By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
August 9, 2011

Apple granted an injunction barring distribution in all of the EU except The Netherlands

A week after Samsung agreed out of court to postpone the launch of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, the leading manufacturer of tablets running Google’s GOOG Android operating system has suffered a second major setback.

A court in Germany Tuesday granted Apple AAPL a preliminary injunction barring distribution of the device in the entire European Union except The Netherlands.

The news was reported by the Handelsblatt Financial Informer and picked up FOSS Patents‘ Florian Mueller.

According to Mueller:

“Apple alleged that the Galaxy Tab imitates the iPad and infringes on various intellectual property rights owned by Apple. Apple asked the Landgericht (district court) of Düsseldorf, Germany, to order an injunction under which Samsung is threatened with fines of up to EUR 250,000 (US$ 350,000) for each violation or imprisonment of Samsung’s management in the event of continued infringement. Those are standard sanctions under German tort law for contempt of a preliminary injunction.”

What this means for the other cases Apple has brought against the manufacturers of Android devices for — in its words — “slavishly” copying the iPad is unclear. Mueller notes that German patent law is considerably stricter than U.S. patent law with respect to injunctions and that this particular court has a reputation for favoring the interests of patent holders over those of alleged infringers.

Meanwhile the device, which was released in Britain last week and became, according to the Telegraph, the country’s fastest-selling tablet since the iPad 2, must be removed from the shelves.

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