Apple is officially the only company that can make and sell minimalist rectangular tablets in Germany. A trade court in Dusseldorf, Germany has found Samsung guilty of violating Apple’s patented iPad design. Presiding Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann remarked upon delivering the verdict that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, and that other designs are possible.”

Apple filed a patent on the design of the iPad with European Union intellectual property agency in Alicante, Spain. The iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 rectangular faces are different and the Samsung device has no physical face buttons, but Apple owns sole rights to “minimalist” tablet designs.

According to the patent

  1. A “minimalist” design is any thin rectangular tablet, with few buttons on its face.
  2. This ruling indicates that Apple has sole rights to make thin rectangular tablets in Germany.

Competitors would have to

  1. Have plenty of physical buttons on the face
  2. Be thicker or heavier than the iPad
  3. Any shape but rectangular

The German court made it clear that the ruling was based solely on the design and had nothing to do with trademarks or patents for technology. Samsung is seeking an expedited appeal in Oberlandesgericht, Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, that could take 2 to 6 months.

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