Battle between Samsung and Apple heats up

The companies are clashing in Australia, the Netherlands and the U.S.

The legal battle between Apple and Samsung has reached fever pitch, with Apple getting an injunction to stop the sale of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet in Australia as Samsung launches new versions of its smartphones to keep them on sale in the Netherlands. Both companies are also preparing for a hearing in California scheduled for Thursday.

On Thursday, Apple won an interim Federal Court injunction to prevent the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia until the legal proceedings between the two companies have been resolved, [[xref:http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/404035/apple_wins_injunction_halt_galaxy_tablet_sales/?fp=16&fpid=1|Computerworld Australia reported.

|Apple wins injunction to halt Galaxy tablet sales - Samsung Galaxy tablet 10.1, samsung, Apple vs Samsung, Apple - Computerworld]]

Justice Annabelle Bennett said she had weighed the pros and cons of issuing the preliminary injunction. Apple would suffer significant damage. However, should the device launch in Australia be delayed, Samsung would also suffer the lack of profits made from the sale of the device. In the end, Bennett ruled in favor of Apple.

The patents at the heart of the case are not tablet-specific and would be diffcult to work around, according to patent expert Florian Mueller.

That leads Mueller to believe that no company can launch a new Android-based touchscreen product in Australia anytime soon without incurring a high risk of another interim injunction, and if Apple wins, Google or device makers will likely have to settle with Apple if they want to sell Android-based products in the country, he wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

In Germany, Apple already has managed to stop Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1, following a ruling in the district court in Düsseldorf in September. At the time, Samsung said it would appeal the decision to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court. Asked about the current state of the case in Germany, Samsung didn't have any additional information at the moment, Brendon Gore, European public relations director at Samsung, said via email.

Yet another important front in the legal wrangling between the two companies is the Netherlands, where they are trying to get local courts to stop the sale of their respective products.

So far, Apple has been the more successful, but Samsung seems to have managed to keep its products on sale. In August, a court in the Hague banned the shipping of three Samsung Galaxy smartphones to Europe unless Samsung managed to get an update ready that circumvents the infringed patent, which describes a way to scroll through a photo gallery using finger gestures on a touchscreen.

To prevent the ban from going into effect on Friday, Samsung will put out new versions of those phones, which means they will be fine, according to Gore.

To retaliate against Apple, Samsung has filed suits in a number of European countries, including Italy, France, and the Netherlands.

The district court in the Hague, Netherlands organized a hearing on Sep. 26, during which the two companies argued the merits of four Samsung patents. The judge is expected to present his ruling on whether Samsung has a case on Friday, a spokeswoman at the court said at the time.

The U.S. has seen less action than Europe, but things are heating up there, as well. A hearing is scheduled to take place on Thursday at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on an Apple motion for a U.S.-wide preliminary injunction against four Samsung products: the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge and the Galaxy Tab 10.1, according to Mueller.

T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless have both asked the court to not grant Apple the injunction, citing the effect it would have on the holiday shopping season.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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