The South Korean ruling comes as the two technology titans are locked in a high-stakes global patent battle that mirrors a fierce rivalry for industry supremacy between two companies that control more than half the world's smartphone sales.
The Seoul court ruling comes ahead of more crucial US verdicts. Nine jurors began deliberation on Wednesday in California in one of many disputes between the two firms around the world that analysts see as partly aimed at curbing the spread of Google’s Android, the world's most used mobile software.
"There are lots of external design similarities between the iPhone and Galaxy S, such as rounded corners and large screens ... but these similarities had been documented in previous products," a judge at the Seoul Central District Court said today.
"Given that it's very limited to make big design changes in touch-screen based mobile products in general ... and the defendant (Samsung) differentiated its products with three buttons in the front and adopted different designs in camera and (on the) side, the two products have a different look," the judge said.
The judge said it was difficult to say that consumers would confuse the iPhone with the Galaxy given they clearly have the respective company logos on the back of each model, and consumers also factor in operating systems, brand, applications, price, and services when buying a phone.
The judge ordered Samsung to immediately stop selling 10 products, including the Galaxy S II, and also banned sales of four Apple products, including the iPhone 4 and iPad 2.