Judge To Samsung: Hand Over Those Tabs!
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com
It’s been a busy month for Apple’s legal team as they defend their patents and seek injunctions.
Even though an Illinois Judge threw out their case against Motorola, with prejudice, on Friday, Judge Lucy Koh handed down a rather favorable ruling on Tuesday: Samsung must stop selling their Galaxy 10.1 tablets in the US until the companies are finally able to bring their patent disputes to an end.
Samsung, of course, intends to appeal the ruling. Their appeals may all be in vain, however, as Koh is now saying she expects Apple’s suit to prevail.
“Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products,” Koh wrote in her ruling on Tuesday.
Koh had previously rejected such a ban on Samsung phones and tablets, which run Google’s Android operating system. She revisited the claim after a federal court instructed her to reconsider her first ruling in the case. Now, Apple must front $2.6 million in bond to protect Samsung from damages if the injunction is found to be wrong.
“Apple sought a preliminary injunction of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, based on a single design patent that addressed just one aspect of the product’s overall design,” Samsung said in a statement.
“Should Apple continue to make legal claims based on such a generic design patent, design innovation and progress in the industry could be restricted.”
Apple claims that Samsung has “slavishly copied” their designs, right down to the packaging. In previous rulings, Apple spokespersons have said, “It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad.”
“This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”
Late last year, Apple was able to block sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany on similar claims. To get around this legal block, Samsung created the Galaxy 10.1N, a tablet which looked just different enough to continue selling in Germany.
Samsung could potentially do the same thing here in the States, or do nothing at all.
According to what patent expert Florian Mueller told TG Daily, “At this stage of the lifecycle of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, it’s possible that Samsung decides to just take it from the market and focus on new product launches. But if it wanted to continue to sell it in the United States for some more time, it would simply redesign.”
While a ban against Tabs is a huge win for Apple, it may be more of a symbol than a crushing blow.
According to a NPD survey last month, Samsung only sold 1 million tablets (of any size) last quarter; Apple sold 13.6 million.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s smartphone business is heating up as their new Galaxy S III is ready to land on American shores. On Monday, Samsung’s president of mobile communications, Shin Jong kyun, said they expected to sell 10 million units of their brand new iPhone competitor. It’s also interesting to note, however, that various media outlets, like Korea Economic Daily, had reported that Samsung had already blown through 9 million of the device in UK pre-orders alone.