updated 05:59 pm EDT, Fri July 13, 2012
Retailers receiving letters instructing them to stop sales
Apple's lawyers have reportedly begun to contact Galaxy Tab 10.1 vendors and point to the recent injunction on the device, in an apparent effort to get them to stop selling the enjoined tablet. Letters related to the tablet injunction were mailed on June 28, and letters focusing on the Galaxy Nexus were sent on July 3, before the smartphone injunction was stayed. The order demands, at a minimum, cessation of Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales, but also requests that demonstrably similar products be discontinued as well.
Samsung is aware of the direct letters to resellers, and has filed them with the court in protest. The Korean manufacturer claims Apple's menacing letters "greatly overreach, incorrectly claiming that third-party retailers are subject to the prohibitions of the preliminary injunction, which they clearly are not." In Samsung's point of view, resellers are allowed to continue selling existing inventory.
Judge Lucy Koh's orders on the tablet's injunction clearly state "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, [the Galaxy Tab 10.1], and any product that is no more than colorably different from this specified product."
Samsung points to previous decisions in which someone who is not a party to a particular litigation cannot have products enjoined, even if the parent company is enjoined from selling the product. If this interpretation is followed, then Samsung-affiliated dealers would still be enjoined from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and any other injunctions that may occur as a result of the July trial. However, independent dealers and electronics clearinghouses trying to sell through existing stock of the previous-generation product should still be able to continue sales under this interpretation.
Apple, however, believes that the phrase "and those acting in concert with any of them" extends to independent dealers because they may be "selling, offering to sell, or importing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer" regardless of corporate affiliation. Apple demands order compliance, arguing that "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."
Apple's suit began against Samsung last year for violation of several patents in the Korean manufacturer's Android devices. Samsung countersued in several countries. Apple won a temporary restraining order against Samsung on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus, but the sales ban on the Nexus has been stayed for the time being.