Yesterday was a bad day at the office for the folks at Apple Australia, with the tech giant being fined AU$2.25 million for misleading consumers over its new iPad 4, while it faces a new court action from rivals Samsung Electronics over allegations concerning four of its patents.
Apple Australia agreed on Thursday to pay the fine to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) after admitting it had misled consumers over its advertising for the iPad 4.
The device was advertised as being “Wifi + 4G” compatible despite the fact that it didn’t work on any of Australia’s existing 4G networks. At present, the iPad 4 is only compatible with 700 and 2100 MHz 4G frequencies, not the 1800 MHz 4G frequency used by Australian networks.
The company further agreed to pay AU$300,000 to the ACCC to cover their court costs.
In addition to the fine, Apple have accepted a request by the ACCC to put up notices at all points of sale warning consumers that the iPad 4 does not work with any 4G or Wimax networks.
Justice Mordecai Bromberg, sitting at the Federal Court in Victoria, has yet to approve the fine. Despite being asked by both Apple and the ACCC to do so, the judge deferred the request until next Wednesday, claiming he was unhappy at the lack of financial information provided to the court by Apple.
Specifically, Justice Bromberg requested information regarding the number of iPads sold under false advertising and also the number of units returned and refunded. The judge also requested that Apple provide information on the difference in performance of the iPad 4 when the device is used on a 3G or 4G network.
Apple’s aches and pains in Australia were compounded on Thursday when it was revealed that rival electronics firm Samsung is suing the country’s Commissioner of Patents in a bid to invalidate four Apple patents.
Samsung, which first filed its case last month, yesterday outlined allegations that the commissioner of patents went beyond his powers when granting the four patents to Apple. The patents concerned are the basis of a 2011 case launched by Apple against the Korean firm over its Galaxy Tab 10.1 device, which apparently incorporates all four into its design.
For its part, Samsung is claiming that Apple shouldn’t have been granted those patents, as it already held ‘innovation patents’ on the four inventions. Under Australian law, it’s illegal to hold both ‘standard’ and ‘innovation’ patents on the same invention.
If Samsung is successful in its quest to have the four patents stripped from Apple, it’s likely that the Korean firm would win its long-running court battle over the Galaxy Tab 10.1, as Apple have already let the innovation patents expire.