Apple Inc (NASDQ:AAPL) lost its appeal of a ruling that its rival Samsung's Galaxy tablet computer did not copy Apple's registered tablet designs in a British court on Thursday.
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The world's two leading smartphone makers are fighting over patents, both for smartphones and for tablets, in courts around the world.
The decision is valid throughout Europe and should prohibit further legal disputes between the two companies over the design of tablets such as the iPad in the region.
The Court of Appeal upheld a British High Court judgment that despite some similarities, Samsung did not infringe Apple's design, in part because its products were "not as cool".
Samsung welcomed the decision saying in a statement, "we continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners".
Apple was not immediately available for comment.
The company has been instructed to run ads saying that Samsung did not copy its registered tablet designs, both on its website and in selected newspapers.
Apple can appeal to the Supreme Court.
"I expect this will be the end of the line. An appeal to the supreme court is in principle possible but there has been no indication so far that Apple plan such an appeal", Darren Smyth partner at eIP, a specialist IP law firm, told Reuters.
"For the design of tablets in Europe this should be the final word."