It sounds like Samsung’s singing a happier tune this morning, after an Australian appeals court overturned an Apple-petitioned ban on the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, a ban Apple pursued because it claimed the Galaxy Tab was too much like its iPad. Sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 can begin as soon as December 2, according to a federal appeals judge, and the decision among a three-member appeals panel was unanimous.
But Samsung’s not out of the woods yet–Apple can file an appeal to Australia’s High Court (like our Supreme Court) requesting that the ban remain in place. The High Court would then have to decide by December 2 whether to continue the ban, and if it does, Apple would then have 28 days to appeal the latest ruling.
Samsung and Apple have been slugging it out worldwide ever since Apple filed suit last April in the U.S. claiming Samsung’s tablet infringed on Apple’s iOS device design patents. In September, a German district court ruled Samsung could no longer sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, effectively agreeing with Apple that Samsung’s designs were too iPad-like, and ultimately banning the device from being sold throughout the European Union.
“The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible,” said Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman in the September verdict. “For the informed customer there remains the predominant overall impression that the device looks [like an Apple iPad 2].”
Today’s ruling by the Australian appeals court is thus something of a turnaround for Samsung, a turnaround the company’s wasting no time capitalizing on: “We believe the ruling clearly affirms that Apple’s legal claims lack merit,” said Samsung in a statement, adding that it’ll announce availability of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia shortly.
Some are less upbeat about the Galaxy Tab 10.1′s short term sales prospects, however: “It’s hard to expect the ruling to have a major positive impact on Samsung’s tablet business or legal cases in other countries as Apple could appeal against the ruling and sales won’t be restored anytime soon,” said HI Investment & Securities analyst Song Myung-sub (via International Business Times), adding that “Apple will continue to dominate the tablet market as Amazon appears to be the only viable real threat at the moment and other vendors including Samsung continue to struggle.”