Apple to Retailers: Stop Selling Galaxy Tab

After Apple managed to win preliminary injunctions blocking the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the United States, the iPhone and iPad maker’s legal team sent letters to retailers and cell service providers telling them to stop selling the products, and Samsung isn’t happy about the move. According to a court filing from Samsung, Apple didn’t have the right to send those letters, and said that retailers weren’t bound by the terms of the injunctions.

Apple wants retailers to stop selling banned Samsung productsApple wants retailers to stop selling banned Samsung products

The letters Apple sent warned companies that they were required to “‘immediately remov[e] for sale the [banned product] from all physical and online venues under [their] direction or control,” according to Foss Patents.

Apple and Samsung have been locked in a heated legal battle for more than a year over claims that they are infringing on each other’s mobile device patents. Apple was granted two preliminary injunctions in June; one blocking the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, and the other blocking the sale of the Galaxy Nexus smartphone. Samsung managed to get a stay on the Nexus injunction while its injunction appeal works through the legal system.

While Samsung thinks the injunctions don’t apply to the companies that sell its products, the court orders seem to fall in line with Apple’s interpretation. Judge Lucy Koh, the Federal Judge that imposed the bans, said in her ruling,

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics America, Inc., and Samsung Telecommunications America, Inc., its officers, directors, partners, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, subsidiaries, and those acting in concert with any of them, are enjoined from making, using, offering to sell, or selling within the United States, or importing into the United States, [the relevant product], and any product that is no more than colorably different from this specified product and [infringe the relevant intellectual property right].

Or, as Apple’s legal team interpreted the order, retailers and cell service providers must stop selling the products covered by the injunctions.

“Apple may be aggressive, but its understanding of the scope is not baseless,” Mr. Muller said. “At the same time, Samsung is right when it points to previous decisions according to which someone who is not a party to a particular litigation cannot be enjoined or held in contempt ‘with respect to their independent conduct regarding the subject matter of the [underlying] case’ — but the question of how ‘independent’ Samsung’s carriers and retailers are in connection with their promotion and sale of those products is debatable.”

So far, Apple hasn’t tried to pull any companies that still sell the banned Samsung products — and for now, the Galaxy Nexus is protected from the ban — but that doesn’t mean the company won’t try to do just that at some point.