Summary:

A victory for Apple in its ongoing patent infringement battle with Samsung in Australia could have far-reaching implications. It prevents Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until further notice, and could eventually affect the sale of any new Android device in the country.

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A victory for Apple in its ongoing patent infringement battle with Samsung in Australia could have far-reaching implications. Justice Annabelle Bennett issued a decision for the Federal Court of Australia on Tuesday that bars Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in that country until a full hearing between the two settles their dispute.

Samsung had already agreed not to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, pending a formal decision by the court. Last week, the Korean company’s lawyer in the case talked about how further delays might result in Samsung abandoning its plan to sell the Tab 10.1 in Australia altogether, since Samsung’s ability to sell it during the lucrative Christmas season would be basically null.

Bennett said she considered that problem, but also weighed it against the potential damage to Apple’s business the Galaxy Tab 10.1 could pose, if it was allowed to be sold. Further explanations for the ruling will be released Friday by the court, but the judge clearly found that Samsung showed strong signs of having infringed upon two of Apple’s touchscreen and gesture control patents, which FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller describes as “very broad” and difficult to work around.

In fact, Mueller thinks the patents are so basic as to go way beyond the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Mueller believes no Android-based touchscreen product can avoid infringing on said patents, something Apple could use to help it block the sale of other new Android-powered iPad and iPhone competitors in Australia.

Intellectual property lawyer Mark Summerfield, speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald, suggested it might still be possible for Samsung to “launch what was, in effect, a hobbled version of the tablet,” but Mueller contends it would be difficult to do so without the specific patents in question.

A full hearing in this case likely won’t take place until next year. If Apple prevails there, I suspect we’ll see it use that victory to broaden its attack on many more Android manufacturing partners.

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