First Round To Apple As Samsung Told To Pull Tab

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Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet will disappear from EU shelves if a court injunction is upheld

Apple has succeeded in gaining a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. At the moment, Samsung has to withdraw the model from sale in all of the European Union countries, except the Netherlands.

Samsung is appealing against the decision and was angry that the ban had been imposed “without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung”, according to a spokesman for the company.

A similar injunction was granted in Australia last week which resulted in Samsung agreeing not to introduce the tablet there until the court reaches a decision. The South Korean company will also be in court in the Netherlands for another hearing that could complete the European Union ban.

Market Leader Clone?

Apple is claiming that the design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is an imitation of the company’s iPad tablet. It was first to take action in the US but Samsung has fought back with countersuits in South Korea, Japan, Germany and the US.

The decision is a serious setback, not only for Samsung but for Android tablets generally. Many reviewers saw the Galaxy Tab as the most direct competitor to the iPad and the tablet that would give Apple a run for its money – perhaps the competition has proved to be too direct.

In the US, Apple is seeking an injunction until patent cases can be heard in court. To try this in Europe would have been complex, time-consuming and expensive because each country has its own patent laws. Software patents cannot be imposed because they are not recognised – though Germany is considering introducing a system which is possibly why Apple thought it might get a sympathetic hearing.

Apple decided to pitch for an intellectual property suit simply because it would result in an automatic EU-wide ban with all member countries but the Netherlands recently agreeing to harmonise their individual laws.

If Samsung’s appeal against this preliminary judgement fails, it could be a year or more before a decision is reached in court. By that time, the Samsung tablet would be long past its sell-by date from a technology viewpoint.

The whole case presents an interesting situation because Samsung is a major supplier of memory chips to Apple but the legal action may drive a wedge between the companies.

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