Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday that it has asked a European Union (EU) agency to invalidate the iPad's design rights in Europe, as the world's No. 2 mobile phone maker seeks to resume sales of its tablet computers in the pivotal market.
Samsung filed an application with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) on Aug. 9 to nullify Apple Inc.'s exclusive rights to the iPad's design, a company spokesman said, confirming an earlier report by the Donga Ilbo, a Seoul-based daily newspaper.
"Apple claims that the iPad's design is exclusively its own, but the design existed long before the iPad," said Samsung spokesman Kevin Jeong.
Apple, which accused Samsung of copying the iPad's design in its Galaxy Tab tablet computer, won a German court's ban in August blocking sales and marketing of Samsung tablet computers in Germany.
Samsung's move to annul Apple's exclusive rights to use the iPad's design in Europe is likely aimed at lifting the sales ban on the Galaxy Tab computer in Germany and other European countries. The two companies are embroiled in similar lawsuits in France, the Netherlands and other Asian and North American countries.
The Alicante, Spain-based agency oversees rights for trademarks and designs in the EU countries. The registered community design, which gives an entity the exclusive rights to make, market, import or export products, stays valid for five years and can be renewed up to a maximum of 25 years.
Apple filed a registered community design for the iPad on May 2004, according to the OHIM website, which gives the U.S. company exclusive rights to use the design and to prevent other parties from using the design anywhere within the European Union.
Apple and Samsung have been mired in a series of legal battles in Europe, the United States and Asia since Apple in April accused Samsung of copying the iPhone and iPad with its Galaxy series of mobile devices.
Apple and Samsung were the two largest makers of smartphones in the April-June period, according to Strategy Analytics. (Yonhap)