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Samsung Galaxy Tab Block in Australia

Apple Wins Block on Samsung Tablet in Australia

Apple Inc. won a victory Thursday in its global patent battle with Samsung Electronics Co. when a judge in Australia issued a temporary injunction blocking the South Korean company from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer there.

Justice Annabelle Bennett ruled that the Samsung product couldn’t be sold in Australia if it used features such as touch-screen technology that U.S.-based Apple claims infringe patents used in its iPad tablet.

The ruling is a skirmish in a wider global war in which two of the world’s biggest technology companies are vying for supremacy in the US$100 billion market for tablet computers and smartphones. Behind that stands another conflict.

“In the end it’s a battle between Apple and Google,” said Paul Budde, an independent telecommunications analyst. Google Inc.’s Android operating system runs many of the computers and mobile devices that have been the target of Apple’s patent suits.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Banned in Australia

Mr. Budde called the Australian decision a short-term victory but long-term loss for Apple: “I can clearly see that Apple has a case that it has created some innovative new technology, but on the other hand the reality is we live in an open world and you cannot because of one innovation stop the rest of the world going in similar directions.”

Apple, the world’s biggest technology company by market value, has already persuaded a court in Germany to ban sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab in Europe’s biggest economy. Other countries where the two companies have launched patent claims against one another include the U.S., Japan and South Korea.

Samsung hinted it might appeal the Sydney court ruling and vowed to pursue a counterclaim, alleging that Apple infringes on some of its wireless-technology patents. Samsung last week said it will try to stop the sale of Apple’s iPhone 4S in France and Italy, arguing it infringes on patents covering third-generation transmission technology.

“We are disappointed with this ruling and Samsung will be seeking legal advice on its options,” the company said in a written statement. “We will continue to legally assert our intellectual property rights against those who violate Samsung’s patents and free ride on our technology.”

During the hearing earlier this month, Samsung’s lawyers warned that preventing sales of the Galaxy Tab could leave the computer “commercially dead” in Australia, due to the speed of innovation in the market. It would be unlikely for sales to begin in time for the crucial holiday-shopping season, they argued. Apple has sold an estimated 500,000 iPads in Australia, according to a Credit Suisse report in June.
Apple Wins Block on Samsung Tablet in Australia

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