The changes Samsung Electronics has made to its Galaxy Tab 10.1 are enough so that it is no longer a copy of Apple's iPad, a judge at the district court in Düsseldorf, Germany, said on Thursday.
The court blocked German sales of the original version of Samsung's 10-inch tablet in September, after Apple argued that Samsung's product looked too much like the iPad. To circumvent that ruling, Samsung modified the appearance of the tablet to create the Galaxy Tab 10.1N.
However, Apple still felt Samsung was copying its hit tablet, and last month filed a motion to block the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, as well.
But it looks like Apple won't win this time. The judge issued a preliminary ruling that the Samsung tablet no longer violates Apple's European design patent. So it is possible that there will be no injunction this time, according to a spokesman at the court.
A final verdict will be handed down on Feb. 9.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1N has a new bezel and speakers on the front of the device, and Samsung is confident that the company can demonstrate to the court its distinctiveness compared to the iPad, a Samsung spokesman said via email when Apple filed the motion to have it blocked.
Recently, Samsung was able to start selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, where Apple has been fighting to have the product banned, as well.
Neither Samsung or Apple immediately responded to requests for comment about Thursday's ruling.
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