Samsung files for iPad design rights rejection

Samsung has filed to have Apple's iPad design rights in Europe invalidated, the company has confirmed, claiming that "the design existed long before the iPad." The application was filed to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) back on August 9, The Korea Times reports, and if successful could have a significant impact on Apple's cases in Europe against the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The news follows Samsung's demands for a preliminary injunction against the new iPhone 4S in France and Italy.

Apple's design rights were roundly discussed earlier this year, after critics suggested they were too basic and could equally apply to TVs, digital photo frames and anything else with a simple border around a display. Nonetheless, German courts awarded Apple an injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10, initially effective across Europe but subsequently diluted to solely concern sales in Germany. A judge later upheld the ban, deciding that the "smooth, simple surfaces" of the Samsung Honeycomb tablet were, indeed, infringing on Apple's registered design.

"Apple claims that the iPad's design is exclusively its own, but the design existed long before the iPad" Samsung spokesperson Kevin Jeong said today. The design application was made back in 2004, and – under OHIM regulations – can be extended up to 25 years through periodic renewals. Some controversy arose back in August, after suggestions that Apple had resized graphics used in its evidence to increase the similarity between the iPad and the Tab 10.1.

Earlier today, Samsung announced it had begun a retaliatory strike against Apple in Europe, filing to have sales of the iPhone 4S blocked in select European countries over what it claims are "severe" infringements of 3G WCDMA related patents. The company says it will be filing further injunction requests in time.