When it comes to protecting its intellectual property, Apple has recently been on the warpath. Unfortunately for Samsung, it has been on the receiving end of a barrage of legal challenges from Apple. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 has already been kicked out of Germany (Europe’s third largest tablet market), and now Apple has won an injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Apple was granted an injunction against Samsung with regards to its Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung had previously stated that it would not introduce the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until the judge’s ruling was handed down; now it appears that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will likely never legally see the light of day in the country for “slavishly” copying Apple’s iPad.
Samsung made a last ditch effort earlier this month to appease Apple by offering to remove two offending touch-related features from the Galaxy Tab 10.1, leaving just one touch-related patent in dispute – Apple soundly rejected that offer.
It should be carefully noted that the injunction has nothing to do with the actual look of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but the aforementioned patents on touch interfaces. The infringement comes courtesy of a heuristics patent (AU 2007286532) and a patent involving the manufacturing process uses on the iPad/iPad 2 touch screen (AU 2005246219). A third patent, (AU 2008258177), was thrown out by Apple.
Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents contends that these two touch-based patents could bar future Android tablets from making an appearance in Australia:
After today’s decision, I believe no company in the industry be able to launch any new Android-based touchscreen product in Australia anytime soon without incurring a high risk of another interim injunction. The two patents on which today’s ruling is based aren’t Galaxy Tab 10.1-specific at all. They will affect all Android-based smartphones and tablet computers, across all vendors.
If Apple wins the Australian case at the end of the main proceeding, all Android-based products will effectively be shut out of the Australian market forever, unless Google or its device maker partners settle with Apple. Therefore, Google and Samsung will have to fight very hard to have the asserted patents declared invalid, or at least have their scope narrowed.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Not surprisingly, Samsung isn’t too happy with the court’s decision and says that it is seeking additional legal advice. “Samsung will continue its legal proceeding against Apple’s claim in order to ensure our innovative products remain available to consumers,” the company said in a statement. “This is a part of our ongoing legal proceeding against Apple’s claim.”
Samsung also makes note of the wireless technology patents that it holds and claims Apple is infringing upon. “Our wireless standard patents are essential for mobile business,” Samsung added. “We will continue to legally assert our intellectual property rights against those who violate Samsung’s patents and free ride on our technology.”
Apple sees Samsung as a major threat in both smartphones and tablets. Samsung is the number two smartphone manufacturer behind Apple, and the Galaxy Tab family of Android-based tablets are widely seen as the most credible challenger to the iPad. Crushing Samsung’s Android-based offerings would give quite a bit of breathing room for Apple’s iPhone and iPad products which are expected to account for 49 percent and 21 percent respectively of Apple’s revenue by 2013 according to Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster.
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