Apple’s iPad, which is already in the lead in the tablet market, has now gained a greater edge over its lone rival, Samsung’s Galaxy tablets. Apple’s bid to stop the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, introduced in June last year, finally gained support from U.S District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday. After instructions from a federal appeals court, Koh reconsidered Apple’s plea for an injunction on Samsung’s tablets and Galaxy smartphones. Koh stated that though Samsung had the right to compete with Apple on an even footing, this right did not extend to dumping patent-infringing products in the market.
In order to shield itself from damages if the injunction is found to be wrong later, Apple is going to post a $2.6 million bond for damages if it loses the eventual lawsuit. Also, Koh wants the order to take effect as soon as the bond is posted. Apple could take advantage of this decisive injunction by entering into lucrative cross-licensing deals for their patents as other manufacturers will be more of Apple’s legal threats in the future.
While Apple critics say the iPad maker is being too harsh in using patents to beat out competition, Colleen Chien is amused by the relief given to Apple as he thinks preliminary injunctions are rarely asked for and rarely granted. Chien, a professor of Santa Clara Law in the Silicon Valley says design patents such as this one are based more on counterfeiting theory than a competition theory.
It is likely that Samsung will approach Washington D.C’s federal appeals court over this dispute for its exclusive jurisdiction. Samsung has stated that Apple seeking a preliminary injunction for a single generic design patent could restrict the progress in the industry and leave no room for design innovation. Having brought out three different models in tablets in 2011 alone, Samsung remained positive about maintaining its business given the wide range of products it sells. It said in a statement that it would take all the necessary legal steps.
Despite its rivalry with Apple, Samsung is still trailing in the tablet market with 7.5 percent market share, selling just 1.6 million tablets, while the iPad has captured a massive 63 percent market share and sold 13.6 million units between the month of January and March. IHS iSuppli predicts the global tablet market to reach 123.5 million units this year which is nearly double that of 2011.