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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 spaced_ on 12/12/2011 4:52:35 AM , Rating: 4
I highly doubt he is actually an Apple employee.

Apple are too good at PR/marketing to waste money hiring a guy to spam web sites just to make Apple look bad. That's kind of counter-productive.

More likely he is an Apple evangelist who's taken his love of the corporate product to the extreme. Liken it to religion.

If you're a hardcore Christian and I say Jesus was actually a tool, God is actually Satan and you're a lesser human being for believing the opposite, you'd likely be offended and spout out all kinds of things at me in defense of your religion. Even if I had evidence showing the opposite. As it may adversely affect the way the reward center in your brain behaves, or what not.

It's pretty obvious based on Jobs' quotes that the call came right from the top to wage a crusade against Android. Rightly so, as I imagine Android's ability to quickly eat away at Apple's market share was hurting poor Steve's giant ego.

I wouldn't worry. Unless Steve had/has a close friend to continue the crusade at the top of the food chain, the aggressive legal stance from Apple should die down soon enough. Mind you, they do have plenty of reserves in their coffers with guys like Tony supporting the cause, so maybe it'll continue a bit longer.

But the most interesting thing about this whole patent troll endeavour from Apple that I've gleaned is the mess the patent system is, and likely, will continue to be in. As a programmer and tech enthusiast myself, it's scary how much you're at the mercy of the patent holder if you're to try to innovate. You can be sued to oblivion if you become successful using common sense to design whatever it is you wish to make.

In some ways it's good, if Apple continues on their crusade, it might force government intervention to do something about technology patents. On the other hand, potentially it might not and we can all hold hands in Apple land with Tony, furiously tapping away on our multi-touch(TM) devices, whilst paying homage to the messiah (Steve), saying a prayer to lesser primitive peoples and the less fortunate who can't afford an iTool.


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher














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