Samsung’s Patent Struggles Deepen Around the World

Samsung’s Patent Struggles Deepen Around the World

Samsung’s legal struggles are deepening, as an Italian court denied its bid to ban the iPhone 4S and an Australian judge doubted the success of its appeal for its Galaxy 10.1 Tab.

The two cases, part of a worldwide battle being waged between Apple and Samsung over patents and design, may illustrate setbacks for the South Korean tech company as the court hearings continue.

In Australia, Samsung was given a chance to appeal the Galaxy tablet ruling, which banned sales of the new device until a court trial can be held in the case. Judge Lindsay Foster said he’d grant the appeal after hearing Samsung attorney claim the federal court took “irrelevant considerations” into account, resulting in the ban.

But while Foster said he’d hear the appeal on November 21, he said he doubts the company will be able to overturn the ban.

“I think the order should be made as set,” Foster said, offering a pessimistic preview of how the case will go.

In another setback, Samsung Thursday lost its attempt to get Apple’s products banned over patent infringement claims in Italy, news agency AGI reported. The ruling is only temporary, giving both companies time to submit more evidence in their cases, set for a hearing in mid-December.

The ruling means Apple can go ahead with this week’s planned iPhone 4S launch in Italy. Any future bans would require stores to pull the devices off the shelves, a situation that rarely happens. In addition, the hearing is not scheduled until December, giving Apple plenty of pre-Christmas season time to sell its popular new smartphone.

The news from Italy and Australia show Apple continues to have the upper hand against Samsung in the worldwide patent battles.

Apple has already won injunctions not only in Australia but also in Europe to stop the Galaxy 10.1 tab from launching, and Samsung has lost all of its retaliatory bids for bans against Apple products.

The court cases and resulting bans are already proving costly for Samsung, which had wanted the Galaxy Tab 10.1 launch in Australia in mid-October. Even though it may appeal the ban, the earliest the tablet can launch now is after November 21, which may mean almost no holiday sales and little time before the Mobile World Congress in February, where Samsung typically unveils new devices.

The worldwide cases are continuing, but Samsung will face perhaps its toughest challenge in a California trial, where Apple is pushing for a U.S. ban on Galaxy tablets and smartphones. A judge already has said she believes Samsung may have violated Apple’s patents, but a ban may hinge on whether Apple can prove the validity of the intellectual property.

If the worldwide courts are any indication, though, Samsung may face difficulty proving an injunction banning its products shouldn’t be allowed.

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