Apple wins bid to block Galaxy tab in Australia

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Apple wins bid to block Galaxy tab in Australia

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Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 is pictured at a store in Australia before Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett granted yesterday Apple’s request for an injunction barring the sale of the tablet in the country until the two companies’ patent dispute is resolved. Bloomberg


Samsung Electronics suffered a setback yesterday in its ongoing patent dispute with Apple as the Federal Court of Australia granted a temporary injunction barring sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country.

This marks Apple’s second victory in recent weeks after it successfully managed to keep the Samsung tablet off store shelves in Germany and the Netherlands.

Samsung fired back by vowing to appeal the Australian verdict. Several days earlier, it announced it would be launching revised versions of its Galaxy smartphones in the Netherlands to circumnavigate the sales ban there by tweaking a key feature on the handset.

Apple and Samsung - the world’s top two smartphone makers respectively - are locked in about 20 legal disputes over patents in nine countries.

Samsung has become more confrontational recently, despite the fact that its U.S. rival also serves as its biggest parts buyer, and is now seeking to prevent the iPhone 4S from being sold in France and Italy. Apple’s latest handset was released globally last week but is not yet available in Korea.

Setback Down Under

In explaining her judgment on Apple’s litigation in Australia, Justice Annabelle Bennett ruled that refusing a temporary ban on the sale of the Galaxy 10.1 would have resulted in “significant” losses to Apple, according to media reports.

Bennett added that Samsung had been aware of the patent issues since April - the month that Apple launched a similar legal action in the United States - but had still gone ahead and tried to introduce the tablet in Australia.

Bennett’s full rationale for granting the injunction is due to be made public today.

Samsung immediately expressed its disappointment at the ruling.

“[We] will take all necessary measures, including legal action, to ensure our innovative products are available to consumers,” said a spokesman.

With the lucrative Christmas shopping season looming, the Korean tech giant is in a race against time to get the rulings against it overturned. Apple’s claims have already delayed the release of the Galaxy 10.1 for over two months in Australia, eating into Samsung’s profits. A final hearing in the Australian court is unlikely until next year, sources say.

Neil Young, a lawyer representing Samsung in the case, said earlier this month that Samsung would cancel the release of the Galaxy 10.1 as a whole if the injunction was granted. He said technology changes so quickly that missing the Christmas season would make the new tablet “dead” by the time it hits the shelves.

“It’s not good news for Samsung,” James Song, a Seoul-based analyst at Daewoo Securities, told Bloomberg. “They will have to look for legal and other countermeasures, such as modifying disputed elements.”

Quick-fix in Holland

Samsung on Wednesday said it will release revised versions of its three Galaxy smartphones in the Netherlands, tweaking a feature to get around a temporary sales ban on the products in the European country.

In August, a Dutch court barred Samsung from selling three smartphones - the Galaxy S, Galaxy SII and Ace - for infringing Apple’s patents. But Samsung has refused to take the decision lying down.

It has repeatedly pointed to the fact that the Dutch court only agreed Samsung had breached one of the 10 patents Apple claimed had been violated to support its argument that it can fix the problem by today’s deadline. The patent in question relates to the way people scroll photos on their phones.

“We have already fixed the ‘photo flicking’ problem that the Dutch court has ruled was the only ‘infringement’ of the ten cited by Apple,” Samsung announced, adding that it can easily replace the technology with its own.

The electronics powerhouse added that the new technology has also been applied to its fourth-generation (4G) smartphones, namely, the Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy S II HD LTE. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and offers data-transferring speeds of at least five times faster that pre-existing networks. Samsung has not yet disclosed when it will release the two new smartphones in Holland.


By Kim Hyung-eun, Park Hyun-young [hkim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

호주도 갤럭시탭 10.1 판매금지…삼성, 유럽에서처럼 반격 검토

“애플이 문제 삼은 기술 AMOLED로 바꾸면 해결”


삼성전자 태블릿PC ‘갤럭시탭 10.1’의 호주 판매가 금지됐다. 호주 연방법원은 올해 7월 애플이 제기한 갤럭시탭의 호주 내 판매금지 가처분 신청을 13일 받아들였다.

 재판장인 애너벨 베넷 판사는 “두 회사의 특허권 논쟁이 향후 재판에서 해결될 때까지 호주에서 갤럭시탭의 판매를 잠정적으로 금지한다”고 결정했다. 이에 삼성전자는 “즉각 항소하겠다”고 밝혔다. 애플이 삼성전자가 침해했다고 주장한 터치 스크린 기술 관련 특허는 ‘멀티 터치’와 ‘휴리스틱스’ 등 두 가지 기술이다.

 멀티 터치는 화면을 두 개 이상의 손가락으로 터치하더라도 이를 각각 인식해서 확대·축소·회전 등 다양한 동작을 할 수 있는 기술이다. 휴리스틱스는 사진이나 화면을 넘기거나 스크롤할 때 손가락 동작이 정확하게 수평 또는 수직을 맞추지 않더라도 사용자가 화면을 어느 방향으로 움직이려는지 의도를 인식하는 기술이다.

 이날 법원은 판매금지 결정을 내린 자세한 이유와 구체적인 법적 조치를 바로 공개하지 않았다. 따라서 멀티 터치와 휴리스틱스, 두 가지 쟁점 중 어느 건의 침해를 인정한 건지는 알려지지 않았다. 삼성전자는 항소를 포함한 모든 법적 조치를 취하겠다고 밝혔다. 또 문제가 된 기술을 변경 적용한 갤럭시탭 출시를 검토하고 있다. 삼성전자 관계자는 “애플이 문제 삼은 기술은 모두 액정화면(LCD) 패널상에서 발생하는 기술적 문제”라면서 “LCD를 쓰지 않고 유기발광다이오드(AMOLED)로 바꾸면 문제가 사라진다”고 주장했다.

 삼성전자는 네덜란드 법원이 애플의 ‘포토 플리킹’ 기술에 대한 삼성의 특허 침해를 인정하며 갤럭시 시리즈 스마트폰의 판매를 금지하자, 이 기술을 빼고 삼성의 독자적인 기술을 적용한 제품을 최근 현지에서 출시했다. 삼성전자 관계자는 “가능한 모든 조치를 통해 호주 시장에서 제품을 지속적으로 공급할 수 있도록 노력하겠다”고 말했다.

 앞서 올해 7월 말 애플은 갤럭시탭이 아이패드2의 특허를 침해했다고 주장하며 호주 내 판매금지를 법원에 신청했다. 삼성전자는 법원의 권고를 받아들여 판매를 보류했다. 이에 따라 갤럭시탭은 현재 호주에서 판매 및 마케팅 활동이 이미 중단된 상태다. 갤럭시탭의 판매가 금지됨에 따라 연말 성수기를 앞두고 삼성전자의 호주 내 영업은 일단 타격을 입게 됐다.

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