Apple's wide-ranging battle against Android devices manufactured by Samsung and Motorola is revving up in the European Union.
Whether or not Apple can sustain the iPad's blockbuster sales over the long term, the company seems determined to dominate the tablet market in another way: lawsuits.
Apple recently convinced a European court to bar the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in all European Union countries, with the exception of the Netherlands. Apple has asserted, in multiple lawsuits filed in multiple countries, that Samsung's tablets and smartphones are blatant copies of the iPad and iPhone.
But Samsung isn't the only company in Apple's legal cross hairs. Motorola, which produces a variety of Android-based devices such as the Droid smartphone and Xoom tablet, is also a target of Cupertino's army of lawyers. In an Aug. 10 posting on his blog
, patent expert Florian Mueller detailed how the EU complaint against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 also contains a complaint against the Xoom tablet.
"That passage says that Apple filed in the same court (district court of Dusseldorf) a complaint over the design of the Motorola Xoom, but it doesn't state whether that complaint included a request for a preliminary injunction," he wrote in the posting. "While it's not stated explicitly, I suppose that the complaint against Motorola also asks the court for an EU-wide injunction."
Whether or not Apple can force a preliminary injunction against the Xoom-something that Mueller thinks is unlikely, given the length of time Motorola's tablet has been on the market-"it's clear that Apple is determined to assert its different intellectual property rights-hardware patents, software patents and design-related rights-against Android device makers."
Meanwhile, Samsung claims it was broadsided by the court's injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
"The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung," the company claimed in an Aug. 10 statement, according to Reuters
. "We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung's innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world."
Apple has made clear its intentions to crush Android by any means necessary. Earlier this year, it even paired with rivals such as Microsoft and Sony to submit a winning $4.5 billion bid for some 6,000 wireless technology patents and patent applications previously owned by Nortel Networks. Those patents could have provided Google the cover it needed to repel intellectual-property lawsuits related to Android, and the search-engine giant has claimed its rivals will use their new assets as leverage in an aggressive legal squeeze.
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