Apple Succeeds in Killing Samsung’s Australian Tablet Sales With Lawsuit

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has scored a major victory in latest round of lawsuits [1][2] courtesy of a ban on Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.’s (SEO:005930) Australian Android tablet sales.  

Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android platform is outselling the iPhone 2 to 1 and is growing at a faster pace than Apple.  So Apple is now trying to stifle its competitor with lawsuits.  It is currently suing all three [1][2][3] of the world’s largest Android handset makers.

This week, Samsung agreed to cease sales and advertising of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, pending the outcome of a suit Apple filed against it in Australian court.  The suit is one of many that Apple has filed against Samsung in international courts.  

Like the other suits, in this one Apple contends that Samsung “slavishly” worked to steal its intellectual property, including its patented iPad design — a thin rectangular tablet with a glass screen and black bezel.  Apple also claims Samsung stole its touchscreen technology.  In all 10 of Apple’s patents are cited as being infringed.

Steven Burley, a lawyer for Apple, says the ban on sales was necessary as Samsung made “announcements of an imminent launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 device ongoing since July 20.”

So far Samsung has not made similar agreements in the North America, Europe, or Asia.  However, Apple is pursuing a preliminary injunction banning sales in these regions.

Samsung is countersuing Apple.  The company has one of the world’s largest patent portfolios and holds more U.S. patents than Apple.  Thus some legal experts believe Apple may have picked an intellectual property fight with the wrong company.

Apple chief executive and co-founder, Steven P. Jobs has bragged about his mastery of stealing ideas from others, stating , “Picasso had a saying – ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” 

Mr. Jobs contends Android handset makers like Samsung, HTC, and Motorola should not be allowed to “steal” the iPad and iPhone’s copyrighted look and designs.  

Critics have contended that Apple’s patents are so broad that they cover every smart phone and tablet in existence today, as well as non-mobile devices like personal computers.

Apple has agreed to pay Samsung unspecified damages for lost sales, if it loses the case.  It is unclear if this agreement would cover lost sales in the case of a “draw” — a scenario, which could occur if both companies win their respective lawsuits, forcing a cross-licensing agreement. 

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