Apple stepped up its intellectual property battle with Samsung Electronics by getting an ex-parte temporary injunction barring the sales of the South Korean technology giant's flagship Galaxy tablet in the European Union except the Netherlands and the UK.
The Düsseldorf court order comes a week after Apple obtained a similar ruling in Australia, which has forced Samsung to delay the Australian launch of its Galaxy tablet.
With courts rulings pending on similar patent suits in South Korea, Japan, the US International Trade Commission and the court of the North District of California, the German ruling deals a critical blow to Samsung in its effort to snatch a sizable market share in the tablet market.
The temporary injunction is for alleged violation of a European Community design that covers the iPad and the iPhone.
Apple also alleges that the Samsung tablet infringes 10 separate patents such as data transmission and wireless technology.
Apple said in a statement, "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. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."
Apple's battle with Samsung, which is also a major component supplier to the US tech giant, began in April, when the Cupertino, California-based company accused Samsung of designing its tablet to resemble the iPad and the iPhone.
Both companies have since filed counter suits in various countries with rulings pending in the Netherlands and the UK.
Samsung said in a statement that it is "disappointed" with the Düsseldorf district court decision.
"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," Samsung said. "We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung's innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world."
Samsung said the temporary injunction was granted without it being given a opportunity to present evidence or argue its case in the Düsseldorf court.
However these injunctions are only temporary and if Apple loses the case, it will end up paying a huge sum to Samsung for lost sales during the ban period.
Technology experts say Apple is using the courts in order to try and stop its iPad sales slide in Europe and Samsung's Galaxy Tab is a strong rival and Apple is trying its very best to make it harder for manufacturers to sell devices that operate on Android software.
Apple has also sued its US rival Motorola Mobility claiming that its Android phones infringe on several multi-touch and operating system patents.
Apple sold 14 million iPads globally in the first half of this year, compared with analysts' estimates of about 7.5 million sales of Galaxy Tab.
Research firm Strategy Analytics last month said that iPad's market share for tablets shipped had dropped to 61 per cent, down from 94.3 per cent last year, while Forrester Research says that Apple will find it difficult to take on other competing tablets in Europe over price.