Apple Suit Forces Samsung To Pull Galaxy Tab From IFA

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Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 is no longer on display at the IFA 2011 show, after Apple won an injunction in Germany

Samsung has been forced to withdraw its new Galaxy tablet from one of the world’s largest electronics shows – IFA 2011 – after Apple won an injunction against the device.

On Friday 2 September, a Dusseldorf court granted a request from Apple to ban Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 7.7 in Germany. This follows a previous ban of the 10.1-inch version back in August. The ban originally applied to nearly all European Union countries, but the court later limited the injunction’s scope to just Germany, saying it had no jurisdiction over other nations.

“Samsung respects the court’s decision… and therefore decided not to display any more the Galaxy Tab 7.7 in the IFA,” the company said in a statement. The device, together with all posters and promotional materials, have now been removed from Samsung’s booth. IFA takes place in Berlin.

Long-running legal battle

Apple and Samsung have been locked in a legal battle since April. According to Apple, the Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets infringes its patents, as they imitate the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad. However, Samsung has counter-sued Apple, claiming the company infringed Samsung’s wireless patents.

Apple has also filed a preliminary injunction to block importation of Samsung products into the US, and is embroiled in lawsuits in Europe, South Korea and Australia.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

“It’s true that companies need to protect their investments in intellectual property and there could yet be grounds for enforcing software changes or license fees on tablet manufacturers that have infringed Apple’s patents,” said Ovum principal analyst Tony Cripps, commenting on the initial tablet ban in August.

“However, any ruling against Samsung on the grounds of similarity in hardware design and appearance between the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the iPad – which is another of Apple’s complaints – would work against the best interests of both the industry and consumers.”

Samsung also suggested that banning its Galaxy devices will damage competition. A company spokesman was quoted by AFP as saying that the court ruling “severely limits consumer choice in Germany”.

Apple’s war on Android

Apple has launched similar intellectual-property lawsuits against HTC and Motorola, both of which offer a variety of tablets and smartphones running Android. Apple’s ongoing campaign against Android phone manufacturers, together with Google’s recent acquisition on Motorola Mobility, may push some of these companies to consider alternative software.

Last month it was reported that the South Korean government had urged Samsung to move away from its dependency on Google’s Android platform, calling on the company to join a government-backed consortium aimed at developing a home-grown mobile operating system.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is waiting in the wings to entice hardware manufacturers to adopt the Windows Phone OS and the tablet-oriented Windows 8. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was quoted last month as saying that Google’s Motorola acquisition justifies his decision to embrace Windows Phone.

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