Apple blocks Samsung from selling Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia over patent dispute

Apple has successfully blocked manufacturing and electronics rival Samsung from selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablet in Australia, after accusing the Korean giant of infringing several patents regarding its touchscreen technology.

The move comes as the patent war in Silicon Valley continues to escalate by the week, with nearly every major company suing others for infringing on patents. Experts say that as the technology used by these companies becomes more commonplace, patent lawsuits have increased as giants act quickly to protect their market position.

Apple counsel, according to Bloomberg, told the Federal Court yesterday that the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the next iteration of the existing Galaxy Tab already available in Australia, infringes 10 patents. One of those relates to the “look and feel” of the device, along with specific touchscreen technology.

Apple also reportedly wants to stop the company from selling the tablet in other countries as well.

“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas,” it said in a statement this morning.

Samsung was contacted this morning, but a reply was not available before publication. The company is expected to make a statement this morning.

However, it has argued that it should be allowed to sell the device because Apple is basing its decision on an American model, which won’t necessarily be the same gadget that is sold within Australia.

The 10.1 tablet was slated to be released next Thursday. It is now unknown by what date the gadget will be available to Australian consumers.

The legal battle between Apple and Samsung has been going on for months. Both companies have accused each other of stealing patented technologies for their devices, and both have attempted to stop the other from selling their products within American shops.

The controversy comes as a plethora of companies in Silicon Valley, including Google, Microsoft and HTC, have started suing each other over patented technologies.

While the companies argue they are merely protecting their rights, critics say that many of these patents are too general to actually be enforced, as many smartphone and tablet makers start using similar technology.

Apple has recently successfully sued HTC for infringing on patents, although Google has hinted that it will continue to defend the company.

Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi says any delay of an Android tablet is likely to create competition for competitors like Motorola, and doesn’t believe that this will give Apple a benefit over the Android platform.

“I’m not sure if Apple’s litigation will stop the tide of competing products, and ironically, actually creates awareness around the product that’s banned and increases demand for it.”

“The challenge, however, is that Samsung, because it’s such a dynamic player, needs to regularly bring new products to market in order to grow its market share.”

Fadaghi says the industry has now reached a point where major companies are prepared to use their major portfolios of patents.

Recently Nortel put up patents for sale, causing a bidding war that saw Google reportedly bid nearly $US1 billion for their control.

“This is simply verifying that we are in a big and important market. We know that Apple has significantly increased its share price after launching the iPhone, so it’s an important marketplace, and companies believe it’s time to get litigious and protect products.”

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