back to article Injunction suspended: EU can buy Galaxy Tabs again

The German court which imposed an EU-wide ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 has suspended it, on the grounds that it may not have the authority to impose such a decision, the Wall Street Journal reports. The ban was based on the Tab's similarity to Apple's iPad, which the court still reckons is too much for coincidence, but the …


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  1. Mike Judge

    "better snap one up quickly before they disappear again."

    Is anyone REALLY stupid enough to believe that this won't be permenently overturned, and Apple forced to pay Samsung a shitload of money, just like LG had to pay Sony a shitload of money last year over the 2 week PS3 ban over something that turned out to be a load of old chaff....

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge


      The ban would have damaged Samsung's image which might be worth more than any money Apple are forced to pay.

      In the corporate environment you might think twice if asked to order a bunch of tablets if they might be banned.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: but

        "In the corporate environment you might think twice if asked to order a bunch of tablets if they might be banned."

        Banned? The only problem you'd have is that it might be difficult to get more of them if you think they're nice and that your employees like them enough. You make it sound like a bunch of Eurocops will be knocking down people's doors and confiscating illicit goods, prohibition-style, when any liability at the customer end is practically zero.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        Actually... In the corporate world Apple will be forced to pay exactly the amount of money which equates to Samsung image damage. That is the way the world works.

      3. Stu_The_Jock

        erm actually . . .

        I work for a multinational company that has ordered a stack of these for all their technicians to use as a mobile data platform. Going to be a damn sight easier to log job details on that that a stupis smart phone with a 4" screen. Worried about the ban ? Nope, merely a bit annoyed about the delay . . we're still due to get the first batch into the country BEFORE they hit the shops. (Hope mine is here before my holiday)

      4. DPWDC


        Quite the opposit. I wasn't interested in a galaxy before, but as it is causing enough of a stir at Apple for them to try and ban it outright, it must be decent bit of kit!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      So buy it while it's legal... ;-)

  2. Richard 45

    Title is required

    ... and Apple get declared a vexatious litigant?

  3. EddieD

    One other thing...

    How the heck the German judge arrive at the decision that he had the right to impose German copyright law on the whole of the EU?

  4. Jonathan White


    Before the queues form!

    1. Usually Right or Wrong

      Because Germany is the EU

      with France 2nd and everyone else joint 25th.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Equal partners

        The EU is often said to run on a franco-german motor. They are both equally up to their necks in it: Germany provides the money, political will and organisational skills and France provides the histrionics.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Equal partners

          "...a franco-german motor."

          So the EU is like a Mercedes[1] then?

          [1] A German car that breaks down a lot, is expensive to repair and electrical faults are impossible to fix.

      2. David Dawson


        to the Franco German steel union.

    2. Peladon

      Maybe it's right, maybe it's wrong (with apologies to Kalmar and Ruby)


      In a manner similar to that by which an American judge can authorise the sequestration of domain names held and operated in a foreign conutry (yes, I know about the root domain name servers and the unavoidable element of 'operation' that lives in the US).

      That is, because they say so, and that saying stands until somebody else they think they have to listen to says different.

      Ain't saying it's right. Ain't saying it's wrong. Just saying it's so.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      I don´t need no stinking title

      Proberbly because germany payes for 80% of the EU while countries like the UK, spain and the other penhandlers just scrounch of of it.

      1. Greg 16

        countries like the UK

        Except that we are the second largest contributor after Germany - which makes sense as they have the larger economy and population.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Say again?

        I thought the UK was one of the largest net contributors?

      3. Goat Jam

        Scrounching pen handlers

        Burn them! Burn them all!

      4. Dodgy Pilot
        Thumb Down

        Not surprised ...

        ... that you logged in as "Anonymous Coward".

    4. Thom Brown

      Reich from wrong

      Maybe it's a very old judge from an old generation that refuses to accept Germany didn't win the Second World War.

      1. Steve Brooks

        they have, just took bit longer

        "Maybe it's a very old judge from an old generation that refuses to accept Germany didn't win the Second World War."

        What was the purpose of WW2, first to take over Europe, then extend it to the world. Stage 1, mission accomplished, stage 2 may take a bit longer, stand by for a pubic service announcement. I daresay if it hadn't been for that nuisance Hitler stage 1 would have been accomplished a lot quicker.

    5. dssf

      Is there scope in the law to punish for being a..

      MENDACIOUS litigant? Vexatious connotes (to me) a feeling of just styming or stultifying someone or some company. Mendatious sort of imports a feeling of voracious ruthlessness in the dirty deed.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge


        wot he sed.

