If the Australian High Court follows the US, the Samsung Galaxy Tab could be on sale by December 10 with retailer Harvey Norman admitting that they have a stockpile of the popular tablets, which Apple wants to ban.Over the weekend a US court denied an Apple request for a preliminary injunction. The ruling, delivered by a US District Court in San Jose, California, said pre-existing tablet PCs with similar designs as the iPad raised questions about the validity of Apple’s design patents. It also recognised functional reasons for having to design tablet PCs with, for example, a screen taking up most of the space on the front.
“This ruling confirms our long-held view that Apple’s arguments lack merit,” Samsung said in a statement. “In particular, the court has recognised that Samsung has raised substantial questions about the validity of certain of Apple’s design patents.”
“The High Court of Australia has granted a stay until December 9 to allow it to consider whether to accept Apple’s application for special leave to appeal,” Samsung announced today.
The verdict, delivered by Justice Lindsey Foster in Sydney Federal Court, dismissed Apple’s interlocutory injunction against the sale of the Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, allowing the iPad 2 rival to go on sale in Australia.
Apple has established a likelihood of success on the merits at trial for some of the smartphones cited. Judge Koh suggested that the design Samsung had used for some of the contentious handsets did appear to fall foul of Apple’s patents at this early stage.
A similar case for at least one Samsung tablet was likely to be made, she continued. However, Apple had failed to sufficiently convince that it could overcome Samsung’s challenges to the validity of the patent, something essential if a preliminary injunction is to be granted.
While Apple is yet to comment on the decision, Samsung said that it welcomed the ruling and felt confident that it could successfully debunk the patents involved.
If Samsung is successful Harvey Norman will be ready to sell the tablet, with a senior executive telling SmartHouse they already have a stockpile of the controversial device.