Apple has turned down an offer from Samsung to settle a legal dispute between the two companies over their smartphones and tablet PCs – potentially killing Samsung’s chances of breaking into the country’s tablet market, and provoking further battles that could see a ban on Apple’s iPhone 5.
According to Apple, the Korean company has “slavishly” copied its copied its iPhone and iPad devices with the Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets – generally viewed as among the biggest Android-based rivals to the Apple iDevices - and has resulted in an interim block on sales on the devices.
Apple’s lawyer Steven Burley today told a Sydney court that Samsung’s latest offer to remove two features of the device, leaving only a single touchscreen patent under dispute, provided no basis for agreement, adding:
"The main reason we are here is to prevent the launch (of the Galaxy tablet) and maintain the status quo."
With no agreement in sight, Samsung may be forced to shelve its Galaxy Tab launch plans until 2012.
A ruling in the case could come as early as this week, but Samsung lawyer Neil Young warned judges that if agreement could not be reached in the next fortnight, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 would be "commercially dead" in Australia, and the company would take its time to prepare a case.
"If we can't get a decision out by mid-October, there is no urgency," he said.
The Australian court battle follows a ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab devices in Germany, while certain of the company’s smartphones have been blocked in the Netherlands. In total, the two companies are involved in 20 legal disputes around the world.
Samsung has threatened to retaliate by seeking a ban on sales on Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5, due to be announced today.