After a series of victories in German courts, now Apple has suffered a setback.
Apple has lost a request for a preliminary injunction in Germany against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1N and the Galaxy Nexus smartphone on Wednesday, 1 February 2012.
A German court ruled that the patent being asserted by Apple was likely to be found invalid.
We want to remind our readers that this case should not be mistaken for the recent case, where the German court upheld an injunction won by Apple against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the first version of the device Samsung took to market in Germany. Apple had won an injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on the basis of a community patent (roughly similar to a design patent in the U.S.) that Apple asserted against the device.
Galaxy Tab 10.1N is different from Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung had responded to loss in the court battle of 2011 by releasing a variation on the device called the Galaxy Tab 10.1N. That variation was intended to differentiate the Samsung tablet enough from Apple’s iPad and ensure that it to no longer infringe on Apple’s community patent. This is what has got Samsung victory in this case.
Patent surrounding Galaxy Tab 10.1N is completely unrelated to the community patent or the Galaxy Tab 10.1. According to Bloomberg, “Apple was asserting a patent granted last year protecting technology related to touch screens for tablets and smartphones.”
Commenting on the ruling at FOSS Patents, patent watcher Florian Mueller said that preliminary injunctions were based on complicated and highly technical patents that are rare in Germany. In this case, however, not only the prelim request was rejected, the courts made it clear they did not expect Apple’s patent to stand up to Samsung’s defense.
Apple and Samsung have been fighting against each other in courts ever since, Galaxy Tab was banned in Australia last year. Their feud spread over Europe and North America where both accused each other of copyright infringement.
In late November 2011, an Australian court quashed the ban and allowed the sales of Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. However, the controversial tablet was released after 9 December 2011 because Apple had obtained a stay order on the implementation of verdict lifting the ban. Later, Apple’s plea for more extension on the ban was rejected.
In March 2012, Australia will be the center-stage of Apple-Samsung saga, once again.
Source: The Mac Observer