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Australia Handhelds Patents The Courts Apple

Australian Federal Court Ends Ban On Samsung Galaxy Tab Sales 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the apple-invented-the-kangaroo dept.
New submitter Dedokta writes "The Australian Federal Court has overturned the injunction placed on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and ordered Apple to pay court costs. Apple has applied for an appeal with the Supreme Court, but Samsung is now free to sell the Galaxy Tab within Australia. Samsung is not off the hook yet, however; the full case to see if they have indeed infringed upon Apple patents is still to be heard early next year."
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Australian Federal Court Ends Ban On Samsung Galaxy Tab Sales

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  • Good, step one for Apple to drop this frivolous lawsuit is complete.... Also, I find it interesting that in Australia, their supreme court takes cases like this. That could just be me being american though :/
    • Re:Good.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:37AM (#38211176)

      Also, I find it interesting that in Australia, their supreme court takes cases like this. That could just be me being american though :/

      The supreme court is the highest court in each state, but below the federal court (I.E. Supreme Court of Western Australia or Supreme Court of Victoria). But the submitter had it wrong, this case was heard in the Federal Court of Australia who normally deals with corporate issues, trade practices, Industrial Relations and the like.

      Apple have made an appeal to the High Court of Australia which is the highest court in Australia. The High Court has no mandate to automatically hear cases, so if the High Court feel's Apple is wasting their time any appeal will be denied.

      What's important about this victory is that the evidence was heard by 3 Justices, not just one as was the case with the first injunction hearing and it was found by the three Justices that the original injunction was in error. The case still stands, Apple is still suing Samsung over alleged patent infringement, this hearing was only over the injunction. But this gives us an indication that there is some sanity in the Australian court system.

      • Re:Good.... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by quarrel (194077) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @02:14AM (#38211286)

        > The supreme court is the highest court in each state

        This is only sort of true (at least in NSW, but I assume elsewhere too?).

        You can appeal a decision of the NSW Supreme Court to the NSW Court of Appeal. However, the Court of Appeal is a branch of the Supreme Court in the they're established.

        Many corporate issues, trade practices and IR cases are also heard in State courts. It depends on the case in point .. (the NSW Dept of Fair Trading for instance, brings its cases in NSW. Many companies sue each other over contractual disputes in the state courts etc.)

        --Q

      • Re:Good.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by quarrel (194077) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @02:18AM (#38211298)

        Just to be more of a pedant, Supreme Courts aren't really below the Federal Court. You can't appeal a decision of a Supreme Court to the Federal Court. They're different jurisdictions.

        --Q

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Just to be more of a pedant, Supreme Courts aren't really below the Federal Court. You can't appeal a decision of a Supreme Court to the Federal Court. They're different jurisdictions.

          --Q

          To be fair, I was trying to keep it simple.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:18AM (#38211082)

    good.

    What the courts really need to do is charge the party bringing the suit for _all_ costs to the other party. Real money might discourage patent trolls like Apple.

    • by deburg (838010) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:29AM (#38211140)
      Apple has money to spare. And the damage is already done. With the Christmas shopping started, early buyers would have settled on the Ipad2 instead of the Galaxy Tab as gifts. Question now is whether there enought Galaxy Tabs in stock for the rest of the Christmas season
      • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @02:09AM (#38211268)

        Apple has money to spare. And the damage is already done. With the Christmas shopping started, early buyers would have settled on the Ipad2 instead of the Galaxy Tab as gifts. Question now is whether there enought Galaxy Tabs in stock for the rest of the Christmas season

        A lot of Australians would not have even started shopping yet.

        There's a psycological barrier for a lot of people, that Christmas does not start until December so a lot of people dont start Christmas shopping until December.

        The smart ones (raises hand) got their Chrimbo shopping over and done with months ago, but I still have to shop for food and I hate the shops at this time of year.

      • by mysidia (191772) * on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @02:41AM (#38211404)

        Apple has money to spare. And the damage is already done. With the Christmas shopping started, early buyers would have settled on the Ipad2 instead of the Galaxy Tab as gifts.

        A real victory would have been: not just "pay the court costs", but also order them to: reimburse Samsung for lost sales of Galaxy tablets, assuming they would have sold just as well as iPad2 units, and send iPad2 customers an optional coupon to exchange their purchased iPad2 during that time for a Galaxy tab, at Apple's expense.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by davetv (897037)
          In Australia, this would require a separate court action. It might yet occur.
        • by moozey (2437812)

          . . . and send iPad2 customers an optional coupon to exchange their purchased iPad2 during that time for a Galaxy tab, at Apple's expense.

          Has this kind of punishment ever been handed out?

