Samsung to halt tablet in Australia

By Hamish Fletcher, and Bloomberg

In what promises to be one of the world's most hotly contested patent battles, Apple has won an agreement from Samsung Electronics to put Australian sales of its tablet computer on hold.

As of last night Samsung New Zealand was making no comment on the status of the product in this country and representatives could not be reached.

The device was due for release in the next few weeks and was being shown off at a media briefing yesterday.

It has been on sale in other parts of the world since June.

Apple alleged in the Australian Federal Court yesterday that Samsung's latest tablet computer - the Galaxy Tab 10.1 - infringes 10 Apple patents, including the "look and feel," and touchscreen technology of its iPad.

The California-based company sought an Australian injunction and also wants to stop Samsung from selling the tablet in other countries.

Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, agreed to stop advertising the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and not to sell the device until it wins court approval or the lawsuit is resolved, according to an accord reached by lawyers during a break in the hearing.

Should Apple lose its patent infringement lawsuit, it has agreed to pay Samsung damages, which weren't specified.

The dispute between the companies began in April when Apple sued Samsung in the US, claiming the Galaxy products "slavishly" imitated the designs and technologies used for its iPad and iPhone. Samsung, which supplies memory chips for Apple, retaliated with lawsuits in South Korea, Japan, Germany and the US.

The Australian injunction is necessary because Samsung has had "announcements of an imminent launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 device ongoing since July 20", said Apple's lawyer Steven Burley before the agreement was announced.

Apple is basing yesterday's claim on a US version of the Galaxy tablet, which is different from the one that will be sold in Australia, Samsung's lawyer Neil Murray said.

Despite Apple's concern with its competitors, sales of its products far outpaced forecasts last month.

Apple sold 20.34 million iPhones during the quarter versus an expected 17 million to 18 million, which analysts say helped it vault past Nokia and Samsung Electronics to become the world's biggest smartphone maker. Apple sold 9.25 million iPads during the period.

In New Zealand, Apple's iPad costs between $799 and $1289 depending on the model.

* Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
* Black and rectangular with a 10.1-inch screen
* Weighs 565g and is 8.6mm thick.
* Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth built in.
* 1GHZ processor.
* Two cameras, one on the front and another on the back.
* Runs Google's Android 3.0 operating system.

iPad 2
* Black and rectangular with a 9.7-inch screen
* Weighs 613g and is 8.8m thick
* Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth built in.
* 1GHZ processor.
* Two cameras, one on the front and another on the back.
* Runs the Apple operating system.

- NZ Herald

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