Leave it to Europe with its crazy laws on copyright, design, libel and the rest to come to to the aid of Apple's misbegotten crusade to eliminate competition through the courts. A court in Germany yesterday issued a preliminary injunction barring the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 iPad competitor in all of Europe except the Netherlands, where a different case is pending.
While some initial reports seemed to imply this was about Samsung violating some of Apple's patents, that is not the case. Instead, the ruling relies on Europe's absurdly broad "community design" rules. These rules are generally designed to prevent knock-off copies of famous luxury brand goods. Matthew Panzarino at TheNextWeb has a copy of the actual document Apple filed to register the design of the iPad. Go take a look and notice that the protected design is so very, very generic. If this ruling is upheld, you won't being seeing many tablets of any brand other than Apple in Europe.
Adding to the absurdity, Samsung issued a statement that said, among other things: "The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung."
Sounds like a pretty serious miscarriage of justice and harmful to European consumers. And even if you're a big fan of the iPad -- as I am -- this is bad news because it reduces the pressure on Apple to innovate and improve its products and instead gives them the incentive to hire more lawyers.