Apple removes Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 from IFA. Forgets about Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE on T-Mobile
The situation with patents/Intellectual Property protection in Germany is getting even more ridiculous then in the U.S.
At least in U.S. you have to go through lengthy trial proceedings to get a competitor product banned, allowing him to defend itself. Not so in Germany, where few weeks ago Dusseldorf Court banned the sales of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet based only on its superficial similarity to Apple’s iPad. And then, yesterday, with the help of the same court, Apple forced Samsung to remove all its Galaxy Tab 7.7 devices and promotional material from a major trade show in Germany.
Samsung Galaxy Tabs 7.7 were on display at IFA Berlin – the biggest consumer electronics exhibition in Europe – on Friday and half through Saturday. Yesterday, as I was checking it out, and making some Galaxy Tab photos at Samsung stand, company reps started closing Tab 7.7 table for what I thought was some maintenance. When I came back an hour later – all Galaxy Tabs and any mentions of them were gone from Samsung show floor. Turns out Apple has obtained a new injunction from Dusseldorf court on Friday, this time against the smallest Samsung tablet.
Here is my last pic of Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, just before it was removed from IFA :
What’s interesting and strange here, is that Apple did not bother to do anything about Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablet. While it’s not displayed in Samsung hall, you can find a lot of Tab 8.9 LTE devices at T-Mobile IFA stand even today. And, operator reps tell me, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE is still on track for December 2011 launch on T-Mobile Germany.
Did Apple just forget that Samsung has on more tablet between 7.7 and 10.1? If you are Apple and you think that Tab 10.1 and 7.7 is a carbon copy of iPad, what is so different about Tab 8.9 to exclude it from your litigation campaign? This whole thing is getting more and more ridiculous every day.
Still, these are very real decisions costing a lot of money to parties involved. Samsung is a big company and can afford to fight it in courts. But I can’t shake the feeling that such product injunctions, based on vague evidence and little consideration, are handed out way too easily by Dusseldorf Court.
What happens next time, when the victim of Dusseldorf injunction is not a giant tech conglomerate, but a small start-up with a hugely innovative product? Who gets the sales banned just before the new product is ready to go, and is already delivered to the distributors? A small company may not survive such a disruption for more then a few months if not weeks, and we will all lose in the end.