updated 02:15 pm EST, Tue November 8, 2011
Vendor restructures to avoid legal issues
An Australian retailer, dMavo, is challenging the threat of an Apple lawsuit over sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, says the Sydney Morning Herald. In October Apple won a temporary injunction against Samsung in Australia until it can be decided whether the Galaxy Tab 10.1 "slavishly copied" the iPad. Some retailers like dMavo, though, have continued to do well on Galaxy Tab sales, ignoring Apple legal threats.
dMavo has taken the unusual step of restructuring its business to try to deter legal action. The company has spawned a separate entity in Europe, outside the jurisdiction of Australian courts, with the sole purpose of handling tablet sales. "Was Apple just bluffing or do they really want to play the cat and mouse game? We're up for it," comments dMavo's managing director, Wojtek Czarnocki. He adds that the new entity cost him "next to nothing" versus the amount of money he should be able to make through continuing Galaxy Tab sales; he claims that the company has "stopped counting" units sold, and that its servers have almost collapsed at times under the number of orders.
A senior associate and patent specialist at Melbourne law firm Watermark, Mark Summerfield, suggests that dMavo may still be under Apple's sword. He argues that it could be easy for Apple to extend its injunction from Samsung to online vendors, although overseas companies might require separate actions in appropriate courts. Selling to Australian buyers and importing infringing products should still leave dMavo liable, as should its control and profit ties to the European entity. Czarnocki says he has received legal advice, and is not worried about his local operations.
Summerfield further argues, however, that both Apple and the Australian courts may now be forced to take action to retain power. Czarnocki says he is at least counting on Apple not launching a hearing against dMavo until November 25th, when a Samsung appeal against the Galaxy Tab injunction will be heard in court. "Now that the appeal to the full bench is listed for November 25, Apple would have to convince the court that a hearing against us is needed before that date," he explains. "We'd be amazed, though not unprepared, should that occur."