Apple Wins One Big Fight With Samsung, Loses One Over Galaxy Tablets

Apple earned a big victory from a German court when a judge ordered a sales ban for Samsung's earlier Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet computer throughout the European Union, but the judge also gave a victory to Samsung by reaffirming a ruling on appeal that its latest Galaxy Tab 10.1N does not infringe on Apple patents and can continue to be sold anywhere in the EU.

Apple and Samsung have split two German court victories in their latest scuffle over alleged patent-infringement charges involving the design of Samsung's Galaxy tablet computer line.

In this round of the ongoing legal battle, Apple appears to be the biggest victor with the ruling by the German court that Samsung's earlier Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet computers can no longer be sold anywhere in the European Union, according to a report from the WebWereld Web site.

"The Tab 7.7 infringes [on] a series of sketches that Apple tablet recorded in 2004," according to a translated version of the WebWereld story. "This [ruling] by a court can in principle be enforced Europe-wide."

At the same time, Apple lost an appeal of an earlier legal fight when the German court ruled again that Samsung's latest, redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablet computer is different enough that it doesn't infringe on Apple's designs, according to the WebWereld story.

Samsung issued a statement lauding the court for its decision involving the latest redesigned model.

€œSamsung welcomes the court€™s ruling, which confirms our position that the Galaxy Tab 10.1N does not infringe Apple€™s intellectual property and does not infringe laws against unfair competition,€ the statement said. €œShould Apple continue to make legal claims based on such a generic design patent, design innovation and progress in the industry could be restricted.€

The ongoing patent-infringement fight between the two companies has been a whirlwind in recent months.

This past February, Apple had sought a court injunction in Germany that would have banned the newer Galaxy 10.1N models from sale there, but a judge ruled at that time that there was no infringement. That earlier decision led to the latest review on appeal in Germany, which reaffirmed the court's original finding.

Since late last year, Apple has been fighting to have Samsung€™s Galaxy tablets and smartphones banned here in the United States.

In June, a California judge approved an injunction requested by Apple that halted the sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets in the U.S. while the case is heard in court.

Last week a three-judge panel upheld the earlier injunction and denied a request by Samsung to again allow that company to sell the Galaxy 10.1 devices here.

Similar legal fights between the two companies over patent infringement are also going on in South Korea, Japan, Great Britain, Germany and other countries.

In June, Apple upgraded its patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung to include the Galaxy 10.1 tablet. Apple alleges that the product violates its intellectual-property rights.

In addition to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the expanded complaint targets a multitude of other Samsung devices such as the Galaxy S II. Muller detailed how Apple added three utility patents to the list of allegedly violated intellectual property, including two hardware patents focusing on touch-sensitive panels and a software patent for graphical user interfaces. The company also added five new design patents and four trade dress applications to that list.

The Apple-Samsung legal fight is not your typical intellectual-property battle because while the companies are fighting in court in public, they actually do a fair amount of business together behind the scenes. Apple remains a major purchaser of components from Samsung.

Other courtroom battles continue all over the world, including Europe and Asia. Although Apple€™s iPad and iPhone claim a considerable portion of the tablet market, the devices are facing an ever-broadening collection of rival Android devices from various manufacturers.

Before his death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs called Google Android a €œstolen product€ and threatened to engage in €œthermonuclear war€ against it. His ire was so great that, in a meeting with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, he reportedly refused to even consider any sort of Android-related payout.

€œI don€™t want your money,€ he said, according to Walter Isaacson€™s recent biography. €œIf you offer me $5 billion, I won€™t want it. I€™ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that€™s all I want.€