In a decision with potentially far-reaching consequences, a German court handed down a preliminary injunction halting all distribution of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the European Union today, after a motion was filed by Apple for just such an order.

The suit in question is over nine patents, most of which relate to broad smartphone functions and concepts. The patents are so broad that Apple sued Nokia over them (yes, the exact same nine patents) last year in the same German court, and that suit ended in a settlement widely presumed to be a victory for Apple.

I don't know all that much about German intellectual property law, or the German standard for issuing preliminary injunctions, but I can tell you one thing: this would almost certainly never happen in a U.S. court. The bar for such injunctions is clearly much lower in Germany, and Apple is likely well-aware of this.

This injunction is just another step on the road to settlement for Samsung. Barring distribution of the company's flagship tablet product in its third-largest market space isn't something the management is likely to be happy about, and it's at times like this that words like "compromise" start getting thrown around.

Again, don't expect such a result to come to the U.S. - Apple is suing over patents it holds in Germany, and European patent law differs significantly from that of the United States. As such, European patents are not protectable interests in American courts.

To read more about the decision, head over to FOSSPatents.