Samsung Wins Australian Patent Appeal, Ban On Tablets Lifted

Patent LawyerSan Diego – Samsung has prevailed in its appeal to lift the preliminary injunction banning sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet in Australia. Competitor and iPad maker Apple initially filed the action for a preliminary injunction against Samsung, alleging that Samsung’s Galaxy Tablet infringed patented touchscreen technology owned by Apple and used on its iPad tablet. After Apple won the temporary ban, Samsung appealed.

The Federal Court of Australia, ruling on Samsung’s appeal, recently lifted the ban allowing Samsung’s Galaxy to enter the Australian market. Samsung may now sell the Galaxy Tablet in Australia beginning Friday, December 2. The Federal Court of Australia reasoned, in part, that due to the short life of technology such as tablets, banning the Samsung Galaxy without a full hearing on the merits was unfair, especially with so much money at stake during the Christmas season.

In Australia, as in the United States, a preliminary injunction or temporary ban may be granted without a full hearing if the moving party can demonstrate a high probability of success on the merits of the case and significant harm if the ban is not granted. Here, the Australian court that originally heard the case found that Apple met these requirements and issued the preliminary injunction banning sales of the Samsung tablet. Samsung elected to appeal the decision rather than hold a full hearing on the merits of the case. The appellate court however, citing considerations of fairness, overturned the decision allowing Samsung to enter the market.

Samsung and Apple have been bitter rivals in the tablet and smartphone war, opposing each other in litigation in more than ten countries including the United States. While the Australian dispute focused on touchscreen technology, the United States design patent action focused on the non-functional aesthetic aspects of the tablets. In that dispute, a U.S. Federal District Court recently held that while Samsung infringed Apple’s design patent for the iPad, Apple must prove that its design patent is valid.




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