Bloomberg News

Apple Lawsuit Puts Samsung Tablet Sales in Australia on Hold

August 02, 2011

(Updates with Samsung comment in seventh paragraph.)

Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. won an agreement from Samsung Electronics Co. that the South Korean company won’t sell the newest version of its tablet computer in Australia until a patent lawsuit in the country is resolved.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes 10 Apple patents, including the “look and feel,” and touchscreen technology of the iPad, Steven Burley, a lawyer for Apple, told Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett in Sydney yesterday. The Cupertino, California-based company sought an Australian injunction and also wants to stop Samsung from selling the tablet in other countries, Burley said without specifying where.

Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, agreed to stop advertising the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and not to sell the device until it wins court approval or the lawsuit is resolved, according to an accord reached by lawyers during a break in the hearing. Should Apple lose its patent infringement lawsuit, it agreed to pay Samsung damages, which weren’t specified.

The dispute between the companies began in April when Apple sued Samsung in the U.S., claiming the Galaxy products “slavishly” imitated the designs and technologies used for its iPad and iPhone. Samsung, which supplies memory chips for Apple, retaliated with lawsuits in South Korea, Japan, Germany and the U.S.

Imminent Launch

The Australian injunction is necessary because Samsung has had “announcements of an imminent launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 device ongoing since July 20,” Burley said before the agreement was announced.

Apple is basing yesterday’s claim on a U.S. version of the Galaxy tablet, which is different from the one that will be sold in Australia, Samsung’s lawyer Neil Murray said.

Samsung had no plans to sell the U.S. version of the Galaxy tablet in Australia, the company said in an e-mailed statement today.

The agreement to halt advertising and sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 doesn’t affect any other Samsung tablet or smart phone available in Australia, or other countries, the company said.

Samsung agreed to provide Apple three samples of the Australian version of the computer tablet at least seven days before it planned to start distributing it so the U.S. company could review it, according to the agreement submitted in court.

Bennett scheduled a hearing for Aug. 29 to review the status of the case and set a trial date if necessary.

The case is: Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. NSD1243/2011. Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).

--With assistance from Saeromi Shin in Seoul. Editors: Anand Krishnamoorthy, Young-Sam Cho.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net; Robert Fenner in Melbourne at rfenner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net; Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net


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