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EU antitrust probes don’t have a deadline and the Commission stressed that its investigation does not mean Samsung did indeed breach the bloc’s competition rules. Samsung now gets the chance to respond to the Commission’s concerns, as will other market participants.

Also Tuesday, in a separate case, an appeals court in Germany ruled in favor of Apple, saying Samsung could not sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 nor the Galaxy Tab 8.9 in the country because they too closely resembled the iPad2, in violation of unfair competition laws.

Samsung wrongly used the enormous reputation and prestige of the iPad,” Duesseldorf state court Presiding Judge Wilhelm Berneke wrote in his ruling.

Samsung’s successor tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 N, was not affected by the ruling, and the company said that while the decision was disappointing, it was largely irrelevant.

“Today’s ruling is of little factual relevance due to the new model Galaxy Tab 10.1 N, and … the decision therefore is of no indicative value with respect to other legal proceedings involving the Galaxy Tab 10.1 N,” Samsung said in an email to The Associated Press.

Samsung will continue to take all appropriate measures, including legal action, to ensure continued consumer access to our innovative products.”

Mueller concurred that the German court ruling won’t have a commercial impact on the South Korean company, since it has already been selling a new model of the Galaxy tablet since November.

“The defeat in Germany is more of a symbolical nature,” said Mueller, whose clients include Apple competitor Microsoft.

The probe and victory in the German court for Apple come after the California company has met with several setbacks recently in its fight with Samsung.

Most recently, a Dutch court ruled on Jan. 24 that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablet was not a copy of Apple’s iPad, and that it could continue to be sold in the Netherlands. That came on the heels of a December decision in Sydney, where the High Court dismissed Apple’s appeal and said Samsung was free to sell its Galaxy tablet computers in Australia.


Rising reported from Berlin; Hyung-jin Kim contributed to this story from Seoul.