by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Oct 14, 2011
A court Friday turned down Apple's bid to have Samsung give it advance warning of any new product launches in Australia until its patent infringement case against the Korean firm goes to a full hearing.
The ruling comes after the US technology giant on Thursday won a temporary ban on Samsung selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, the latest victory in its global battle over patents related to the popular iPad tablet computer.
The Federal Court of Australia granted an interim order against the sale of the Galaxy 10.1, saying Apple had established a prima facie case that Samsung had breached touchscreen technology copyrights.
Both sides debated orders related to that injunction in court Friday, with Apple requesting Samsung provide it with a version of any tablet device it produces 10 days before coming on to the market.
Justice Annabelle Bennett rejected the request, saying "it doesn't apply to any other player in the marketplace."
The development came as Apple launched its new iPhone on Friday, with hundreds of people queuing outside its four-storey flagship Sydney store.
The courtroom battle is part of a wider global war in which two of the world's biggest technology companies are vying for supremacy in the US$100 billion market for tablet computers and smartphones.
Apple won a similar ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany earlier this month related to copyright breaches, and the two companies are locked in an ongoing war over smartphone and tablet technology in the United States.
Similar copyright disputes between Apple and Samsung are also afoot in South Korea.
Apple wins Australian ban in Samsung tablet case
The Federal Court of Australia granted an interim order against the sale of the Galaxy 10.1, ruling that Apple had established a prima facie case that the South Korean company had breached touchscreen technology copyrights.
"Despite the force of Samsung's submissions I have found that Apple has established a prima facie case of infringement of claims of both (its) patent(s)," Justice Annabelle Bennett told the court.
"That is, it has established a probability, not necessarily in a mathematical sense, that it will, on the present evidence, succeed at trial."
Apple won a similar ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany earlier this month related to copyright breaches, and the two companies are locked in an ongoing battle over smartphone and tablet technology in the United States.
Similar disputes are afoot in South Korea.
Bennett ruled that refusing a temporary ban on the sale of the Galaxy 10.1 while a full trial was held into the contested patents would have resulted in "significant" detriment to Apple.
She rejected Samsung's claims that the American technology giant had delayed bringing legal proceedings and said the South Korean firm's own unwillingness to be available for a full hearing in November had weighed against it in the case.
Bennett said Samsung had been aware of the copyright issues since at least April, when Apple launched legal action against the Galaxy 10.1 in the United States, and "proceeded with its eyes wide open" on launching the product in Australia.
"Overall, considering that Apple has established a prima facie case with respect to two separate patents, and that the balance of convenience is marginally in its favour, I am satisfied that it is appropriate to grant the interim injunction," the judge said.
Lawyers for both sides declined to comment outside the court, but Samsung later issued a defiant statement expressing its disappointment at the outcome and vowing not to be deterred.
"Samsung will take all necessary measures including legal action in order to ensure our innovative products are available to consumers," Samsung said.
"This is a part of our ongoing legal proceeding against Apple's claim."
The Korean tech firm said it was "confident" of proving that Apple had violated separate patents belonging to Samsung relating to wireless technology in a cross-claim filed in the Federal Court case.
"Our wireless standard patents are essential for mobile business," Samsung said.
"We will continue to legally assert our intellectual property rights against those who violate Samsung's patents and free ride on our technology."
Bennett is due to hand down her full findings and rulings in the case on Friday, following talks with the two companies about any evidence they wish to be kept confidential.
Post-Jobs, Apple to unleash new iPhone
The iPhone 4S is already a record-breaker for an Apple product, with more than one million sales in the first 24 hours of pre-orders last week.
Bidding to build on the proven track record of the best-selling smartphone, Apple says the latest iteration boasts faster speeds, a voice-controlled assistant called Siri and an improved camera.
For some it looks too similar to its predecessor and they were underwhelmed when it was unveiled on October 4. But sales are expected to benefit from an outpouring of sympathy for Jobs, who died last week from cancer aged 56.
Queues have built outside Apple's flagship Sydney store and its counterpart in Tokyo's upscale Ginza district as fans commit once again to the tradition of sleeping on city streets in a bid to be the first to a new Apple product.
On Thursday evening nearly 100 people, all armed with Apple products, had set up camp in front of the Ginza store.
Ryosuke Ishinabe, 24, was first in the queue. "I have never queued up in my life to buy something. But I felt like doing so this time because Steve Jobs passed away and this phone will be his posthumous work."
Ishinabe said he arrived on Tuesday morning.
The launch of the iPhone 4S comes at a testing time for smartphone rival Research in Motion, whose BlackBerry system has this week been impaired by glitches across the world, to the chagrin of its frustrated subscribers.
RIM has struggled this year with weaker sales of the BlackBerry against rivals such as the iPhone, various models from Taiwan's HTC, and other handsets running Google's Android software.
However, huge questions now hang over the future of Apple, with the spotlight on Tim Cook, who was made chief executive of the Cupertino, California-based company in August after Jobs's resignation.
The performance of the new iPhone will be seen as an early test for Apple's life after Jobs, the creative visionary whose death was mourned worldwide by government leaders, industry titans and ordinary fans alike.
On Friday the iPhone 4S will launch in Australia, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, the United States and Canada, before rolling out in 22 more countries by the end of October.
In the United States the smartphone will sell for between $199 and $399, depending on memory capacity.
Australia's top telecoms firms say they received unprecedented pre-launch interest in the updated iPhone. In Japan carrier Smartphone will for the first time no longer be the exclusive iPhone carrier as rival KDDI joins the fray.
Both will hold early-morning ceremonies marking the start of store sales.
Early reviews have praised the Siri assistant for its ability to handle a wide array of tasks. But in Japan the name has provoked sniggers given the closeness of its name to the Japanese word shiri -- a slang term for buttocks.
The feature will not support the Japanese language at launch time.
With the launch of iPhone 4S also comes the launch of iO5, Apple's latest mobile operating system boasting 200 new features and iCloud, a service that automatically and wirelessly stores content and pushes it to Apple devices.
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
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