Apple blocks Galaxy Tab sales across Europe

Apple’s succeeded in getting sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 halted across most of Europe, after winning a preliminary injunction in a German court.

Apple’s accused Samsung of ‘slavishly’ copying the design of the iPad, and alleges it’s violated ten patents. While the original Galaxy Tab was a seven-inch device, the latest version is a similar size to the iPad.

Apple’s now won a temporary injunction in the Regional Court of Dusseldorf preventing the release of the tablet anywhere in Europe – apart from the Netherlands, where a separate case is pending.

Already, tens of thousands of the devices are believed to have been seized by customs officials.

Apple’s expected today to return to court to try and block sales of the Galaxy smartphone too, and to extend both bans to the Netherlands.

Samsung – which wasn’t warned about the injunction and presented no evidence to the court – now says it plans to fight the decision. An appeal could be heard in around four weeks’ time.

“We intend to act immediately to defend our intellectual property rights through the ongoing legal proceedings in Germany and will continue to actively defend these rights throughout the world,” it says.

“We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung’s innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world.”

And that will mean fighting on several fronts. Apple’s pursuing similar claims through the US International Trade Commission, the court of the North District of California, and in Australia, Japan and South Korea.