Samsung Wins Long Legal Battle with Apple in Australia
Samsung Electronics won a round of its bruising global patent fight with Apple Inc. on Friday when an Australian court lifted a ban on the sales of its Galaxy tablet, just in time for the busy Christmas shopping season.
But the South Korean firm’s triumph in a Sydney courtroom was tempered by a setback the previous day in Paris, where another court rejected its bid to block sales of Apple’s iPhone 4S in France.
Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in some 30 legal cases in 10 countries since April, as they jostle for the top spot in the booming smartphone and tablet markets.
The Australian High Court ruling allows Samsung to offer the device to Australian shoppers for the final weeks of the key Christmas shopping season and came a week after a U.S. court denied Apple’s plea to ban Galaxy phones and tablets in the country.
Tyler McGee, the Vice President of Telecommunications at Samsung Australia welcomed the latest move by the High Court.
“We are really excited about the opportunity now for consumers to be able to touch, see and purchase the Galaxy 10.1. From our perspective, we believe that we can sell as many devices as we can actually get in the market place between now and Christmas, but an absolute number would be quite hard to justify at this time,” he said.
Samsung’s Galaxy tablet 10.1, which is considered one of the main alternatives to Apple’s iPad has been kept out of the Australian market since late July.
The Australian market, while not huge, is the first launch market for Apple products outside the United States.
Samsung and Apple are currently locked in the biggest legal battle for the global technology industry across 10 countries as they jostle for the top spot in the fast-growing smartphone and tablet computer markets.
Analysts said the legal winning over the design patent gives Samsung the edge on future cases.
“We believe Samsung’s win at an Australian court will make a positive effect on its mobile business. Sales increase in Australian market is not the big issue actually. Since the win is the result of Samsung’s active and diversified efforts, Samsung will make more powerful and more active legal actions. And Samsung won a battle of design patent prosecuted by Apple, so favourable effects on similar cases are expected,” said Brian Park, a senior researcher at Tongyang Securities in Seoul.
Apple has accused Samsung of “slavishly” ripping off its designs, while Samsung has launched suits against Apple.
Apple has appealed the decision at the Australian High Court, which is the final court of appeal. Apple could not be reached for comment immediately.
Samsung is the world’s top smartphone maker, but a distant second to Apple in tablets.
The quarrel has triggered expectations that some of the pair’s $5 billion-plus relationship may be up for grabs.
Samsung counts Apple as its biggest customer and makes parts central to Apple’s mobile devices.