After delaying the Australian launch of its 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab due to Apple’s injunction filings, Samsung’s been broadsided today by a much larger ruling in the Cupertino company’s favor: A German court, sanctioned by the European Union, has granted Apple a preliminary injunction preventing the import and sale of Samsung’s big slate anywhere in the EU (save for the Netherlands, which requires a different legal process that is reportedly already underway).

According to IP specialist Florian Muller of Foss Patents, this early ruling can be appealed and potentially reversed post-haste, but he’s

also seen cases in which such injunctions were in force and effect until the end of a main proceeding, which could easily take more than a year.

Either way, while the ban stands, Samsung faces up to $350,000 in fines for each individual violation. Additionally, executive management of the Korean company can technically (if not actually) be jailed for up to two years in the event of continued infringement.

As an iDevice user and enthusiast, I do agree that Samsung’s design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 really does ape the appearance — and so violate the patented “trade dress” — of the first-generation iPad. (I do not, however, believe Samsung’s handsets violate the trade dress of the iPhone 3/GS.) And, though Samsung has its vehement defenders, the company has done itself few favors in seeking to legitimately differentiate its flagship tablet from Apple’s category originator. It also doesn’t help the Korean giant’s cause that it had production contracts with Apple on parts of the very piece of kit it’s so boldly copied. Heck, even it’s packaging mimicked the iPad’s digs!

Check out this post's featured image. Which one is which?

However this thing turns out, I’m honestly amazed it’s gotten this far. Way back when this nasty affair was just getting started, I’d assumed Apple and Sammy would come to some sort of amicable resolution in relatively short (and uneventful) order.

Now, it’s looking like the couple is well on track to a total professional break-up.

The US is set to rule on Apple’s injunction request in mid-October.

For the curious, Apple’s patent in question, Community Design 000181607-0001, is reproduced below:

Community Design 000181607-0001