Apple's attempt to stop Samsung's latest tablet, the GalaxyTab 10.1, from being distributed within Europe has now spread to include the South Korean company's smartphones.
Samsung's Galaxy S II
The fresh Apple case, which is taking place in a Dutch district court, indicates that Apple has demanded a European-wide ban on the distribution of all Galaxy series smartphones and tablets for infringing on Apple's patents. This would also require European distributors and resellers to recall Samsung stock.
The lawsuit, which the Dutch publication Webwereld claims to have seen details of, calls for the court to issue an injunction on the Galaxy smartphone range and tablets. Apple stipulates that the ban is to cover the manufacture, stocking, importing, distribution and selling by Samsung and its Dutch subsidiaries, which includes Samsung Logistics and Samsung Overseas.
These latter two companies are crucial to the European distribution of Samsung products.
Alastair Edwards, principal analyst at the UK market research firm Canalys, told Webwereld that if this injunction is granted it could have "significant implications" for the European market for smartphones and tablets. "This is a very big threat to Samsung, because basically their whole European supply chain will be broken," he said.
Edwards noted that a number of European distributors and resellers could also be hit by Apple's action, with Samsung having to compensate these companies for the purchase price and recall costs of all Galaxy stock items. The Canalys analyst summed up the situation as potentially critical to Samsung's ambitions. "This could mean it's almost game over for Samsung in Europe," Edwards said.
Apple is also placing European owners of Samsung Galaxy products under threat, claiming that, unless they comply with the recall, they will violate Apple's IP rights.
A court in The Hague will make a ruling on Sept. 15, with any injunctions being granted taking effect no sooner than Oct. 13.
Last week, a German court reversed its preliminary injunction against Samsung in an earlier case brought by Apple, and said, due to uncertainty over jurisdiction, it will allow Samsung to sell the product in all European Union countries except Germany.
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