Apple has been granted a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy Tab 10.1, which could bar distribution of the device in all European Union nations.
The only nation that was exempted was the Netherlands, where Apple has filed a separate lawsuit.
Apple’s infringement claim against Samsung concerned “design-related intellectual property rights” as opposed to hardware or software patents, according to intellectual property observer, Florian Mueller.
By avoiding the patent system, he explained, Apple would avoid the requirement to file a new suit in each nation.
Apple had asked a district court in Dusseldorf, Germany to order an injunction which carried a penalty of US$350,000 for each violation or up to two years imprisonment for Samsung’s management in the event of sustained infringements, according to a German media report.
The European injunction followed a similar one granted to Apple in Australia last week, which had indefinitely stalled Samsung's Australian launch of the device.
Samsung will be required to show Apple the devices it intends to release in Australia prior to their distribution, which may give Apple the opportunity to request another preliminary injunction, once again disrupting the device’s launch.
Apple’s widening attack on Samsung was yet more evidence that Google’s Android was under “serious pressure on the patent front”, according to Mueller.
Google’s general legal counsel David Drummond last week complained that Microsoft and Apple were conspiring to kill Android with bogus patents, suggesting their efforts to buy up patents from Nortel and Novell were anticompetitive.
Microsoft's general legal counsel scoffed at the claim it had excluded Google, revealing it had invited Google to join its bid for Novell's patents.