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Sunday, 04 December 2011 13:03

Samsung Galaxy case begins to unravel for Apple

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Not long after losing an Australian Federal Court injunction case against Samsung to prevent sales of the iPad 2 lookalike Galaxy tablets, Apple has lost a similar injunction bid in the US. Appeals to higher courts notwithstanding, Apple's court cases could turn around and deliver a vicious bite to its backside.

 

In a sense, Apple has already won a victory by succeeding in using the court systems in various key markets around the world to keep the Galaxy tablets off retail shelves during a crucial period.

However, the victory is short term at best and may even hold a hidden sting in its tail that may strike Apple if it ultimately loses its cases in the US, Australia, Europe and other markets.

Like Apple's attempt to sue Microsoft in 1988, claiming Windows infringed its Mac OS GUI patents (and Xerox's attempt to sue Apple for the same thing) this attempt to beat a major competitor using courts will ultimately fail.

The bottom line is that, unlike a software platform, design is a hard thing to defend. The Samsung products may look and perform similarly to iPad and the iPhone range but they use different software.

Samsung's Galaxy tablets and phones implement their graphical user interfaces using the Android operating system not iOS.

Apple's attempt to sue Samsung because it has implemented a similar GUI is almost an exact replay of Apple versus Microsoft 23 years ago and is similarly doomed to fail.

However, unlike Microsoft, Samsung has suffered considerable losses because of Apple's court actions.

In a market where timing is crucial, Samsung could justifiably claim in particular to have lost millions of units in sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 amounting to billions of dollars.

In markets such as Germany and Australia, where Apple has successfully kept Samsung products off shelves, the stakes could be high if Apple ultimately loses its case.

Samsung may already be consulting with its legal team about suing Apple for compensation - something that may also be keeping Apple's legal team up at night.

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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