Apple has won a uncommon US sales ban on Samsung’s iPad rival, the Galaxy Tab. But the move is only temporary and required a hefty financial gamble from Apple.
The ruling by a Federal court only applies to the original version of the device, identified officially as the Galaxy Tab ten.1. The present edition, the confusingly-named Galaxy Tab 10.1 II, is unaffected.
The ban is part of an ongoing dispute about the look of the rival tablet devices rather than any computer software or other functionality. Apple’s original claim properly stated Samsung was in breach by creating a device that was a flat, black rectangle with rounded edges.
A court has now issued a preliminary opinion that the Samsung tablet is “virtually indistinguishable” from the iPad. Whether that’s one thing that could have reasonably been avoided, and whether or not the similarity is enough to result in a genuine danger of marketplace confusion remains to be debated at a full trial.
In the meantime, the court has banned Samsung from importing the device into the US, or selling it inside the country. It’s also particularly stated that Samsung can’t get round the ban by just changing the color of the device.
While patent disputes are commonplace (to say the least) in the mobile tech business these days, it’s relatively uncommon that a US court concerns an outright sales ban. To date, injunctions have been a lot more probably to come from the US International Trade Commission, a semi-independent government agency that has the energy to block imports in intellectual home situations. Of course, an import freeze has a lot the very same impact as a sales ban provided most key tech sellers in the US have devices manufactured in Asia for cost factors.
It’s by no implies an outright victory for Apple at this stage. The judge granted the injunction only on situation that Apple pay a $ 2.6 million bond into court. If it later loses the case, this funds will be earmarked for any compensation claim by Samsung for lost enterprise caused by the injunction.
The injunction takes force as soon as Apple hands more than the money, although Samsung has already formally confirmed it will appeal against the ruling.
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