Australian Court Silences Apple's Cries, Allows Samsung Tablet to Launch
December 9, 2011 1:18 PM
(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. (
) 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 (
) 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.
The original ban was
put in place
by Justice Annabelle Bennett said that Apple had a
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 (
) and a patent involving the manufacturing process used to make the iPad/iPad 2 touch screen (
). 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
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.
That means the Galaxy Tab 10.1 can now launch, just in time for Christmas. The local
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
, Samsung's request to get a preliminary injunction banning iPhone 4S sales in France was struck down. Based on the wording of the
, 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 (
) 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.
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.
wants the new design banned
from sale -- after all it
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.
The Herald Sun (AU)
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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