Samsung extends olive branch to Apple in Australia

Galaxy Tab 10.1 maker is looking to come to an agreement on litigation in which Apple would allow Samsung to sell the device Down Under.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read
Will the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 finally launch in Australia? Samsung

Samsung has reached out to Apple to sign an agreement that would allow the consumer electronics maker to sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia.

In a Federal Court in Sydney earlier today, Samsung said that it has offered Apple a deal, that if accepted by the iPad maker, would see the Galaxy Tab 10.1 hit store shelves in Australia next week, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the story. Neither party divulged the details of the deal.

Samsung has been pressing courts in the country to allow it to sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 for months. But so far, Apple has been able to stop the sale of the device, arguing that it copies the iPad.

Tensions appeared to subside a bit last month when Samsung said that it would agree to provide Apple with three versions of its tablet, and whichever was approved by the iPad maker, would be sold in the country. However, just a few weeks later, Samsung announced that it would delay the launch of its tablet in Australia to the end of this month, so that it could countersue Apple.

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The company made good on that promise earlier this month, arguing that both Apple's iPad and iPhone violate wireless technology patents it holds. Samsung also said that Apple's claims against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 should be thrown out.

Samsung's latest move to get the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on store shelves next week has been met with some skepticism by Apple, CNET sister site ZDNet Australia reported today. During a cross-examination, Apple's legal counsel took aim at Samsung Australia's head of telecommunications, Tyler McGee, who argued that the company could easily get the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on store shelves in just a week.

"That's the time it takes from producing it in a factory to get it into the marketplace," McGee said.

Apple's legal counsel was most concerned about the device not infringing its own patents, and asked how Samsung can be expected to get a tablet to stores so quickly after removing allegedly infringing features.

"I'm not an engineer," McGee fired back. "I can't tell you how long it would take for a software engineer to remove [the offending] features."

For Samsung, there is a lot riding on getting the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to stores in Australia sooner rather than later. As the crucial holiday-shopping season approaches, the last thing Samsung wants is to be kept from capitalizing on it.

Luckily for the company, it might just get its wish. According to the Journal, an Apple attorney, Stephen Burley, said that although the company apparently has some reservations, he believed that "(Samsung's) inconvenience would be diminished and we would be comforted" if a deal were struck.

If the deal is approved, it will be a temporary agreement, according to the Journal, and both sides will need to continue to argue their sides in an Australian court until a final judgment is made.

Aside from Australia, Apple and Samsung are locked in several other lawsuits around the world. Earlier this month, a German court sided with Apple in its case against Samsung, blocking the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in that country.

Neither Apple nor Samsung immediately responded to CNET's request for comment.