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Galaxy Tab ban: 'Not terribly fair to Samsung'

A judge in Australia questions the temporary injunction banning sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the runup to a full patent case between Samsung and Apple.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung

Samsung's Galaxy Tab may have suffered an injustice in Australia with the imposition of a ban on sales of the tablet there, at least in the eyes of one appeals court judge.

At a hearing today in Sydney in a patent case pitting Samsung against iPad maker Apple, Federal Court Justice Lindsay Foster questioned an October ruling that quashed Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales. Samsung wants to get that decision overturned to avoid what its lawyer called "dire consequences," according to a report from Bloomberg.

"The result looks terribly fair to Apple and not terribly fair to Samsung," Foster said of the decision to put the ban in place.

A decision could come next week on Samsung's request for the injunction to be lifted. The injunction was put in place by Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett as an intermediary step until a full patent case can be heard sometime next year. Apple reportedly has rejected a settlement offer from Samsung.

Apple is arguing that with the Galaxy Tab 10. 1, Samsung is "blatantly copying" the hardware and software designs of its iPad. It has made a similar charge that Samsung's Galaxy smartphones are too similar to Apple's iPhone. The patent battles between Apple and Samsung extend beyond Australia to other cases in Europe and the U.S.

In a tit-for-tat effort, Samsung wants a court in Australia to impose a ban on sales of the iPhone 4S.

Also in the Galaxy Tab hearing today, Samsung argued that commonalities in tablet design extend to a great many devices, and thus to undermine the rationale for the ban on its tablet.

"Not only are there many [similar] products on the market...and there was evidence before [Bennett] that the other devices had the same functionality as the Samsung tablet," Samsung's representatives told the court today, according to CNET sister site ZDNet Australia. "Evidence of functionality was an affidavit, and [it] examined and depicted by video the functions of a whole range of manufacturers, including Acer, Asus, Pioneer, Samsung, Motorola."