Samsung delays Australian Galaxy Tab 10.1 a month

 

Updated: Apple reduces patent claims.

Samsung has agreed to delay the launch of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until at least the end of September as part of an ongoing patent battle with rival tablet maker Apple.

The case was one of several launched simultaneously in the US, South Korea, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands.

The tablet likely would not be launched before September 30, adding to delays totalling six weeks since Samsung had initially proposed to launch the device.

Samsung also agreed to provide Apple with seven days' notice ahead of the launch.

The South Korean firm had agreed in early August not to promote or sell the device ahead of further court hearings, after Apple claimed Samsung had infringed ten patents.

Samsung legal counsel David Catterns QC argued the version of the tablet to be launched in Australia was a "new product" compared to the US version obtained by Apple and used as the basis for its initial infringement case.

As per the agreement struck earlier this month, Samsung provided Apple's legal counsel with three copies of the Australian version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 last Thursday.

Apple lead barrister Stephen Burley SC told a Federal Court hearing that Apple's investigation of the tablet was ongoing.

He foreshadowed that an amended statement of claim to be lodged by Apple would likely rely on fewer patents.

Burley said counsel had so far identified two patents it would pursue in relation to the Galaxy 10.1, as part of 24 total claims it would make against Samsung.

It would likely pursue further patent charges once an investigation of the tablets was completed.

"We can see that the new model has, at least compared with the US version, some reduced functionality that changes the landscape to a limited extent," Burley said.

"Our most pressing concern is to ensure we have protection until an interlocutory hearing can take place on the basis of the shifting ground."

Patents in question

One of the two patents identified by Burley covered the iPad's and Galaxy Tab 10.1's "heuristic" processes, including how a touch screen device responded to finger scrolling.

A second patent was granted to Apple last Thursday by IP Australia and covered a "touch event model".

It was retroactively brought into effect from 2009.

According to the 40-page patent document filed by Freehills, the patent claim specifically covered how a touchscreen device responded to multiple touches and associated those touches with specific elements of the device's screen.

A Dutch court last week preliminarily found that Samsung had not infringed the patent. The patent could still be used on further evidence from Apple in the Netherlands suit.

Catterns alleged that Apple had no conclusive evidence of patent infringement with the version of the Galaxy Tab to be launched in Australia.

"The patent on which they're basing the claim of is 182 pages of text... 302 pages of drawings and 60 odd claims of which they will sue on the first 18," Catterns said.

"We are not prepared to give a further interlocutory or even interim application. There is no evidence in the new case whatsoever."

He foreshadowed a cross-claim yet to be filed by Samsung would include allegations Apple had infringed on some of the South Korean manufacturer's patents in making the popular iPad tablet and iPhone.

Catterns argued Samsung couldn't mount a legitimate defence without details of Apple's attack, which could cover the "extent of two claims or extent of 70 claims".

He also claimed Apple had also used the interlocutory relief gained in early August as part of its case in other jurisdictions. The claim was dismissed by Justice Annabelle Bennett.

Apple's legal counsel agreed to provide the patents it would use in its attack by the end of the week, with both sides to provide their evidence by the following Monday, September 5. Burley said the company intended to provide video-based evidence to support its infringement claims against Samsung.

"We will be able to make clear which [patents], there won't be ten," he said.

Hearings would resume by September 26, with Samsung hoped to launch its tablet by the end of that week in Australia.

It remained unclear at time of writing whether Samsung would offer not to undertake any advertising of the product ahead of the September launch.

A Samsung spokesperson said the manufacturer would "pursue all possible measures" to defend its intellectual property.

"Samsung will continue to actively defend its right to launch the Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 in Australia in order to ensure that consumers have a wider selection of innovative products to choose from," they said.

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


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