Down under, it's Samsung 1, Apple O. In the latest episode of the companies' worldwide patent war, Samsung has won a legal round against Apple's attempt to ban sales in Australia of its Android -based Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet .
On Friday, the Australian High Court let stand a lower court ruling that overturned a preliminary injunction against Samsung's selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. Samsung said it will soon start selling the 16GB Wi-Fi and 3G models in that country.
'Skin of Your Teeth'
The three-judge top court said that Apple had not shown reason to believe that it would prevail in an appeal of the lower court decision, and the court turned down Apple's request for a hearing.
Chief Justice Robert French told Apple that "you got your relief by the skin of your teeth," referring to the original lower court order, which had granted Apple's request for a temporary injunction against Samsung's selling of the tablet, on the grounds that it violated Apple's intellectual property. Last week, an appeals court overturned that temporary injunction, and this High Court ruling was on Apple's hearing to reinstate the ban.
There is still a trial to go through, although the date has not yet been established, and French said that maintaining the temporary injunction "would effectively determine the outcome" of the trial because, by preventing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from being released for this holiday season, it would effectively render the product obsolete. Samsung has filed a countersuit in Australia, arguing that Apple's mobile devices infringe on its wireless technology patents.
While there are at least 30 lawsuits between the two companies in 10 countries, the importance of the legal war in Australia could reach beyond what happens to the Samsung tablet in that country. Florian Mueller, whose Foss Patents blog covers technology patents, has said that one of the two patents cited in Australia, related to touchscreen heuristics, is not tablet- or even device-specific. Instead, he has written, it is "very broad."
So broad, in fact, Mueller said that, if the patent is held to be infringed, no company will "be able to launch any new Android-based touchscreen product in Australia anytime soon without incurring a high risk of another interim injunction." (continued...)