Australia may soon become an Android-free zone. That’s the opinion of patent experts after an Australian court hit Samsung with a temporary sales ban. Although the sales halt mentions only the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the patents involved could touch every tablet and smartphone based on Google’s mobile software.
“After today’s decision, I believe no company in the industry [will] be able to launch any new Android-based touchscreen product in Australia anytime soon without incurring a high risk of another interim injunction,” writes the oft-cited patent blog FOSS Patents.
The decision by the Australian Federal Court ordered the sales halt of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, which competes with Apple’s iPad. The Galaxy Tab violated two patents owned by Apple governing touchscreen devices. A formal court hearing was also ordered for the two companies to reach an agreement. However, that hearing isn’t likely to occur until at least well after the important Christmas shopping period.
However, if Apple wins during the formal hearing, “all Android-based products will effectively be shut out of the Australian market forever, unless Google or its device maker partners settle with Apple,” according to the site. Along with Samsung, Motorola and HTC could also be hurt by “Google’s cavalier attitude toward other companies’ intellectual property,” according to the blog.
Australia is just the latest country to side with Apple’s patent infringement claims against Android device manufacturers. Previously, Apple won a sales injunction against Samsung in Germany. A court in the Netherlands also banned Samsung phones, but only in that country. Samsung faces a sales ban in the United States. That court hearing, set for less than 24 hours from now in the Northern District of California, focuses on three smartphones: the Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge and Infuse 4G, as well as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.
The obvious message coming from all of Apple’s legal moves for Android players: be afraid. Be very afraid.