Apple wins injunction against Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Apple has today been awarded an interlocutory injunction by the Federal Court of Australia against Samsung and its Galaxy Tab 10.1, which will see the product held off of Australian shelves until a full patent case can be heard.
Written by Luke Hopewell, Contributor

update Apple has today been awarded an interlocutory injunction by the Federal Court of Australia against Samsung and its Galaxy Tab 10.1, which will see the product held off of Australian shelves until a full patent case can be heard.

Justice Annabelle Bennett read from a summary judgement text in Sydney this afternoon, saying she had evenly weighed the balance of convenience to determine which party would be most inconvenienced by a judgement made either way.

Bennett said that if the Tab 10.1 were in fact released while a full patent case was prepared, the damage to Apple would be significant. Likewise, if the Tab 10.1 was held off of the shelves, Samsung would be deprived revenue it would have gained by selling the device.

The balance of convenience was almost evenly weighted, but balance of convenience falls in favour of Apple, Bennett told a packed out court room today.

Samsung naturally said it was disappointed with the judgement.

We are disappointed with this ruling and Samsung will be seeking legal advice on its options. Samsung will continue its legal proceeding against Apple's claim in order to ensure our innovative products remain available to consumers.

This is a part of our ongoing legal proceeding against Apple's claim. Samsung is also confident it can prove Apple's violation of Samsung's wireless technology patents through a cross claim filed on 16 September 2011 with the Federal Court of Australia, New South Wales.

Our wireless standard patents are essential for mobile business. We will continue to legally assert our intellectual property rights against those who violate Samsung's patents and free ride on our technology.

Apple had no specific comment to make on today's interlocutory victory, repeating only the comment from its original filing.

"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. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas," Apple said in its statement.

Foad Fadaghi, research director for analyst firm Telsyte, said that Apple's temporary victory will cost not only Samsung in terms of revenue and market share, but may also damage the growth of Google's Android operating system in Australia.

"From our perspective, we'll have to revise our market estimates and market forecasts for Andorid and Samsung. Prior to this [ruling], Samsung would have been the market leader based on their portfolio [of products] and the ability to market its partnerships.

"Given that Samsung is not able to get the product out before Christmas in any form, that could seriously impact the industry," Fadaghi said, calling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 a potentially market-leading product.

He added that it's too early to tell whether Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 will skip the Australian market altogether as a result of the case.

Samsung's legal counsel did tell the court at the last hearing before interlocutory judgement that the case would become less urgent if the court granted the temporary injunction to Apple, but stopped short of ruling out the tablet's release in the local market.

Fadaghi added, however, that despite tripping up Samsung, this judgement isn't likely to slow the adoption of Android in the global market.

"It's too early to say about future products; however, the momentum globally behind Android is very strong, and one case in Australia won't settle a case which is global by nature."

The legal brouhaha between the two parties kicked off in August, when Apple Australia dragged Samsung before the court over the alleged infringement of several patents within the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung claimed the legal base of Apple's claims were false, as it had been basing the case on the US version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Samsung agreed to provide Apple with three of the proposed Australian versions of the device for expert study, while pledging to delay the release of the new Tab in Australia until the court action could be resolved.

Since then, Apple has sought to block Samsung's products in the European Union, Japan and France as the court action continued down under.

Samsung launched a counter claim against Apple last month over seven different patents, targeting almost all of Apple's mobile gadget range, including the iPhone 3G, 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 2.

Samsung pushed back the local launch of the device another two times, while proposing in court that a stripped down version of the case be heard in court for interlocutory purposes. Apple rejected an initial deal proposed by Samsung, which would see it launch the device in the interim until a full patent hearing can be held next year.

Apple's legal counsel said that the deal represented a bid by Samsung to "have its cake and eat it too".

Bennett said that Samsung's unwillingness to present itself for an early final hearing in November had played in Apple's favour.

The two will meet back in court tomorrow morning for a directions hearing, which will set the scene for the full patent case to be held next year.

More on this story as it develops.

Updated at 1:55pm, 13 October 2011: added comment from Samsung, Apple and Telsyte.

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