Apple and Samsung appeared in Australian court today preceded by Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett to discuss whether Samsung is allowed to sell other tablets in Australia. And this time, the court ruled in favor of Samsung.
Apple wanted the court to ban Samsung from selling any other tablets, as they fear Samsung would just rename the product, selling a device that still contains the infringing patents. They also asked the court to give them early copies of the tablet that Samsung would sell in the coming weeks, just to be sure that they are not infringing on Apple’s patents.
Samsung retaliated by saying that the hearing was focused on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 only, and if the court grants Apple’s request for all Samsung tablets be banned in Australia, that would affect their other tablets that are already out in the Australian market.
Justice Bennett’s handed down her final orders stating that Samsung is not allowed to launch “any version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1″ until the completion of proceedings. Also, Justice Bennett stated that Samsung is likely to pre-announce any new products before they go on sale and this would give Apple enough time to file for injunctions if they find the new products infringing their patents.
“It does seem to me not to be warranted that the sort of order that you’ve sought be applied,” Justice Bennett said.
Florian Mueller, the noted FOSS patent blogger that has kept an eye on Apple vs. Android-powered devices, stated on his blog yesterday that, “After today’s decision, I believe no company in the industry be able to launch any new Android-based touchscreen product in Australia anytime soon without incurring a high risk of another interim injunction. The two patents on which today’s ruling is based aren’t Galaxy Tab 10.1-specific at all. They will affect all Android-based smartphones and tablet computers, across all vendors.”
What Mueller stated is true. The problem I see with all the patent infringement cases Apple has filed is that they are all an indirect hit to the Android platform. Apple’s vigilance in infringement court cases merely furthers the idea that the company isn’t innovative enough to directly battle Android devices where consumers play the role of judge and jury.
As for the US battle between Samsung and Apple, things are a little more vague. Though U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh thought that Samsung infringed Apple’s iPad patents, Apple must show that Samsung infringed its patents and that its patents are valid under the law. Koh also said that she would deny Apple’s request for an injunction based on one of Apple’s so-called “utility” patents, but she did not say whether she would grant the injunction based on three other Apple “design” patents because she thought the utility patent was tentative. When the US case was filed in July, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA opposed Apple’s request, arguing that banning Galaxy products would greatly affect their own holiday sales.