A shell shocked Samsung was yesterday drawing up its a response after a court in Germany ordered it to pull sales of its new tablet computer across Europe over charges it had copied the look of the iPad.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 was launched to great fanfare in the UK last week, but customs officials in the European Union are under orders to seize shipments after Apple won a temporary injunction in a Dusseldorf court. The ruling backed Apple's claim that the latest Tab had "slavishly" copied the iPad's design. Tony Cripps, analyst at Ovum, said it would be a "short-term blow" for a device that will be "among the strongest threats to the iPad's current dominance".
The Californian electronics giant is seeking similar rulings in the US and the Netherlands, which was not included in yesterday's ruling.
An Apple spokesman said: "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."
Samsung's said it was "disappointed" with the ruling. It said: "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." Its senior management was drawing up a plan in the company's headquarters in South Korea last night.
In the UK, the device was initially available only in Dixons-owned stores including PC World. It is understood they will be allowed to sell their existing stock.
Samsung is countersuing Apple in South Korea, Japan, the US and Germany.