A Federal Court Justice in Australia granted Apple's request for an injunction barring the local sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 until the two companies can settle their dispute via trial. Apple claims that Samsung's 10.1-inch tablet infringes upon three of its patents. Justice Annabelle Bennett ruled that Apple had a "prima facie case" saying that Samsung had likely infringed two of its patents related to touchscreens and gesture controls. Litigation has already delayed the launch of the 10.1 by two months and now threatens to push availability past the all important holiday buying season. Samsung lawyer Neil Young, had previously told the court that the tablet would essentially be "dead" if it misses the Christmas season and would therefore scrap the release altogether. A Samsung spokesman said the company was "disappointed" with the decision.
Samsung and Apple are currently embroiled in more than 20 legal battles spanning 10 countries. Apple previously won an injunction prohibiting sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany after successfully arguing its 2004 EU design registration for a tablet PC. More recently, a temporary injunction in the Netherlands forced Samsung to modify software on a trio of Samsung Galaxy smartphones in order to prevent an interruption to sales.
According to Bloomberg, both companies return to court tomorrow to hear if Samsung will be allowed to sell a modified version of its 10.1 inch tablet that doesn't include the disputed Apple technology. An unlikely outcome according to FOSS Patent's Florian Mueller because the patents in question can not be easily designed around. In fact, Mueller believes that the decision puts every new Android-based touchscreen product sold in Australia at "high risk" for interim injunction.