Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Daily news: Ban lifted on Samsung Galaxy tablet... but did Apple mislead court with 'squashed' photo of rival device?

Samsung can sell its latest iPad rival in most of Europe again after a German court yesterday lifted most of an injunction it had imposed at Apple's request.

But just hours after the ban was lifted, Apple faced accusations of misrepresenting the Galaxy Tab's similarity to its iPad in a legal document that helped gain the original injunction.

A comparison image taken from page 28 of a filing made by Apple's lawyers featured a 'squashed' picture of the Galaxy Tab that looks identical in size and shape to the iPad.

In reality, the Galaxy Tab is far narrower than the iPad.

Misleading? This comparison image taken from legal papers filed by Apple's lawyers featured a 'squashed' picture of the Galaxy Tab that looks identical in size and shape to the iPad

Apple had said Samsung's Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets 'slavishly' copied the iPhone and iPad. It has sued in the U.S., Australia and elsewhere.

But a Dusseldorf regional court yesterday said it was questionable whether its authority extended to international companies operating outside Germany, so it restricted a preliminary ban imposed last week on Samsung Electronics to Germany.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab line of tablet computers is considered the most credible alternative to Apple's iPad, which has taken the market by storm, selling about 30million since its launch a year and a half ago.

Apple and others have moved aggressively to defend their intellectual property in maturing markets, especially against Google's Android software platform, on which the new Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet is built.

Android, a latecomer to the mobile market, has become a target by rapidly turning into the world's most popular smartphone platform.
Google is relatively defenceless because it owns few wireless patents, in contrast to older rivals.

However, Google yesterday announced a deal to buy Motorola Mobility, the descendant company of cellular phone pioneer Motorola, for $12.5billion, largely for its vast patent library.

The Dusseldorf court said its ban still applied to Germany, and also to the German unit of Samsung, Samsung GmbH, throughout the European Union.

A hearing in the case is now due next week.

Samsung said in a statement: 'We look forward to the opportunity to reassert our intellectual property rights at the hearing scheduled on August 25.'
Samsung has been locked in a battle with Apple over smartphone and tablet patents since April.

The Galaxy gadgets are seen as among the biggest challengers to Apple's mobile devices, which have achieved runaway success.

In Australia, Samsung has agreed to show Apple an Australian version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 one week before its launch there, a Samsung spokesman said.