Samsung To Release Modified Galaxy Tab 10.1N

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Galaxy Tab 10.1N will bypass Apple’s claims to patent infringement in several countries, Samsung hopes

Samsung is to release a modified version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in an effort to appease Apple, which accuses it of violating its intellectual property.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1N, which goes on sale on sale next week, features two design modifications and a slightly different name in an effort to circumvent a number of bans against the sale of the device, most notably in Germany.

Legal tightrope

The two changes concern the frame of the device and the loudspeakers. The metal frame, called the bezel, now wraps around the edge of the device to the extent that part of it covers the margins on the front side, while the location of the speakers has been changed.

Intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller commented, “I’m not in the position to say that this product definitely steers clear of infringement. That’s up for the courts to decide. But without a doubt, Samsung has upped the ante for Apple and its lawyers in case they wish to request a new injunction or allege that this constitutes an infringement of the existing one.”

He added, “The Galaxy Tab 10.1N still has rounded corners, but Apple doesn’t have an exclusive right on just one such feature: what is protected is a set of characteristics and the overall impression it makes.”

Released in July, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was greeted with positive reviews which deemed it to be a strong competitor to the market-leading Apple iPad and eWEEK readers recently voted it their favourite tablet for business.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

However Apple viewed the device’s design as little more than an imitation of the iPad and launched legal action in a number of key markets, including the US, where it accused Samsung of violating its intellectual property rights, and Australia, which banned the sale of the tablet.

In August, Apple succeeded in gaining a preliminary junction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, forcing Samsung to withdraw the model from sale in all EU countries, except the Netherlands, which refused to ban it.

A German court went one step further and permanently banned the device from sale in the country, a judgement which originally applied to all EU countries, but was eventually limited to only Germany after it was ruled that the court had no jurisdiction over other member states.

These lawsuits are part of a wider crusade by Apple against the Android operating system. The company’s late CEO Steve Jobs viewed the software as a “stolen product” and manufacturers such as HTC and Motorola have faced the wrath of Apple’s legal team.

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