    6. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: One other thing

      Same way a British judge can impose a gagging superinjunction applicable to TEH HOLE WURLD!!11!!

      Sheer stupidity with a healthy dose of delusions of grandeur......

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @One other thing

    Would you rather hire lawyers, file registrations and defend your own software's rights in 27 separate countries? Or would you like a common set of trademark standards?

    1. Graham Dawson

      That doesn't actually answer the question

      Merits or otherwise of the EU aside, the question was how did a German court arrive at the conclusion that it had the right to set an injunction across the entire EU, when the EU itself says probably not, not whether such a right would be desirable.

    2. Oninoshiko

      Bravo, sir!

      That is an beautiful non-sequitor.

      The person you are responding to did not ask "What makes him think rights holders want German copyright law imposed across the EU?" he asked "what makes him think he has the right to impose German copyright law across the EU?"

      A German deciding German law should be imposed over all of the EU member-states is no less arrogant then an American deciding American law should be imposed across all EU member-states. Sovereign states are sovereign.

    3. Gary B.

      How about...

      ...patent laws that actually make sense, and not just based on something "looking like" something else. Last I checked, nearly all computer keyboards look similar, yet no one there is going around waving patent infringement lawsuits on everyone else.

      If Apple is so concerned that people will snatch up the Tab 10.1 because it LOOKS like an iPad (I'm assuming the prices are rather similar), where they might otherwise have gotten an iPad, maybe they should look at figuring out what people find more appealing about their competition, than trying to stop there from BEING any competition.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: @One other thing

      "Would you rather hire lawyers, file registrations and defend your own software's rights in 27 separate countries? Or would you like a common set of trademark standards?"

      Is it about trademarks? Not last time I checked. But anyway, everyone knows that it's all about choosing the nicest venue and then ramming through favourable legal decisions across as big an area as possible. That's what the US is like and there's no reason to suspect the EU is any better.

      The ugly face of "harmonisation" is all about giving corporations all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks of a level playing field: "We still want to be able to kick the ball and have it go much faster towards their goal than it does the other way around!"

      1. Handle This
        Big Brother

        re: Bravo, sir!

        And that is an interesting observation. Since I simply don't know the answer, i will ask: how far does individual sovereignty of individual nations go under the umbrella of the EU in commercial/economic or political disputes? Is it akin to the original Confederation of States first adopted by the United States? You will recall that this failed due to an inability to get everyone facing the same direction, and a new Constitution was necessary. This, in turn, was tested when certain states, under the banner of "state sovereignty" attempted, by force, to withdraw from their earlier agreement. How much elasticity does the EU provide in commercial settings like this to prevent the economic (or other) warfare that can result from perceived preferences of judicial or political decisions? There must be some mechanism . . . I'm not sure I really expect an answer, but I have found that this group does not tend to shy away from discussions only peripherally related to IT . . .

        Thanks in advance for the education / entertainment.

        1. Graham Dawson

          @Handle This

          The EU is not like the US. The US constitution specifically states that any powers not granted to the federal government by the constitution are retained by the states or the people which, until relatively recently, meant that the federal government had very little actual power. Strictly speaking it still has very little actual power, but it has arrogated a great deal to itself following the american civil war and the subsequent war powers acts and various inter-war acts that granted it "temporary" power during the world wars. Nevertheless, the states are still able to legislate freely in all areas except foreign affairs and, to a lesser extent, military spending. They can't create legislation that interferes with inter-state commerce, but that doesn't actually prevent much. Meanwhile, federal laws become laws the moment they are signed by the president, without any froo-farah or re-implementation by the states.

          In the EU, the situation is quite different. Member-states have very little sovereignty these days. Instead here there is a concept of subsidiarity: When a directive is created in a specific legislative area, that entire area becomes off-limits to member-states, except where the EU specifically allows them to continue legislating. An example is road safety. The EU has created certain directives on road safety in order to harmonise road safety practices across the entire union. The up-shot of that is that member-states are no longer allowed to legislate in that area, with the result that when, several years ago, a proposal was put forward in Parliament to require more and more visible reflective markers on trucks in the UK, it was shot down because that area of legislation was an EU competence.

          Were the EU to allow member-states to exercise subsidiarity in that area, it would have included wording to that effect in the directives that had granted it competence over that area of legislation.

          Also worth remembering that, unlike US federal legislation, directives (not including technical and regulatory directives) have to be implemented into law by the member-states' own legislatures, which leads to what may be politely referred to as fuck-ups, as amendments and translation issues introduce little caveats and minor but significant differences - and worth remembering, too, that each country has it's own legal system that has to be taken in to account when drafting legislation to implement a directive, which leads to some instances of law that directly conflicts with existing legislation.

