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What's next for Samsung after Galaxy Tab blow

Analysis Apple win puts a cloud over future of Ipad tablet rivals
Wed Aug 10 2011, 18:03
Samsung Galaxy Tab with TouchWiz interface

KOREAN POWERHOUSE Samsung suffered a major blow on Tuesday when a German court ruled it could no longer sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch tablet across Europe, and the firm is clearly keeping a low profile now as its lawyers and executives decide on its next best move.

The German court's preliminary injunction prevents Samsung from selling the 10.1-inch tablet model across the European Union. This is in response to an Apple complaint that Samsung was infringing several of its patents and copying the design of its successful Ipad tablet with the Tab. The Netherlands is the only EU country exempt from the ruling, as Apple has filed a separate complaint there.

The injunction clearly came out of the blue for Samsung. According to Reuters, Samsung complained that it was given no notice over the injunction, and was not given a chance to present any evidence.

However, Samsung then issued a watered-down version of the statement, saying, "Samsung is disappointed with the court's decision and we intend to act immediately to defend our intellectual property rights through the ongoing legal proceedings in Germany and will continue to actively defend these rights throughout the world.

"We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung's innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world."

Samsung's change of heart over the lack of notice it received on the ruling could have been down to its lawyers realising that the court's actions were valid.

According to Florian Mueller, there is no obligation to hear evidence from or inform the accused party before issuing a preliminary injunction against them.

"A preliminary injunction is ordered only if the court believes you're likely to prevail in the main proceeding," Meuller noted. "But that doesn't necessarily mean that you will."

Apple has taken on more risk by going down this route. If the cappuccino company ends up losing the case, it will be liable for damages and will have to cover for any lost Galaxy Tab sales.

This is unlikely to leave Apple with too many sleepless nights, however. Samsung has been very cagey over the number of Tabs sold, leaving us to assume that it's not exactly approaching Ipad-like sales figures yet. According to the most recent Apple financials, the firm has sold a whopping 14 million Ipads this year alone.

In comparison, Samsung was forced to backtrack on claims it made in January that it had sold two million of its 7-inch Tab models since their launch in the fourth quarter last year, admitting this was the number of units shipped to retailers, not sold to customers. One Samsung executive said at the time that actual Galaxy Tab sales were quite small. Oh, and there's also the huge wad of cash Apple is sitting on as a guarantee if the decision ends up going Samsung's way. µ


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