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12/9/2011
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Apple Dealt Courtroom Losses In Australia, Germany

Samsung wins right to sell Galaxy Tab in Land Down Under, while Motorola wins an injunction against Apple in Germany.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Slideshow: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The Australian High Court in Sydney lifted the ban preventing Samsung from selling its Galaxy tablet with two weeks left in the holiday shopping season, giving the South Korean company a chance to earn some sales during the busiest part of the year.

Samsung and Apple have been battling over the Galaxy Tab in Australia since the summer months, when Apple was able to block sales of the device while Australian courts decided whether or not Samsung violated Apple's design patents. The courts have ruled in Samsung's favor. The court there also ruled that it wouldn't block sales of certain Samsung Android smartphones.

Samsung's victory in Australia is perhaps bittersweet, though. Apple successfully prevented the company from selling the tablet there for nearly five months, giving its iPad a healthy lead heading into the holiday shopping season. The Galaxy Tab itself is already a six-month-old tablet, and surely Samsung has nearly finished preparing its eventual successor.

At the same time, Samsung itself was dealt a blow in France, where its attempt to ban sales of the iPhone 4S were thwarted by French courts. In the French ruling, Samsung's request was called "out of proportion" and the company was ordered to pay Apple approximately $134,000 in legal fees.

[ Samsung isn't letting lawsuits slow it down. Read Galaxy Nexus Smartphone To Launch Dec. 9? . ]

Samsung won a round in the U.S. this week, however. Apple failed to convince a judge to issue a preliminary injunction banning the sales of Samsung smartphones in the U.S. Apple has appealed that decision while awaiting the start of the trial.

Though these losses surely vex Apple, they aren't nearly as catastrophic as what happened in German courts this week.

The Mannheim Regional Court has ruled that Apple is indeed infringing on a Motorola patent described as a "method for performing countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system."

What's significant about the ruling is that it includes a "preliminarily enforceable" injunction against Apple Sales International, the company's wholesale subsidiary located in Ireland. Since the patent is wide-ranging, the courts can prevent Apple from selling all versions of the iPhone and the 3G versions of the iPad across large segments of Europe.

Apple has yet to appeal this decision, but it convinced the court to attach a $134 million bond to the decision. This bond is Motorola's responsibility, and will be paid to Apple in the event that appeals later overturn the injunction awarded to Motorola. Apple had asked for a bond of $2.7 billion, citing the potential for massive sales losses, but the courts denied Apple's request.

Apple, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and others are all embroiled in dozens of patent-related legal entanglements that are in various stages around the world. The courtroom dramas will continue to unfold over the coming months.

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