Samsung, Apple’s closest rival in tablet computers, pulled the just-unveiled Galaxy Tab 7.7 out of the IFA consumer- electronics show in Berlin after a Dusseldorf court on Sept. 2 granted Apple’s request to ban sales and marketing of the product, James Chung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, said by telephone today. Chung couldn’t confirm if Samsung has received the court order, while Steve Park, a Seoul-based spokesman for Apple, couldn’t immediately comment on the ruling.
“Samsung respects the court’s decision,” Chung said, adding that the company believes it “severely limits consumer choice in Germany.” Samsung will pursue all available options, including legal action, to defend its intellectual property rights, he said.
Samsung and Apple, maker of the iPad, are involved in legal disputes across three continents, as Apple -- also one of the biggest customers for the South Korean manufacturer’s chips and displays -- claims the Galaxy devices copied its iPhone and iPad. Last month, the Dusseldorf Regional Court granted Apple a temporary sales ban on the earlier Galaxy Tab 10.1 model in 26 of the 27 European Union member countries.
The August ruling, scaled back to only Germany on jurisdictional grounds, could have cost Samsung sales of as many as half a million units this year, according to an estimate by Strategy Analytics.
Galaxy Tab Samsung had planned to show the Galaxy Tab 7.7 along with other mobile devices at this year’s IFA, which has become a battleground for companies seeking to lure European consumers to alternatives to the iPhone and the iPad.
The South Korean company, which doesn’t disclose how many tablets it has sold, aims to increase sales of tablet computers more than fivefold this year from 2010, when the original Galaxy Tab running Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software went on sale.
Samsung had about a 16 percent share in the tablet market in the first quarter, trailing the iPad’s 69 percent, according to Strategy Analytics.
Legal disputes between the two technology companies began after Apple charged Samsung with “slavishly” copying its products in an April suit filed in the U.S. Samsung, which holds the second-largest number of patents in the U.S., countersued in Seoul, Tokyo, Germany and California.
A court ruling in the Netherlands on Aug. 25 ordered Samsung to halt some sales of its smartphones after Oct. 13.
In Australia, Samsung agreed to push back introduction of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 until the end of September, the second delay in a month.