          Now, of course the issue is a german court, rather than the german legislature. The courts are also rather peculiar. There are no equivalents of the US federal court circuits, nor any direct equivalent of the supreme court, with the closest being the European Court of Justice (and please remember that the European Court of Human Rights is not an EU institution - something I often forget in my rantings). Member-state courts function as both "state" and "federal" courts, but there is a horrible amount of overlap due to the aforementioned subsidiarity and competence issue. If a german court were to rule on a purely german legal issue, it would have no effect outside of germany. If, however, a german court ruled on an issue that had become an EU competence, there is currently no clear measure of where that court's jurisdiction ends. Does it merely rule on the german law implementing the directive, or against the directive itself? Do directives grant german courts jurisdiction over the entire EU when ruling on that particular competence? It hasn't been decided yet

          Then the issue becomes, what to do? On one side you'll have people who say "the system must be clarified, streamlined and simplified". They would favour tighter integration and harmonisation, with the EU becoming more of a unitary state. Another side would say "we need to loose, and rationalise", turning the EU into a federal model similar to the United States circa 1880, with very little power residing in the central government. A third group would say "lets call the whole thing off", desiring an admittedly messy divorce and a restoration of national sovereignty, along more holding our own politicians to account. All three would solve the issue of lack of clarity in different ways. I favour the latter, though I'd also be able to live with the second option, but whichever side of the issue you stand on it's pretty clear that the way things are at the moment is a complete and utter mess and that some clarity would go a long way.

          There are other arguments too (one being that the EU is largely useless, as the majority of it's activity is to be merely a rather meddlesome middle-man between the member-states and the various ISO committees) but this post is going on far too long.

          1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

            The Lisbon Treaty

            Maybe the judge had a bit of a brainfart because one of the aspects of the Lisbon Treaty is that it reinforces the principle of mutual recognition, which allows a court in one EU country to recognise and enforce a criminal conviction from another.

            While what crApple have done is criminal but the case they took was a civil action.

            The Lisbon treaty also establishes the "minimum rules" on mutual admissibility of evidence, however crApple seem to have interpreted this as "minimum standard".

    5. David Gale

      No, thanks!

      If by 'common set of trademark standards' you mean allowing a German court to rule on UK patent law then, no, thank you.

  6. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Judges overstepping as normal

    This is the Germans just proving they employ the same non-thinking, drunk, senile old gits as the UK does. Clearly the guy has NO power over what Korean products are sold in this country, nor should he have.

    As to the 'evidence' - it appears (from the BBC) that the lawyers have some what distorted the facts in order to get a duff injunction.

    Personally if I were Samsung I would be taking the judge himself to court for compensation, followed immediately afterwards by taking the lawyers to court for damaging my reputation.

    Hopefully both will occur and both the Judge and the Lawyers will all personally end up bankrupt.

    1. Handle This

      Overstepping is sometimes better than sleepwalking

      it is my understanding that most nations have their own laws, or treaties, etc., and that it is incumbent upon the judiciary of each nation to maintain those laws in order to allow the reflection of the society that created those laws. For instance, it is permitted for a court to order an unsafe product out of a market over which that court holds jurisdiction, if the local laws define that product in that way. To do otherwise would expose a society to unreasonable harm (as that is defined by the applicable law). I expect that this is the analogous reasoning taking place. The question is the extent of the applicable jurisdiction, not the inherent right to enforce laws affecting that jurisdiction. In other words, the judge cannot stop Samsung from making the item, but can prevent it being marketed where such marketing would violate the laws of the court's jurisdiction. Overstepping in application, to the extent no one seems to know how far such a decision can be enforced, but not in theory. If you say the judge had no right, I believe you, but there seems to be some doubt all around at the moment.

  7. Roger Stenning

    I'd rather...

    Tell a certain company where they can stick their complaint, but that's me ;-)

  8. Disgruntled

    getting somewhere

    Looks like some form of sanity might be emerging in this whole debacle

    Hopefully this will make HTC feel safe enough to finally release the Puccini so we can have some real competition in this sector

  9. Steve Evans

    Oh great...

    So now we have courts making rulings that even they don't know if they have the authority to do!

    Well it's good to know they check such things out before making huge judgements which could have multi-million Euro impacts... Oh hang on, they didn't did they.

    Jeeez... Now I'm not sure what's worse, lawyers or judges.

