Judge orders Galaxy Tab 10.1 must not be sold
A US court has forbidden the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 after rival Apple complained the product was too similar to the iPad.
The ban will remain in place until a final decision is made on whether the South Korean company's product, which uses the Google Android operating system, does indeed infringe Apple's design patents.
Apple has to post a $2.6 million (£1.7 million) bond to activate the injunction, which will be used to protect Samsung against revenue losses if the court later rules in its favour. The ban does not affect the distribution of Samsung's newest device, Galaxy Tab2 10.1.
Apple maintains that Samsung's product bears far too much resemblance to its patented iPad design, specifically the shape of the device and its user interface, and has struck an early blow against its much-hyped rival in the smartphone and tablet market.
District Judge Lucy Koh had previously rejected Apple's protests against the tablet and a number of Samsung smartphones, but was told by a federal appeals court to reconsider the case of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. "Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products," she said.
Samsung is unsurprisingly against the decision, and has indicated it will take "necessary legal steps" in order to disprove Apple's claims.
With the ban limited to the US, Samsung says it does not expect sales to suffer too greatly, despite the fact that the trial does not begin until 30 July 2012.
Some may question why Apple should feel threatened in any case. Research firm Display Search found that the iPad took 63 per cent of the global tablet market between January and March, compared to just 7.5 per cent for the Galaxy, while Microsoft's new Surface tablet is yet to be released.
This is not the only ongoing patent case between the two companies, as Samsung has also brought a similar lawsuit against Apple. That case centres on whether Apple used Samsung's patented method of connecting phones and tablets to the internet. The two companies are currently engaged in several more legal battles in different countries.
Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, said: "Apple may have gained the upper hand over Samsung for now, but this is just the latest in a long-running legal battle between them, one which we shouldn't expect to end any time soon."