Samsung Says It May Scrap Australia Tablet

Samsung Electronics Co., locked in patent disputes with Apple Inc., may scrap the release of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia unless it wins approval to sell its newest tablet computer in the next two weeks, a lawyer said.

Samsung is willing to abandon plans to launch the product because missing the Christmas season would result in the new tablet being “dead,” Neil Young, a lawyer representing the Suwon, South Korea-based company, told Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett in Sydney today.

Apple, which claims the Samsung tablet infringes its patents, has delayed the release of the Galaxy 10.1 for two months in Australia by seeking a temporary judicial ban on sales until after a trial on the patent claim. Samsung said a trial can’t be held until next year because it must collect evidence.

It’s part of a dispute between the two companies that spans four continents and began in April, when Apple sued in the U.S. and claimed Samsung’s Galaxy products “slavishly” copied the designs of iPhones and iPads. A German court in August temporarily banned sales of Galaxy tablets, a ruling Samsung has appealed.

The two companies also are involved in legal disputes in South Korea, Japan and the Netherlands.

Bennett said she will need a “little” time to consider Apple’s request for a temporary injunction as the hearing concluded after a week. She didn’t specify when she will come to a verdict.

Young said technology changes so quickly that even another month’s delay in the release of the Galaxy 10.1 would threaten the product’s sales prospects.

Samsung had offered to agree to a quick trial on Apple’s patent claim if Apple agreed to drop its demand for a ban on the sale of the Galaxy 10.1, Young said. Apple rejected the proposal, he said.

“We’re willing to pull out all the stops to get it out by mid-October,” Young said. “We’re absolutely desperate.”

The case is: Apple Inc. (AAPL) v. Samsung Electronics Co. NSD1243/2011. Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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