  10. AC34

    Obvious marketing campaign

    Samsung Tab - The one Apple were desperate to ban..

    (Perhaps a slightly more pithy version, but you get the idea..)

    1. Anon the mouse

      this is a title, this is my thumb, this ones for headers, this ones for.......

      Sounds like a pretty decent marketing slogan for the print media campaign :)

  11. Dazed and Confused Silver badge


    Hopefully the entire Apple legal team will be enjoying new accommodation at the expense of the German government.

  12. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Publicity could not by worse ... for Apple

    What this legal spat tells me is that Apple are sure they cannot compete on performance/price.

  13. Syren Baran

    Dont jest about the germans too much

    The "Einstweilige Verfügung" (temporary injunction) is an unbeurocratic tool to preserve ones rights, e.g. if someone would import something like the "hiPhone5" Apple could have gotten a quick legal injunction.

    Misusing this measure can have more than trivial consequences.

    If the court declares this this evidence faked the Steve himself could face 1-10 years in prision according to §269 StGB (faking evidence).

    1. Handle This

      Good Point

      A good point. If I recall the original news item I read about the injunction (presented on El Reg, of course), it mentioned potential jail time and personal penalties against Samsung management if the company were found liable - a combination of civil and criminal penalties. Does anyone know whether such a punishment was specifically sought by Apple, and whether such a request would/could be taken seriously in this type of action? If Apple actually pressed for the imprisonment of Samsung's masters, then my opinion of that fruity little beggar is dropping rapidly. (The use of "fruity little beggar" shows where it is now.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    OT: a little on EU

    I think motivation for a European Union was mostly post-war (1945+) as France and Germany were a bit fed up with seeing lots of white crosses appear all over the place.

    Memory runs: BeNeLux (yes, that was (and still might be?) an official term) more or less decided that where France and Germany went they would soon follow. The alternatives were not really attractive coming out from quite a serious war with everyone hoping to help each other recover to a more civil based society rather than militaristic or imperialist. Post-war realism?

    UK politicians on the other hand (like USA ones?) were worried about a huge European landmass of nations into a nation fears including a states-like European model or a soviet-style European model. Plus biggest fear: what if they aligned politically and an influential chap with a small smudgy moustache appeared with strong fascistic tendencies.

    Another biggest fear was a European currency with Europe matching strength of super powers USA and USSR. There are reasons why Europe was split and kept asunder, two world wars not being the least.

    Yung unz today probably do not realise that jumping on an easy jet to some mid European capital to party on down would have put them on at least four security alert lists (home nation, destination nation, USA and USSR).

    Some might just say: the growing pains (for that is all that they are in Greece, Ireland, Spain, ... ) are far better than any alternatives?

    Besides, dollar+USA as a secondary currency is attracting a bit of heat with notions that a gold based secondary currency would keep the world a safer place and less liable to fractiousness and fractions than a USA+dollar currency has?

    1. Graham Dawson

      Not quite

      The motivations for the EU were post world war 1, and the solution to preventing war was to make sure that no European nation (or, more accurately, Germany - the EU was proposed by a frenchman, never forget that) could have all the necessary resources to make war. However, in the aftermath of world war 2 most of the justification quickly disappeared, as Europe transformed from a series of fortresses into an open market almost overnight. The EU is late to the game and, on current form, trying to implement a counter-productive solution.

  15. etabeta

    Will never buy anything made by Apple

    After seeing this Cupertino arrogance, I surely will put anything made by Apple on my "banned" list.

    I hope Samsung will be able to quickly have this absurd ruling reversed and sue Steve Jobs for everything he is worth

  16. Derek Kingscote

    Surprised Siemens has nothing to say

    Surprised Siemens has nothing to say

    Take a look at this

    Title: Siemens SIMpad SL4

    Brand: Siemens

    Release-Date: April, 2002

    Dimensions-width-x-height-x-depth: 263 x 181 x 28 millimetres

    10.4 x 7.1 x 1.1 inches

    Embedded-Operating-System: Microsoft Handheld PC 2000 (Galileo)

    Operating-System-Kernel: Microsoft Windows CE 3.00

    Oh look this device had rounded corners and featured a flat surface centred within

    It was colour and touchscreen [it had wince but we'll let that go]

    It seems that when companies get really big [you know who they are/were] they lose all sense of proportion and they live in their own reality, not the real world.

    Oh and they like megalomaniacal control over what you can or can't do

    You're too late Apple. Horse bolted, stable door wiiiiiide open.

    1. tonyoung

      That would have been ...

      ... a bit slow!


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