to hold back proceedings until August next year on the grounds that Samsung needed a resolution to the ongoing problems.

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