        • by kqs (1038910)

          assuming they would have sold just as well as iPad2 units, and send iPad2 customers an optional coupon to exchange their purchased iPad2 during that time for a Galaxy tab, at Apple's expense.

          So you're saying that in places where both Samsung tablets and iPad2s are on sale without restrictions, Samsung tablets are selling just as well as iPads?

      • by CubicleView (910143) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @06:54AM (#38212344) Journal

        Apple has money to spare. And the damage is already done

        I have mixed feelings about this. Samsung got a slap in the face for sure, and this has already affected the design of their future products, so even if the court say otherwise, battle won by Apple. But I can't help but feel this was the first (or second ish) shot in a war that utltimitly Apple can't win.

        • But I can't help but feel this was the first (or second ish) shot in a war that utltimitly Apple can't win.

          Apple wins by delaying competition as long as possible. Just like with the mobile phone market, you can be certain that Apple's market domination will be cut into significantly by other makers across the next year or two. Apple is willing to spend a lot on legal maneuverings for nothing but the time it buys them.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Well, that won't be much help unless Apple releases a new product soon. And I mean new, not "new" like iPhone 4S.

            It's like early 90s for Apple again, except Jobs won't come back this time.

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            In other words keep sales up while insider traders and Apple executives dump the Apple stocks and aren't those Apple insiders busy selling shares http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=aapl [yahoo.com].

            Of course don't forget those mega corporate executive bonuses, for each month they can keep the prices up, the bigger the their bonus and damn the long term consequence, like all those pension funds that are going get stuck with Apple stuck as a result of under the table off shore, keep buying that stock commissions.

            • Looking at the table of transactions it looks like the board members selling full shares and then exercising options to get the same amount they just sold. So Jung Andrea still has the same amount of AAPL stock but happens to also have an extra $1.8 million in the bank.
    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      um in world of big corp lawsuits, its only pocket change to people at apple to pay court cost's and really don't stop anything as usually its what few hundred $$.
    • by bhagwad (1426855)
      Like others have mentioned, court costs are minuscule for Apple. As it is for most big corporations. A better financial punishment I feel would be to pay a percentage of their profits for the next two years. The percentage depending on how frivolous the court thinks the case was.

      Let's see Apple (or any other corporation) file a frivolous case now.
      • by MenThal (646459)

        A better financial punishment I feel would be to pay a percentage of their profits for the next two years.

        Uhm, wouldn't they just do some Hollywood accounting then, ensuring that they aren't turning a profit for those two years?

        • by bhagwad (1426855)
          They can't do that. Their stock price would crash and their execs wouldn't get their bonuses etc...
          • by MenThal (646459)

            Remember from Dilbert; growing companies lose money, and if they're paying Samsung a lot from profits, then they aren't growing fast enough. ;)

            Anything that would deflate the EBITDA would then be positive for long term shareholders, as the Samsung cut basically comes out of their pocket. Investing in a lot of new projects and new hires would then be a plus for shareholders, as the unwanted "profit-sharing" is reduced. Hell, exec bonuses may even increase, as long as they are taxed as salary and hit the bott

            • by bhagwad (1426855)
              Those are loopholes easy to plug. We can even get innovative and make them pay a percentage of their last three years of profits! Let's see them wiggle around now :D
  • by quarrel (194077) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:23AM (#38211112)

    Apple have sought leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia, Australia's highest court. So it's like the Supreme Court in the US - there are no appeals beyond that, and they get to pick and choose what cases they take, so there is little certainty Apple will get anywhere appealing now.

    (The Supreme Court usage in the summary is misleading to Australians because Supreme Courts here are State-based courts.)

    This is a good ruling I think. You could readily buy the 10.1 here online (ebay etc) and have it shipped to you - cheaper than you'd pay a local retailer too. If there is merit to Apple's case they'll be able to get damages down the line for the patent infringement.

    --Q

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Well in theory there's the Privy Council, though it would somehow have to turn into a constitutional issue of state versus federal power and the High Court would have to go against its previous statement that it will never grant such leave in the future.

      • by quarrel (194077) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @02:36AM (#38211374)

        No, there isn't.

        The Australia Acts (Federal and State) removed appeal to the Privy Council in the 80s for Australians.

        The High Court doesn't and can't grant an appeal to the Privy Council (and this predates even the Australia Acts).

        --Q

        • by HJED (1304957)
          Actually whilst the High Court has declared it is not bound by decisions of the Privy Council, State Supreme Courts can in some cases appeal to the privy council.
          See here [wikipedia.org]
        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          You are simply wrong on both counts.

