Sunday, May 20, 2012

Apple files for preliminary injunction against Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

We might soon have a triad of Android OEMs which have had devices banned from the U.S. While both HTC and Motorola Mobility have already had that ignominious honor applied to at least some of their devices, Samsung may soon be in the same boat.

[HTC has issued special software builds for the U.S., so it is not affected by the original ban. The proposed Microsoft-related ban on several Motorola Mobility handsets is currently in the Presidential review stage.]

Late Friday, Apple filed a motion in a U.S. district court to ban Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the U.S. The filing is based on an appeals court ruling from earlier in the week, one that sided with Apple on the likely validity of an iPad design patent (U.S. Patent No. D504,889).

The filing also came just a few days prior to Apple / Samsung court-mandated settlement negotiations, scheduled for May 21 and May 22.

That meeting is supposed to include the CEOs of both Apple and Samsung, Tim Cook and Choi Gee-sung, respectively. Considering that court-mandated meeting came via the same U.S. District Court that Apple filed the motion to ban with, it is unlikely an injunction will be granted until, at the very least, after the meeting.

Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court of Northern Califonia had, earlier this year, said that Apple was unlikely to win its design patent claim against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, siding with Samsung in saying that Apple's iPad-related claim would be considered invalid. However, earlier this week, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on the likely validity of the design patent, leading to Apple's filing.

Were the scheduled talks to fail (and we expect them to, considering they are only two days in length), Koh could, in she wanted to, issue an immediate preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1.

However, Judge Koh already has a June 7 court date set to hear arguments for a separate injunction Apple has requested against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone, the latest Google phone. Koh could hear further arguments on the Tab 10.1 injunction at the same time, rather than scheduling a separate hearing.

It's not as though any Android tablets are selling like hotcakes, anyway, so this isn't really going to affect Samsung's bottom line significantly. Even if a preliminary injunction were granted, Samsung would most likely follow the same court it took in Germany, where a similar preliminary injunction was issued. Samsung produced a modified product it dubbed the Galaxy Tab 10.1N.

While Apple attempted to have another injunction issued against the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, the Düsseldorf Regional Court denied it because the court concluded that the new design was sufficiently different from the iPad design patent that it no longer warranted an injunction.

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