Apple and Samsung's ongoing patent battle yesterday delved into whether Apple should have to produce evidence that United States and United Kingdom sales of the iPad and iPad 2 were affected by the launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, to determine if sales of the tablet device should be blocked in Australia.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
At a hearing for the patent fight between the two tech giants in the Federal Court in Sydney yesterday, Samsung lawyer Neil Murray argued to Justice Annabelle Bennett that if Apple intended to seek to block the sale of the 10.1 in Australia by claiming that it would damage iPad sales, Apple should produce monthly sales figures from the UK and the US demonstrating the impact of the tablet's release in those regions.
Samsung originally sought to include Japan and Germany in those sales figures; however, lawyers acting for Apple said that the figures were narrowed down to comparable Western countries.
Apple argued that the impact on sales will ultimately be irrelevant, because it would be impossible to know what iPad sales would have been like without the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in those regions, since overall sales can be affected by a number of factors. One of the major factors would be proving that a customer who would have otherwise bought an iPad went with a Galaxy Tab 10.1 instead.
Samsung's Murray said that one major factor would be consumers' preferences for the Android operating system over Apple's iOS.
"I can't exclude taking sales from Apple. The ordinary expectation one would have in that sort of regard has to be considered in light of consumers' preferences for a particular operating system," he said. "There are people who want an Android product [and so] will buy an Android product."
Apple's closed ecosystem was also under threat from the Galaxy Tab 10.1, lawyers acting on behalf of Apple said, because lost iPad sales would also impact on iTunes sales and App Store sales.
"This is going to open a whole can of worms," Bennett said.
Bennett ultimately declined Samsung access to Apple's sales figures but Apple could still ultimately produce those figures as evidence in the case. Bennett said that for the purposes of determining whether the 10.1 launch should be blocked, she would assume at least one customer would opt for a Galaxy Tab 10.1 over an iPad.
"As a matter of logic, one has to assume there must be at least one person who was going to buy a Samsung product instead of an Apple product."
Apple sued Samsung, claiming that the rival technology company was infringing on its patents in its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung contested the allegation, saying that Apple Australia was basing its claims on the US version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The two parties at the time agreed to an undertaking that would see Samsung hold its shipment of the Australian version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 until Apple had the chance to study three of the units. Samsung has committed to not launching the device until the end of September, but has signalled an intention to file a counter-claim against Apple for patent infringements.
The case is set to continue later this month, once Samsung submits its plea.
The suit is one of a number launched by Apple against Samsung around the world, including in the US. In Europe, a German court last month lifted an injunction on the sale of the 10.1 in Europe outside of Germany. Samsung was, however, forced to pull the Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet from display at the IFA consumer-electronics confab in Berlin over the weekend as a result of the ban.