Could there be a little glimmer of light at the end of the tablet injunction tunnel for Samsung in Australia? With Christmas now exactly one month away, a panel of appeals judges in Sydney is considering overturning the order that has prohibited Samsung from launching its 10.1-inch tablet in the country, as a patent infringement case brought against Samsung by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) makes its way through the courts.
In a case heard today in an appeals court in Sydney, at least two of the judges made comments that at least make it sound like they were giving Samsung a bit more credit, and casting a bit of doubt on the original decision made by Justice Annabelle Bennett to prohibit Samsung from selling its tablet in the country.
Federal Court Justice Lindsay Foster called Justice Bennett’s ruling “terribly fair to Apple and not terribly fair to Samsung.” (via Bloomberg)
Meanwhile, another judge on the panel of three, Justice John Dowsett, said Apple’s arguments for an injunction were “very speculative.” Apple had claimed that it needed the injunction because Samsung would otherwise get an unfair advantage in the market with its portfolio of phones and tablets, and that it would have been impossible to track those sales in the market to claim damages after the fact.
Does that sound like it might be an overstatement by Apple? Well, it’s not the only one doing some serious posturing:
Samsung has been arguing that if it cannot get enough time to sell the product before the new year, it may have to scrap the launch of the device in Australia altogether, because technology will have moved along too fast and the device will be outdated by the time the actual case gets heard next year. Considering that the tablet was at the top end of device specifications when it was unveiled, and that the iPad 2 and Kindle, both very much selling strong, are less souped up than the 10.1 Galaxy Tab, that too may be a bit of a stretch of the truth.
Samsung is a significantly bigger player than Apple in the wider mobile world, but when it comes to the area of tablets the iPad from Apple is by far the biggest seller.
Apple originally filed a case against Samsung in April when it accused the Android-based tablet maker of slavishly copying its designs for tablets and smartphones. Apple has taken its case to a number of countries in Europe, the U.S., Asia and Australia. Samsung has been hitting back with patent suits of its own over wireless technology licenses. So far, Apple has managed to get injunctions in Germany and Australia with one overturned in the Netherlands. Apple faces an injunction too in Germany, but over a case concerning Motorola (NYSE: MMI) rather than Samsung.
The appeals judges in Sydney will likely produce a verdict next week.