          The Australia Acts (Federal and State) removed appeal to the Privy Council in the 80s for Australians.

          Parliament did as much as they could do to remove the Privy Council. However, Parliament can't change the constitution and nobody bothered with a referendum to do so.

          And while some parts of the consititution had conveniant "Until the Parliament otherwise provides" language, s74 does not and there hasn't been a successful referendum to change it so it still applies.

          The Hig

          • Is this Privy Council an Australian one, or is it the one back in the mother country?

            • by quarrel (194077)

              The Mother Country. Most Commonwealth countries traditionally could appeal back to "the Queen in Council" to have decisions settled by the highest Court in "the land" as it were.

              See:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_Committee_of_the_Privy_Council [wikipedia.org]

              --Q

            • Yeah its in that other country. The one with the queen and the clock. I voted for the Australian republic the last time it came up and I will probably do so again but one problem is that the same change has to happen in all states as well as the federal government otherwise you are left with a horrible mess.

          • by quarrel (194077)

            You're wrong, sorry to say :)

            Yes, in 1912 it did - but until the Statute of Westminster we were essentially not independent and cases this far back on these issues have little relevance today. By pre-dating the Australia Acts I meant the Privy Council (Limitation of Appeals) Act 1968 & the Privy Council (Appeals from the High Court) Act 1975 - which closed it off as an avenue from the High Court (except in a particular circumstance that the UK Parliament closed off when they passed their own Australia A

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Well if you get really pedantic, your all wrong because everything your posting is based on the assertion that the state and federal parliaments and the courts in Australia are legitimate. There are plenty of legal problems dating back almost 1000 years that could be used to argue that they aren't and that acts of parliament have no power over us because we are not party to any contract with them...

              One relevant point is the Mabo decision which basically said, "Yeah the Crown broke its own law in occupying t

            • by nedlohs (1335013)

              So I'm wrong?

              Even though the point I countered was that the High Court had never done such a thing and couldn't have ever done such a thing. And you state "it did", but somehow that means I'm wrong even though it is exactly what I claimed.

              And to show that I'm wrong in saying that theoritically if the High Court decided to it could issue such a certificate but never will since it has said it won't you make exactly that same claim?

              Do you have a different definition of "wrong" to me?

              I'm working on "wrong" mean

    • If there is merit to Apple's case they'll be able to get damages down the line for the patent infringement.

      Apple isn't after patent infringement money down the line - they want to keep competitors out of the market as long as possible.

      • If there is merit to Apple's case they'll be able to get damages down the line for the patent infringement.

        Apple isn't after patent infringement money down the line - they want to keep competitors out of the market as long as possible.

        So why don't they sue all competitors instead of just those who copy their design?

        • So why don't they sue all competitors instead of just those who copy their design?

          Who else had a product competing in the same market segment as the iPad? As a self-avowed fanboy, surely you understand that Apple doesn't consider a $200 Android 2.1 tablet as their competition. The Galaxy Tab was the only real threat hitting the market at that point. It is inevitable - there will be some decent Windows tablets available and enough good Android tablets that their strategy is no longer viable. In the meantime, they will have raked in a ton of cash as the only game in town.

          • So why don't they sue all competitors instead of just those who copy their design?

            Who else had a product competing in the same market segment as the iPad?

            Are you fucking kidding me? Or do you exclude every tablet that doesn't copy the iPad as close as possible?

  • by Billlagr (931034) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:25AM (#38211122)
    Apple managed to get a stay in the lifting of the ban until 4pm Friday, to give them enough time to get an urgent High Court hearing, so the way isn't clear for Samsung just yet.
    • I wish you didn't sound like any of this matters...

    • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:46AM (#38211202)

      Apple managed to get a stay in the lifting of the ban until 4pm Friday, to give them enough time to get an urgent High Court hearing, so the way isn't clear for Samsung just yet.

      I highly doubt Apple will get a High Court hearing, let alone one tomorrow given the fact the actual alleged infringement case is ongoing in the Federal Court. This case was just over the injunction.

  • by joocemann (1273720) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:25AM (#38211126)

    ...we had consumer power, so we could avoid these companies that banter back and forth like shitty brats.

    Thanks to the same lawyer armies, no competition has survived gestation.

    When society collapses and we return to dirt living, I will vote against these scum by simply not sharing where I got my water. better start gettin outdoors now lawyer goons!

    • Re:I wish... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by joocemann (1273720) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:31AM (#38211154)

      By the way, I'm posting from a samsung, and was just on an apple at work.... reminds me of the OWS photo demonstrating how people cannot function in modern society with the dichotomy of "support the oligopolies or be dysfunctional".. The photo where people protesting corporations had corporate products.... We are so screwed.

