Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's reworked tablet PC does not look like a copycat version of the iPad, a German court said, affirming a preliminary assessment and dealing another legal blow to Apple Inc.

Apple is fighting several rival makers of smartphones and tablet PCs in courts worldwide over intellectual property.

Samsung changed the design of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 for the German market -- naming it Galaxy Tab 10.1N -- to get around a sales ban imposed by a court in September, and Apple challenged the new version.

The state court in Duesseldorf said on Thursday there were clear differences between the Galaxy Tab 10.1N and the iPad.

Apple's battle with Samsung, whose tablets are based on Google Inc's Android software, has been especially bitter, with the Galaxy devices seen as among the biggest challengers to Apple's mobile products.

In a global intellectual property battle, Apple has claimed the Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets slavishly copied the iPhone and iPad and has sued the Korean company in the United States, Australia, Japan and Korea as well as in Europe.

Since then, several countries including the Netherlands, the United States and Australia have decided to allow Samsung to sell the Galaxy tablet.

Samsung, which is Apple's supplier as well as a competitor, has been trying to have the ban on sales of the original Galaxy Tab in Germany overturned while also seeking other means to fight Apple. The ban was upheld by a court last week.

Samsung has counter-sued Apple in Germany, claiming infringements of mobile technology patents. A court in Mannheim has ruled against Samsung in cases concerning two of the patents and is due to decide on a third on March 2.

(Reporting by Matthias Inveradi; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Holmes)