Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is showing absolutely no signs in letting up in its legal actions and injunctions against Samsung over alleged patent and design infringements. If anything, Apple has sharpened up its retaliations: the company has succeeded in getting an injunction in Germany on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, a tablet device that was only debuted late last week at a high profile event at a trade show in Berlin.
The news hit the wires in a most dramatic way: over the weekend, Samsung abruptly began to take down displays for the 7.7-inch model of the tablet at the IFA trade show, just days after the device was first revealed.
While the company at first did not give details about whether the device was removed because of an Apple action, later the company admitted as much in a story from the Yonhap news agency in Korea. A statement Samsung later provided to mocoNews shows that the company will continue to fight against this newest injunction, as it has with the rest of the cases in which it is up against Apple:
“Samsung respects the court’s decision (The District Court in Dusseldorf) made on September 2 and therefore decided not to display any more the GALAXY Tab 7.7 in IFA.
“However, we believe it severely limits consumer choice in Germany. Samsung will pursue all available measures, including legal options, to defend its intellectual property rights and ensure its innovative products remain available to German consumers.”
Like the previous injunction against the 10.1-inch tablet, this injunction, for now, will only apply in Germany, not the rest of the EU.
You can potentially see where some of the threat with Samsung lies for Apple, apart from the existing claims of infringing on Apple’s design and technology patents: it was starting to offer some beautiful features that actually separated it from the iPad. One of them was a “super” AMOLED display, which received positive reviews from the tech press for its quality compared to other tablets (even the iPad).
The device was on the small size of the tablet spectrum, but not only does that plays into the theory that some users are actually keen to have a smaller tablet (yet to be proven?) rather than a massive one. It also pads out — excuse the pun — Samsung’s tablet product line, which ranges from a five-inch phone/tablet all the way up to a 10.1-inch device, effectively offering a size for every possible taste, compared to the current single-sized offering from Apple.
Matthaus Krzykowski, a blogger and founder of the app store search company Xyologic, posed another issue: could all these Apple injunctions backfire on the company and result in a PR disaster? His thinking: such behavior is too domineering. “Such behaviour just breeds very strong Anti-Apple sentiments with the tech crowd,” he writes. “It also tells everybody that the Samsung products are dangerous for Apple aka ‘good enough’ for consumers.”
Food for thought, and worth seeing if that will actually play out. At the moment, Apple’s iPad has an 80 percent share of the tablet market in the U.S., and a 70 percent share in Europe, according to Forrester.
Ultimately, though, Samsung’s business model — like Nokia’s and unlike Apple’s — is to produce a high variety of devices at competitive prices, going after many market segments at one time. That strategy only works, though, if you’re actually allowed to sell that whole range.
Interestingly, another report indicates that Samsung does not have plans to release the 7.7 tablet (or the five-inch screen Galaxy Note launched on the same day) in the U.S., although we are still waiting for Samsung to confirm that to us directly.