The Apple-Samsung drama has been rather quiet in Australia compared to the clamor it’s created in Europe until today when Apple alleged that the Australian version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is also infringing Apple patents. Samsung had originally tried to circumvent the Australian GalTab injunction on the basis that it was the version intended for the U.S., and that the Australian variant was different.
Samsung, Apple, the court, and the rest of us all knew that this was simply a hail-Mary style prayer that the Australian version would somehow be varied enough from the U.S. version to slide past infringement territory. But… c’mon. A Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and that’s exactly how Apple felt. The amount and type of infringement claims Apple will make are as yet unknown since the company just got their hands on the Australian variants on Thursday of last week. But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Apple’s lawyers contended that the Australian GalTab does have “some reduced functionality,” but it “will still infringe.”
And if that weren’t enough, Samsung says it will file its own Australian patent infringement suit against Apple’s iPad. Which is pretty awful news considering that these two have basically taken their fight across the U.S., Europe and Australia, leaving a wake of dissatisfied customers and rich lawyers in their trail. But that’s an entirely different lawsuit on an entirely different day, and there’s really no telling which patents Samsung will throw out to make a dent in its foe’s armor.
What matters now is Apple’s complaint, which is keeping Australians from the GalTab 10.1 party. The slate was originally scheduled to launch August 11, or at least that was the date for Samsung’s media event. Apple ruined that fun claiming that the U.S. version was infringing its patents concerned with “look and feel” and touchscreen technology, and asked the court to block the GalTab until a formal decision had been reached.
When Samsung responded by saying it had an Australian GalTab in the works, Apple agreed to inspect three models of said GalTab to determine whether infringement was still an issue. Clearly, it’s still an issue, and so Apple asked the court to not only re-affirm its injunction on the U.S. version, but to prevent Samsung from selling the Australian version as well.
Samsung initially argued this, as the company had planned to begin selling the device on September 12. Eventually they came to their senses once Justice Annabelle Bennett reiterated that there may not be very much logic in launching only to have the slate pulled off shelves in a couple weeks. Samsung’s counsel then decided to hold off on the launch until after September 30.
On Friday, Apple will go into detail on each of the patents Samsung is allegedly infringing, and on September 5 the company will release a more in-depth statement of the facts. Once Samsung has had the chance to rebut, the formal hearing will take place September 26 and 29.
Justice Annabelle Bennet, though she owns an iPad, said she may need help in determining the actual claims of the patents and how they relate to each tablet. And we don’t blame her. Have you ever read through a patent? Not easy. In the meantime, Samsung will be preparing its counter-argument, which will likely include clips and images from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Samsung has cited the tablets within the film as “prior art” for the tablet design in its U.S. lawsuit, which could effectively get Samsung off the hook.
And we honestly hope it does. Not because we’re on Samsung’s side, or Apple’s for that matter, but because we’re really just ready for this mess to be over. The brawl has lasted about four months, spread across three continents, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down at all. In the end, Apple and Samsung will survive. It’s the innocent consumers who are losing big.