Apple has negotiated an agreement with Samsung that will prevent the South Korean company from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet device in Australia (via Bloomberg BusinessWeek), at least until legal proceedings between the two in that country are resolved. The block is not a result of a court-ordered injunction but is instead part of an accord reached between the litigants.
As part of the deal, Samsung agreed to stop advertising for the release of the Android-based Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and not to sell the device until the lawsuit is resolved or until it is granted approval by the court to do so. Apple appears to have won Samsung’s cooperation by promising to pay unspecified Samsung damages, should Apple lose the larger patent-infringement suit.
Apple sought an injunction in the Australian court because it claims the Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes 10 Apple patents, according to Apple lawyer Steven Burley’s statements to the court. The judge in the case set a hearing for Aug. 29 to determine a trial date, if one is deemed necessary. The Australian legal action brings the total number of Apple/Samsung ligation instances to 11 courts, in nine countries on four continents.
Patent blogger Florian Mueller told me in an email that he thinks the message should now be clear:
All observers of Apple’s disputes with Android device makers must increasingly realize that Apple’s strategy is clearly that of a company optimizing for product differentiation, not licensing revenues. Apple’s objective is to stop iPhone and iPad lookalikes altogether, and companies like HTC will be required to degrade the user experience of their differences in order to ensure the iOS user experience stays unique.
In other words, we aren’t likely to see the end of this kind of action anytime soon, especially now that the growth of smartphone hardware makers like Samsung and HTC threatens to bump Apple from its lofty new perch as the No. 1 global smartphone maker.