Apple has won a preliminary injunction blocking Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets across all European Union nations, except for the Netherlands.
A separate lawsuit between Apple and Samsung is underway in the Netherlands. Apple on Wednesday will seek a similar injunction against Samsung in a court in The Hague, with the aim of barring local sales of the Galaxy Tab, and on Thursday it will go before that court requesting that sales of Galaxy smartphones be stopped as well.
The German court's decision was reported earlier by intellectual property activist Florian Mueller on his FOSS patents blog, citing a report by German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
Apple did not provide further details on the ruling, but Mueller said the injunction relates to Samsung's alleged infringement of Apple's iPad-related Community Design 000181607-0001, which protects the design of the product across the European Union.
"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas," an Apple spokeswoman said via e-mail.
Samsung said the injunction request was filed without its knowledge and the order granted "without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung."
"Samsung is disappointed with the court's decision and 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," the company said in a statement sent via e-mail.
"We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung's innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world," it said, adding that the injunction "in no way influences" legal proceedings under way elsewhere.
Apple and Samsung are currently exchanging patent lawsuits in different countries. Apple in April sued Samsung in the US for allegedly copying features of Apple's iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone in its Galaxy smartphone and Galaxy Tab tablet. Samsung struck back a few days later, claiming infringement of its own intellectual property.
(Andreas Udo De Haes of WebWereld in the Netherlands contributed to this report.)