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Apple warns retailers to stop selling certain Samsung devices

New court filings show that Apple sent retailers letters warning them not to sell Samsung phones and tablets under a court-ordered sales ban. Samsung calls the tactic "menacing."

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
3 min read
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How serious is Apple about getting a court-mandated sales ban against Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Nexus smartphone in place? Serious enough to start sending messages about it to carriers and other retailers, even before one of the injunctions was temporarily put on hold.

In a new filing in the case between the two technology giants in California, which was picked up by FOSS Patents, Samsung notes that Apple took the liberty of sending do-not-sell letters to carriers and retailers that carry Samsung's products.

Those letters include a copy of the court-ordered injunction, as well as a postscript suggesting that retailers are "acting in concert" with Samsung by selling its products and thus must obey the court order. In its filing, Samsung says Apple crossed the line with letters, going so far as to call them "menacing."

According to FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, Apple sent out the notice for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on June 28, with those for Samsung's Galaxy Nexus on June 3. In the Nexus' case, that was three days before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit put a temporary hold on that injunction.

CNET has contacted Apple for more information on these letters, and will update this post if we hear back.

The below transcription is from Mueller, and covers the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Verge has a scanned copy of it posted on Scribd as well:


Re: Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., et al., United States District Court, Northern District of California, Case No. C-11-01846 (LHK)

Dear [recipient]:

We represent Apple Inc. in the above-referenced action.

We enclose a copy of the June 26 preliminary injunction ordered entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in this case together with a copy of Apple's U.S. Design Patent No. D504,889 (the '889 patent'). With the posting of the requisite bond, the order is now in effect.

The order provides as follows:

[T]he Court issues the following order enjoining the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from sale in the United States: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics America, Inc., and Samsung Telecommunications America, Inc., its officers, directors, partners, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, subsidiaries, and those acting in concert with any of them, are enjoined from making, using, offering to sell, or selling within the United States, or importing into the United States, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer, and any product that is no more than colorably different from this specified product and embodies any design contained in U.S. Design Patent No. D504,889.

(emphasis added).

As the italicized language provides, the order applies not only to the named Samsung entities, but also to anyone "acting in concert" with them. Apple thus believes that the order extends to you because you may be selling, offering to sell, or importing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer.

Please comply with the order by ceasing immediately to engage in any of the specified acts (e.g., importing, offering to sell, or selling within the United States) in connection with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer and any product that is no more than colorably different from it and embodies the '889 patent's design. At a minimum, Apple believes compliance with the Court's order requires immediately removing for sale the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from all physical and online venues under your direction or control.

Please contact the undersigned if you have questions.




As a quick refresher, Apple sued Samsung last April, claiming the company was copying the design, as well as software features in its products. Samsung sued Apple back, and the two companies have been in a legal battle ever since. Along the way, both companies have attempted to block the sales of one another's products in various countries, including the U.S., primarily by making patent infringement claims.