Apple has gotten a German court to bar Samsung Electronics from sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 over design-infringement claims.

The ruling could mean the Korean electronics giant could be barred from future sales throughout Europe. Samsung announced an immediate appeal. We are disappointed ... and believe it severely limits consumer choice in Germany, Samsung said.

The ruling came from a regional court in Dusseldorf, which issued a preliminary ban last month that kept Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from all of Europe except for the Netherlands. The court rejected a Samsung appeal Friday.

Last week, the same court ordered Samsung to pull its Galaxy Tab 7.7 from a Berlin electronics show. Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman confined her ruling to the design of Samsung's tablet, not whether Samsung had infringed upon Apple's patents.

The predominant overall impression [is] that the device looks like the iPad Apple has already protected in Europe, she wrote.

The ban could help Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., maintain a lead in the tablet market with its iPad line. Apple first charged Samsung, one of its major component suppliers, with slavishly copying its designs in filings with U.S. and Asian courts as well as with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

For Samsung, the ban is a blow because the region is its biggest single market for mobile product sales. Germany, Europe's biggest economy, could see tablet sales as high as 2.4 million units this year, researcher Strategy Analytics predicts.