Bloomberg News

Samsung to Delay Australia Debut of Tablet for Second Time

August 29, 2011

(Adds Samsung statement in fourth paragraph.)

Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co. agreed to push back the introduction of its newest tablet computer in Australia until the end of next month, the second delay in a month in its dispute with Apple Inc. in the country.

Samsung will defer the launch of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer pending a hearing scheduled the week of Sept. 26. on Apple’s request for an injunction, the Suwon, South Korea-based electronics maker said in a statement. David Catterns, an attorney representing Samsung, said his client is prepared to wait until the end of September.

The decision comes four weeks after Samsung first agreed to hold off on the Australian debut of the product. The two companies, the world’s two biggest makers of tablet computers, are also locked in legal disputes in markets including the U.S., Germany and South Korea.

Samsung will continue to push for the release of the product in Australia to “ensure that consumers have a wider selection of innovative products to choose from,” it said in an e-mailed statement.

Samsung had agreed at an Aug. 2 hearing to hold off on sales of the 10.1 tablet, after Apple claimed the device infringed 10 of its patents, including the “look and feel” of the iPad.

‘Reduced Functionality’

Samsung said the claim was based on a U.S. model and the Australian version was different. The company last week provided Apple’s legal team with three samples of the 10.1 version intended to be sold in Australia, Steven Burley, an attorney representing Apple, told Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett today.

Burley said the Australian model, which has “reduced functionality,” still violates at least two of Apple’s patents. Samsung’s Catterns said the Australian model has “different features” and doesn’t have “reduced functionality.”

The lawyers agreed to two days of hearings on Apple’s request for an injunction barring the sale of the 10.1 tablet in Australia until the resolution of the dispute, which may take months. The hearings are scheduled for Sept. 26 and 29.

The agreement to halt advertising and the sale of the 10.1 tablet doesn’t affect any other Samsung tablet or smartphone available in Australia, or other countries, the company said following the Aug. 2 hearing.

A German judge said on Aug. 25 that Apple’s intellectual rights are probably strong enough to ban the sales of the 10.1 tablet in that country.

In the U.S., Samsung is arguing that Apple stole the design for its iPad from the Stanley Kubrick 1969 film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

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

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

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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