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  (Source: Mother Truth Blog)
France court also refuses Samsung's request to ban Apple's iPhone 4S; pair forced to compete on the market

Australian shoppers may finally themselves scratching their heads in dumbfoundment when they are greeted by the gourgeous display of Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) popular Galaxy Tab 10.1.  "Is this a free market again?" they may wonder.

Well, yes.  The wheels of justice have been turning and Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) attempt to replicate it's government-enforced monopoly it enjoys on modern "minimalist" tablets (thin, rectangular, touch-driven, with few redundant face buttons) in Germany was struck down by an Australian appeals court.

To recap:

The original ban was put in place by Justice Annabelle Bennett said that Apple had a prima facie case regarding infringement, or in English, that it appeared at first glance that Samsung's infringement was self-evident given the facts.  

Specifically, she said that Samsung appeared to be infringing on an Apple touch-input heuristics patent (AU 2007286532) and a patent involving the manufacturing process used to make the iPad/iPad 2 touch screen (AU 2005246219).  The decision came in October; over two months after Samsung agreed to temporarily halt sales while Justice Bennett ponder the preliminary injunction.

Cheered by the win, Apple looked to extend its reach to Samsung tablets of all sizes, banning the Galaxy Tab 7 and Galaxy Tab 10.1v, which had not yet been explicitly banned in the region.  Apple's lawyer made his bid at a full monopoly on "minimalist" designs commenting, "Samsung says Galaxy Tab 10.1, we say any tablet device."

It was there that it was dealt its first setback in the Australian court campaign.  Justice Annabelle Bennett dismissed the request for more preliminary injunction bans, saying she was not convinced that this "rolling mandatory injunction" (as Samsung's attorney labeled it) was warranted.  Apple would not have its blanket monopoly.  But it least had one triumph in its cap.

Following that decision, Samsung offered to make peace with Apple in October, but Apple refused.

Then at the end of November a panel of three judges -- Justices John Dowsett, Lindsay Foster and David Yates -- dealt a harsh blow to Apple, ruling that Judge Bennett's logic in delivering a preliminary injunction was "grossly unjust" and complained that she "misunderstood and misapplied" the basics of Australian law regarding preliminary injunctions.  They did force Samsung to endure one last delay, allowing apple to appeal the appeal.

Back to Present:

Fast forward a week and a half and a second panel of three Sydney, Australia High Court judges unanimously agreed to dismiss Apple's application for special leave to appeal the Federal Court's repeal of the sales ban.

Time to Tab

That means the Galaxy Tab 10.1 can now launch, just in time for Christmas.  The local Herald Sun paper reports that it will be priced at $579 AU and $729 AU for the WiFi and WiFi+3G models ($1 AU = $1.02 USD).

While damage has been done to Samsung's bottom line, at least its suffering is at last come to an end.

Apple bitterly refused to comment on the defeat.

Samsung Also Humbled:

In what some are hailing as a similar victory for free market competition and a similar move towards ending to anticompetitive litigation, Samsung's request to get a preliminary injunction banning iPhone 4S sales in France was struck down.  Based on the wording of the Reuters report, it sounds that Samsung's case will still be heard (as in Apple's Australian case), but that the court ordered Samsung to pay "100,000 euros ($133,900)" of Apple's legal costs for inappropriately request a preliminary injunction.

While some would like to see Apple or Samsung successfully ban the other's products in internation courts, many have grown frustrated with the pair's 80+ lawsuits.  

Of course Apple started the fight, with late CEO and company co-founder Steven Jobs calling Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system a "stolen product" and vowing to spend all of his company's money, if necessary to "destroy" manufacturers using Android.

But some would rather let the pair fight their war on the free market, spending their money on bettering their products, rather than trying to buy a victory by instead funneling that money to finance high-powered legal teams, an expenditure which would do little good for customers.

The Free Market
Some people are opposed to companies using litigation as an anticompetitive tool to ban each other's products, regardless of who started the fight and who wins it.
[Image Source: The Free Market]

So far that's more or less what has happening.  Courts in the U.S. and now Australia have refused to grant Apple's request for a sales ban, while a court in the Netherlands rejected Apple's efforts to ban slightly modified Samsung devices, which removed what the court ruled was an infringing feature.  Similarly courts in the Netherlands, and now France, have rejected Samsung's counter efforts to ban the iPhone 4S.

Thus far the only ban still in effect is the German court order, which grants Apple a blanket monopoly of the "minimalist" tablet space.  The greater sentiment of the judicial system will soon be tested, though, as Samsung has submitted a redesigned tablet that, while still rectangular, removes virtually any design similarities in color scheme or I/O input placement between the iPad and the Galaxy Tab tablets.  

Apple wants the new design banned from sale -- after all it is a tablet.  It should be interesting to see if the German court continues to live in its own reality which appears to be distinctly separate from its European Union and international peers.

Sources: The Herald Sun (AU), Reuters

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RE: I could be wrong but...
By testerguy on 12/11/2011 8:00:34 AM , Rating: 1
But when someone can make a similar product and sell it for half the price, then that just means that Apple is charging twice as much as they should for the same product

Well lets not get carried away.

The product Samsung came up with is vastly, vastly inferior, so comparing prices is ridiculous anyway. Lets make that very clear.

But even if it wasn't, you miss the point. A lot of the cost associated with products is the R&D - the design, the engineering - all of which are taken out if you 'copy' the work of others. That's why there exist such concept as patents and copyright. Samsung blatantly copied Apples work and, of course, makes far less profit because they can't appeal to customers in any other way - but much of that cost reduction came because they basically ripped off existing designs, instead of investing in some of their own innovative ideas.

RE: I could be wrong but...
By BZDTemp on 12/11/2011 8:58:28 AM , Rating: 2
Saying the pad from Samsung is vastly inferior is getting carried away.

As for Samsung copying vs. Apple doing R&D that is fun to hear considering the statements made by Apple in the past regarding how to steal ideas and that Apple is shamelessly doing so (if you you need to be reminded ).

I used to like Apple but Apple has become as bad as Microsoft if not worse :-(

RE: I could be wrong but...
By Helbore on 12/12/2011 5:42:05 AM , Rating: 3
How much money do you think it cost Apple's R&D department in order to decide the iPad should be a rectangle with a border?

Apple did not invent or manufacture the LCD displays in the iPad.

Apple did not invent the ARM architecture that runs the guts of the iPad.

They didn't invent the cellular or wifi radios that give it network connectivity.

They made iOS and that's it (and even that is just based on BSD, which they didn't invent, either). Samsung haven't ripped off iOS, because if you look at the Galaxy Tab, it's interface is nothing like iOS.

What people fail to understand about the tablet market is that Apple didn't magically invent a product that reinvigorated a stagnant market. IT was simply that large touchscreens were always too expensive and x86 processors were too power-hungry. Apple simply released a tablet when the associated technologies (ARM SoCs, NAND flash, large capacitive touchscreens) were at an affordable level to make a tablet with. IF they tried several year prior, they'd have a tablet like all the others on the market at the time.

The companies responsible for the innovation are those who develop and build the SoCs (people like Ti, Qualcomm, etc) and flash technologies (like Intel, Micron, Samsung, etc). Apple's hardware R&D consisted of choosing what bits that other people made should go into their device - but that should be no more patentable than me deciding to put my clothes in a drawer that is the right size to fit them in.

RE: I could be wrong but...
By ati666 on 12/12/2011 10:10:31 AM , Rating: 2
“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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