updated 04:35 am EST, Fri November 25, 2011
Samsung's lawyers take on Apple in appeal court
Samsung's Australian lawyers have heavily criticized the Australian magistrate who ordered a temporary injunction on the sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. At appeal hearing in Sydney late yesterday, Samsung's lawyers labeled the decision made by Justice Bennett as being "grossly unjust." Samsung's lawyers said that Justice Bennett had "misunderstood and misapplied" basic requirements of the law, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
"We contend that the primary judge made a series of fundamental errors in her disposition of the interlocutory application. They were all errors of principle," Samsung's lawyer argued.
"Her honor misunderstood and misapplied the basic requirements concerning interlocutory injunctions as laid down in [previous cases]."
Samsung's lawyers argued that in ordering the temporary injunction, Justice Bennett needed to have a very strong prima facie case that Apple could effectively win a case against Samsung in its on going patent battle. In Samsung's view, Justice Bennett did not conduct the proper tests in order to be able to determine this.
"It [the Galaxy Tab 10.1] is stopped dead in its tracks, perhaps at a critical time in the development of this market," Samsung's lawyer posited.
At this early juncture, it appears that the appeal court, which is being heard by a full bench including Justice Dowsett, Justice Foster and Justice Yates, appears to demonstrating some sympathy to Samsung's arguments.
In response, one of the appeal judges made this comment:
"If you have a fast moving product which if taken off the market, destroys the opportunities available to the newcomer and preserves the monopoly of the incumbent then you'd have to have a very close look at the strength of the case."
Another judge was suspicious of Apple's earlier claim that Apple would suffer considerable damage had the 10.1 been able to launch. With a tone conveying more than a hint of irony he asked Apple's lawyers if "the whole of Apple's going to come tumbling down," if Samsung had been permitted to sell the Tab while awaiting a hearing on Apple's claims of patent infringement.
Apple's lawyers, of course, supported Justice Bennett's decision. The team argued that Justice Bennett would have been very aware of the way her decision would have impacted on Samsung's prospects for the 10.1 in the Australian market.
"It was not a case of her honour ticking boxes but rather engaging in a careful and detailed review," Apple's lawyer stated.
In one similar case taking place in the US, a federal court Judge, Lucy Koh, famously held the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 above her head and asked Samsung's lawyers to point out which was the Samsung tablet. According to witnesses, it took Samsung's lawyers some time to get the right answer.
However, unlike Justice Bennett in Australia, Judge Koh felt that although the 10.1 probably infringed on some of Apple's patents, she decided against a temporary injunction as Apple could have a difficult time proving this in court.
The hearing appeal hearing in Australia continues.