  • by drhodesmumby (2520918) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:26AM (#38211132)
    Except for the inevitable: win. The patent system, and to a lesser extent intellectual property as a whole, is causing severe problems in several industries worldwide. Technology it seems is suffering more than any other, and it's obvious why; with emerging markets such as smartphones and tablets there's everything to play for. Ecosystems haven't had time to settle down or seize the consumer yet, hardware is rapidly advancing and the field in general is in a state of flux. If you can gain dominance now and maintain it for as long as it takes for the market to settle down then you'll effectively monopolise it for the long-term, just as Microsoft managed with Windows and IE. The stakes are considerably higher too. Mobiles are growing so much faster than either the desktop or notebook markets and mobiles are so much more deeply ingrained into the average consumer's everyday life that quite frankly the potential for growth, both in profit and mindshare, is huge. With all this, it's scarcely surprising that companies are playing dirty. I only hope that this is the beginning of a backlash against Apple; when one company is a clear winner, that makes the consumer as much into the loser as any competitor.
  • by Metabolife (961249) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:31AM (#38211150)

    The court also ruled that consumers are allowed to take a single bite into an apple so long as they bite from the bottom.

    • by BluBrick (1924)

      The court also ruled that consumers are allowed to take a single bite into an apple so long as they bite from the bottom.

      I thought they'd first have to kiss that bottom.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:42AM (#38211194)
    A few Aussie retailers have already started advertising the SGT for sale. Kogan [kogan.com.au] for example is offering the SGT for A$50 or more cheaper then the equivalent Ipads (which Kogan also sell).
    • A few Aussie retailers have already started advertising the SGT for sale. Kogan [kogan.com.au] for example is offering the SGT for A$50 or more cheaper then the equivalent Ipads (which Kogan also sell).

      IOW the SGT costs too much to sell. $200 is the most people will pay for a non-iPad tablet.

  • This is the same company that is charging an extra AU$80:00 toAU$120 per iPad just because the boat turns right and comes here to Australia rather than turning left and going to the USA.

    • Yeah! What is with that? It's cheaper to get someone in the US to buy something and send it over than it is to buy it here but we are closer to China/Taiwan... And it's not just Apple. I figured out the cheapest way to get an eePad transformer with a doc is to buy the parts separately from the US and Hong Kong. You can save $100 on the cheapest local price.
      • by PoopCat (2218334)
        I'm guessing more (and perhaps bigger) boats go to the US than AU from China. Economies of scale and all that. Plus US customers are typically engaged in a race to the bottom where price is concerned (although Apple products seem to be excluded from this, at least w.r.t other vendors).
  • Damage Done (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The damage has already been done though. Who's going to want to buy a Galaxy Tab when they can get something newer and probably better? Unlike Apple that releases but one new tablet every year, there are dozens of Android manufacturers constantly putting out new products that trump what was available months ago. In this kind of environment, a delay of a few months is huge. Since the initial delay, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have released new devices for cheap that undercut almost everything else and

    • Re:Damage Done (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @05:48AM (#38212124)

      Possibly, but I think the one good thing that came from this for Samsung is the free publicity. Geeks all know about the Transformer Prime, but average consumers don't and probably won't find out about it for ages because Asus don't really advertise much.

      Meanwhile Samsung has been all over the papers and mainstream news sites and it has been obvious to a lot of them that Apple is frightened that the Galaxy might be better than an iPad if the comments on the (very pro Apple) Fairfax news are anything to go by. The whole episode has created a bit of an anti Apple backlash and I wouldn't be surprised if it plays out to Samsung's advantage in the medium term.

  • Update and two cents (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wasusa (1633263) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @02:18AM (#38211304)
    Quick update on this: http://www.news.com.au/technology/tablets/samsung-wins-australian-appeal-case-in-apple-tablet-war/story-fn6vigfp-1226210226842 [news.com.au] They can't actually start selling yet, and apple are trying to overturn the overturned decision. And why would you get a Galaxy tab, especially now that the Transformer is out and about
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @08:17AM (#38212736) Journal

    Since this seems to be a recurring meme in all Apple-on-Samsung angst hereabouts, note that this does not apply in this case - the patents that Apple used to obtain the original ban were technology patents, not design patents. Most notably, one of them is a patent on capacitive multitouch [hpa.com.au].

  • And today, Apple lost leave to appeal to the High Court. http://www.itnews.com.au/News/282786,galaxy-tab-101-heads-to-christmas-shelves.aspx [itnews.com.au]

    The 10.1 is scheduled to hit retail outlets this Monday.

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