New Ruling Given In OZ Samsung Vs Apple Tablet Fight

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A new ruling has been issued by Justice Amanda Bennett sitting in the Federal Court today in the Apple Vs Samsung battle over the design and functionality of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which has been banned from going on sale in Australia.Justice Bennett said that she would extend the ban until the 26th of October after Samsung told the Court they intend on launching a new tablet variant that day.

The Court heard that Samsung had shipped a brand new model of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with indications now that there is a 10.2 version that has a different scrolling mechanism. Samsung claimed that the new model did not breach Apple patents.

Apple told the Court that Apple Computer in the USA filed a new patent on the 11th of August and it was their belief that the new Samsung tablet was in breach of this patent and 26 other Apple patents.

Samsung Counsel David Catterns told the Court that Samsung intended to take action against Apple in Australia for breaches of Samsung patents.

More to follow.

The Samsung Australia drama unfolded when Justice Bennett, an experienced technology Judge who ruled in favour of IceTV in the electronic program guide copyright case Vs Channel Nine, banned the distribution of a tablet computer on August 3rd.

She ordered Samsung to stop importing, promoting or selling its latest tablet computer, the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Journalists were stopped from reviewing the device.

 

Shortly afterwards Samsung Australia said that they would launch an Australian model of the Tab anyway, as the one banned by the court was a different version. That model has not appeared.

After the Court case in Australia sales of Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 was brought to a screeching halt in Europe.

A preliminary injunction granted to Apple by a court in Dusseldorf, Germany, stopped the sales and marketing of Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet across Europe with the exception of the Netherlands.

The injunction was a significant win for Apple, which in April sued Samsung in a patent dispute alleging the Galaxy tablet and phone lines were rip-offs of the iPad and iPhone.

Shortly afterwards Apple sought and attained an injunction to ban the sale of the Samsung Galaxy S 2  Smartphone in Europe.

Samsung was disappointed by the decision and plans to fight the injunction, a spokeswoman for the company said.

The company added that it was not made aware a request for injunction was filed and that they were unable to present evidence before the order was issued.

“We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung’s innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world,” the spokeswoman said.

Although Samsung can appeal the injunction, the earliest it could receive a hearing would be in a month, according to the Telegraph report.

The suspension of the Galaxy line in Europe comes a week after the South Korean corporation agreed to stop sales of the line in Australia until the patent battle with Apple is resolved.

 

In previous court filings, Apple, which did not respond to a request for comment, has argued that the “look and feel” of Galaxy products infringe 10 of its patents. Samsung, however, has filed its own countersuits in a number of countries.

The Korean manufacturer also dismissed a claim of “blatant copying” made by Apple Australia yesterday.

“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging,” an Apple Australia spokeswoman said yesterday.

“This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

Samsung however said the company was confident the Tab did not violate any of Apple’s patents.

“Samsung will continue to actively defend and protect our intellectual property to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communication business,” the spokesman said.

The two companies have filed claims of patent breaches against each other in the US, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Germany since April, but it is understood this is the first time a device has been ordered to be withdrawn.

In its Australian Federal Court application, Apple listed 10 patents it said Samsung breached in producing the Tab.

The interim order prohibits the Tab’s sale until a directions hearing set for August 29, and Samsung has been ordered to supply Apple with three samples of the Tab it wants to sell in Australia.

In a new twist yesterday, Samsung said it would press ahead with launching an Australian version of the Tab “in the near future”.

It said the model subject to the court decision was not the version it would market in Australia.

 

“Apple Inc filed a complaint with the Federal Court of Australia involving a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 variant that Samsung Electronics had no plans of selling in Australia,” Samsung said.

“No injunction was issued by the court and the parties reached a mutual agreement which stipulates that the variant in question will not be sold in Australia.

“This undertaking does not affect any other Samsung smartphone or tablet available in Australia or other countries.”

Samsung had circulated plans to the Australian media to launch the Tab on August 11, but this date had been pushed back, a Samsung spokeswoman said.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia chief Nigel Dews said the company was waiting to see if there would be a change to a court injunction preventing the product’s sale and distribution.

A VHA spokesman said a previous version of the Tab called the 10.1V was no longer on sale in Australia, having sold out by the end of May.

The court order that Samsung supply Apple with three samples of the Australian Tab could give the Californian manufacturer fresh ammunition should its examination suggest the Australian version of the device breached its patents.

It was revealed last week that Apple had amassed a cash hoard of $US75.9 billion ($70bn) that surpassed even the US Treasury Department’s operating cash balance of $US73.8 bn.

Apple has now unleashed some of these funds to take on rival manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and Nokia.

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