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The patent war takes a bad turn for the i-device maker

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) seemed on a roll over the last month in the worldwide patent war [1][2][3][4] [5][6][7] it initiated last year against Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO 005930).  Its blitzkrieg earned crushing victories in Australia and Germany [1][2].  But much like the German blitzkrieg in World War II was abruptly derailed at the Battle of Stalingrad, Apple's bid for global tablet and smartphone supremacy via banning its competitors with litigation has abruptly stalled.

I. Australia Ban Only Applies to Single Tablet

Yesterday a U.S. judge stated that she was likely going to deny Apple's request for a preliminary injunction, at least on the technology grounds.  And another key loss for Apple was reported yesterday in Australia.

Apple's lawyers tried in court to argue that all Samsung tablet releases should be banned, not just the Galaxy Tab 10.1.  Stated the Apple counsel, "Samsung says Galaxy Tab 10.1, we say any tablet device."

"We know what may well come is another version of the tablet. It's up to our friends as to how they name it, whether they call it the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or 10.2 or 10.1s or whatever it happens to be."

But Samsung's lawyers said this would lead to its Galaxy Tab 7 and Galaxy Tab 10.1v (which Apple has not explicitly targeted yet in this region) being banned.

Apple wanted Samsung to have to submit all new products to it at least 10 days in advance, giving it time to ban them.  Samsung's lawyers blasted this suggestion, referring to its as a "rolling mandatory injunction" and stating, "Why should Samsung be put in a different position to any other trader in the marketplace, which is to give advanced warning so as to confer some process of effective pre-approval in the hands of its competitor?"

Galaxy Tab
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 may be banned, but an Australian judge safeguarded its brethren from a complete ban. [Source: SMH]

Judge Annabelle Bennett who previously agreed with Apple's request for a preliminary injunction this time sided with Samsung.  She commented, "It does seem to me not to be warranted that the sort of order that you've sought be applied."

II. Netherlands Says No to iPhone 4S Ban

In related news in the Netherlands Samsung has been dealt a setback as well, losing its request for a ban the iPhone 4S.  The Hague court has already expressed hesitance to hand out preliminary injunctions like candy, as other international courts have been prone to.

A month and a half ago, a Netherlands Judge did issue a preliminary injunction against Samsung, but it was a very weak one, as it rejected Apple's design claims and only based the injunction on a GUI patent (the same one used in the U.S. case).  Samsung modified its Android distributions to avoid violating that GUI patent and the preliminary injunction was dropped.  Samsung's devices are now on sale in this region.

The biggest battles of the patent war still lie ahead, but it appears increasingly unlikely that Apple's wish for a global ban on Samsung smartphones/tablets will be realized.

Sources: SMH, Reuters

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By ddarko on 10/14/2011 4:17:00 PM , Rating: 3
Nice job, Jason, trying to attribute the Netherlands' court refusal to grant Samsung's request for a preliminary injunction against Apple to a judicial reluctance to issue such bans. Actually, despite your head-in-the-ground "reporting," the court rejected Samsung's attempt to use its 3G FRAND patents against Apple, saying the patents are essential and must be offered to Apple under reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms. The court specifically found that Samsung's fee demands were so outrageously high that Samsung was not negotiating or offering the patents in good faith. In other words, this Dutch court put legal weight and obligation behind Samsung's pledge to the international standards body that its patents would be offered under FRAND terms, a point that you've attempted to obfuscate as unclear and undecided.

Whitewashing reality to fit your ideology isn't going to work. It's a reflection on your lack of credibility that you can't even report a significant development in this patent dispute honestly and openly.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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