The injunction previously won by Apple in Australia against the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab was overturned Tuesday as the result of a Federal Court appeal. The temporary injunction was unanimously ruled against by the court’s panel of judges, who agreed with Samsung on most legal issues brought up during the case, but its ruling can still be appealed by Apple.
Apple has until 4 p.m. local time Friday to file an application for permission to appeal to Australia’s High Court to see if it might reinstate the preliminary ban. Patent expert Mark Summerfield, speaking to Australia’s ITNews, thinks Apple’s counsel may decide to pass on an appeal attempt, which he sees as relatively unlikely to succeed, given the unanimous decision by this court, and the precedents it cited from High Court rulings in passing judgement. Apple at this point, however, intends to apply for special leave in time for the deadline. Apple is also responsible for Samsung’s legal costs incurred during the appeals process, according to the ruling.
After the 4 p.m. deadline on Friday, Samsung will immediately be free to sell its Galaxy Tab in Australia through whatever channels it has in place, with the caveat that it document and track each tablet and related application sale in case a permanent injunction hearing should later go against the South Korean company, and in case Apple is later awarded damages.
Samsung hasn’t yet revealed what its plans for launching the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia are at this point. It earlier argued that if it was prevented from selling the device after mid-October, there would effectively be little to be gained by a launch. But Samsung’s lead counsel in the case argued against the stay that gave Apple until Friday to file for permission to appeal, saying that it would “continue to cause substantial injustice and hardship to Samsung,” as a result of “the pendency of the Christmas trading period.” The statement definitely makes it sound like the Tab 10.1 will hit store shelves in Australia in short order.
The ruling is a major setback for Apple, since it basically takes away the iPad maker’s initial successes in its case against Samsung. That means the burden will once again be squarely on Apple’s shoulders when it seeks a permanent injunction in the full trial to be held next year.