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Handing Apple A Win, Australia Bans Sale Of Samsung Tablet

<p>A woman holds an Apple iPad (L) next to a Samsung Galaxy Tab during the 50th International consumer electronics fair in Sept. 2010.</p>
Odd Andersen
AFP/Getty Images

A woman holds an Apple iPad (L) next to a Samsung Galaxy Tab during the 50th International consumer electronics fair in Sept. 2010.

An Australian court issued a temporary injunction that bars Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer in the country. The judgement is a big win for Apple, which has filed lawsuits worldwide alleging that Samsung had copied its iPhone and iPad.

The Australian court ruled Samsung could not sell its device if included certain features such as a touch-screen.

The AP reports:

The decision prevents Samsung Electronics Co. from selling the device in Australia in its current form until a further court order, or until a pending patent lawsuit between the warring technology giants is resolved.

The ruling is a blow for Samsung, which had hoped to launch the new product in time for Christmas sales. It comes after courts in other countries including Germany and the Netherlands made judgments that upheld Apple's claims that its intellectual property had been appropriated by Samsung.

The patent battle spanning 10 countries has underlined the perception of Samsung as an efficient imitator among technology companies rather than a pace setter. Over the years, the company has grown to become the global No. 1 in TVs and No. 2 in smartphones by sales. But unlike archrival Apple Inc., it has not mesmerized consumers with its originality and innovation.

In a statement, Samsung said it was "disappointed" with the ruling, but would continue their legal fight to "ensure our innovative products are available to consumers."

They added:

This is a part of our ongoing legal proceeding against Apple's claim. Samsung is also confident it can prove Apple's violation of Samsung's wireless technology patents through a cross claim filed on September 16, 2011 with the Federal Court of Australia, New South Wales.

The Wall Street Journal takes the long view with the news. This is one battle in a "global war," it reports, and it portends a bigger fight between Apple and another huge tech firm:

"In the end it's a battle between Apple and Google," said Paul Budde, an independent telecommunications analyst. Google Inc.'s Android operating system runs many of the computers and mobile devices that have been the target of Apple's patent suits.

Mr. Budde called the Australian decision a short-term victory but long-term loss for Apple: "I can clearly see that Apple has a case that it has created some innovative new technology, but on the other hand the reality is we live in an open world and you cannot because of one innovation stop the rest of the world going in similar directions."

We touched on the humorous side of this battle in August. Part of Samsung's legal argument against Apple in the United States is that they couldn't possibly say they own the touch-screen patent when Stanley Kubrick — the film director — came up with it in 1968.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.