Apple takes aim at Samsung's European supply ops

While Apple's attempt to get the Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned throughout Europe appears to have hit a setback, the company has a new approach to try in its war with Samsung: blocking all imports of Samsung's entire Galaxy product range.

The Galaxy range - which includes the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets, the Galaxy S smartphone, and the company's flagship Galaxy S II - is one of Samsung's hottest properties, and it's got Apple worried. The high performance of the Galaxy S II, in particular, is tempting people who might otherwise buy an iPhone - and that's just not on.

A major win for Apple was in convincing a court in Düsseldorf that Samsung had copied its iPad 2 design for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, resulting in an injunction banning sales of the device throughout Europe.

Sadly for the Cupertino-based company, that injunction was overturned when people started questioning the regional court of Düsseldorf's right to issue a pan-European injunction. Worse still, evidence was uncovered that critical images comparing the two products had been doctored to make them appear significantly more similar than is actually the case.

Apple isn't letting a little thing like that put it off its chosen course of competition-through-litigation, however, and has found a new tactic to try: applying for a ban in the Netherlands, which is Samsung's main import hub for the whole of Europe.

The company's latest tactic has been uncovered by Dutch news site WebWereld - the same site which found the doctored image in Apple's submission to the Düsseldorf court - which claims that the company has asked for a trade ban on all Samsung Galaxy devices that would prevent any such product from being imported or sold.

If successful, that would be a major blow for Samsung: the Netherlands is home to Samsung Overseas Logistics BV, the company which handles the import of Samsung's various devices from its far eastern factories to Europe for sale and distribution. A ban in device imports in the Netherlands, therefore, is a ban on distribution throughout the whole of Europe.

Apple is also demanding that Samsung be made to send a letter to all retailers recalling every Galaxy device from their inventory within 14 days, at Samsung's own expense.

Neither company has responded to our request for comment on the proceedings at the time of writing, but no progress is expected until a hearing next month when both sides will be able to argue their respective cases for and against a ban.