Apple's IP War Machine Could 'Cripple' Samsung

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In another victory for Apple's legal team, courts in Germany ruled against rival Samsung Electronics, barring it from selling its competing tablet computer in most of the European Union.

The decision marks an important victory for Apple and deals a critical blow to Samsung that could "cripple" it from effectively competing for tablet market-share, according to industry watchers.

"We believe the iPad is a superior tablet, but for those consumers that are not interested in Apple products or are more focused on Android-based solutions, we felt Samsung's new, larger-sized Tab products would enjoy a strong following," explained Ticonderoga analysts Brian White.

"However, if Samsung is violating Apple's IP rights, we believe Apple could enjoy even further success in these markets in the coming years."

Apple previously said that Samsung's Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets "slavishly" copied its own iPhone and iPad. The companies have thrown law-suits back and forth for months.

The preliminary injunction bars Samsung from distributing its Galaxy Tab 10.1 -- widely seen as a credible threat to Apple's own iPad -- throughout most of Europe, except The Netherlands.

An appeal could take as much as four weeks, Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets explained to investors, while a workaround will also take time to implement.

"Amidst this large IP battleground, we believe Apple may consider any possible penalties or settlements with a global perspective," he said.

The court's decision deals another setback to Samsung after it had to delay the launch of its Galaxy Tablet in Australia over similar suits.

It also highlights Apple's heightened efforts to deploy lawyers alongside its engineers to push its products and services inside the lives of more consumers.

In July, HTC lost a preliminary ruling from the International Trade Commission after rival Apple filed suit against it, seeking an halt to the import of its products into the U.S. The suit came more than a year after Apple filed its initial suit against HTC, alleging 20 instances of patent infringement, all dealing with various elements of its iPhone.

"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it," Steve Jobs said at the time.

"We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

U.S. rival Motorola Mobility has also been sued after Apple claimed that its host of Android phones infringe on several multi-touch and operating system patents.

 

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