South Korea's Samsung Electronics can continue to sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablet computer in Germany, a German court ruled Thursday, rejecting a bid by arch-rival Apple to have them banned.
In the third such blow to United States giant Apple, the regional court in Duesseldorf ruled that Samsung's redesigned tablet computer -- which Apple had claimed infringed on its patent rights -- was now sufficiently different to the US maker's iconic iPad.
Furthermore, "following the design changes undertaken by Samsung, the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1N does not contravene competition law. Apple's iPad computers and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N are rival products of equal value," the court said in a statement.
In November, the Duesseldorf court had slapped a temporary ban on Samsung's previous model, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, saying it copied the iPad.
But the changes Samsung made to the successor model now rendered the tablet computer sufficiently different, it said.
Earlier this month, two other courts in Germany -- in Munich and Mannheim -- also quashed Apple's request to impose a preliminary ban on sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1N and Nexus smartphone.
The two technology giants are engaged in a legal battle involving dozens of cases worldwide as they struggle for leadership in the hugely lucrative smartphone and tablet computer market.
Apple launched legal action in April last year, accusing Samsung of "slavishly" copying its iPhone and iPad designs. Samsung has focused its own lawsuits on technology patents rather than design.
The South Korean giant received two legal boosts in December.
A court in San Jose, California, denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction that would have banned the sale of three Samsung smartphones and a tablet computer.
Australia's High Court cleared the way for Samsung to sell its Galaxy 10.1 tablet in the country in time for Christmas, dismissing Apple's bid to have a ban extended.
Last month, European regulators opened an antitrust probe against Samsung to determine whether it has distorted competition in European mobile device markets.
The European Commission said it would investigate whether Samsung went too far last year when it sought injunctions against competitors in various EU national courts, alleging infringements of Samsung's patent rights.
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