Samsung: We’ll Sell Galaxy Tab in Australia

Word that Samsung agreed to not sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia while it sorts out Apple’s patent lawsuit surfaced Monday. Now Samsung is saying that it still plans to sell its tablet device in the country, and that the agreement with Apple refers to a version of the tablet that wasn’t ever intended for the Australian market.

Samsung says Galaxy Tab 10.1 will sell in AustraliaSamsung still plans to sell Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia

Apple and Samsung have been locked in a legal battle over patent infringement claims for several months. Both companies have alleged that the other’s mobile devices use patented technologies without proper licensing, have filed lawsuits against each other in the U.S. and other countries.

In a statement to Ausdroid, Samsung said:

Apple Inc. filed a complaint with the Federal Court of Australia involving a Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 variant that Samsung Electronics had no plans of selling in Australia. No injunction was issued by the court and the parties in the case reached a mutual agreement which stipulates that the variant in question will not be sold in Australia.

A Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 for the Australian market will be released in the near future.

This undertaking does not affect any other Samsung smartphone or tablet available in the Australian market or other countries.

Samsung will continue to actively defend and protect our intellectual property to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communication business.

Samsung’s statement, at least on the surface, seems to indicate that it plans to launch its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia right away, despite Apple’s patent infringement lawsuit claiming the company is essential copying the look and feel of the iPad. Florian Mueller from FOSS Patents, however, thinks Samsung sidestepped the real issues with what he sees as an intentionally vague statement.

He called the statement an “admission of pretty serious problems because it denies only strawmen and navigates around the real issues.”

First, Samsung doesn’t reveal its planned launch date, and by saying “in the near future,” leaves itself open to start selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia several months out, or even longer. Samsung’s wording also implies that it merely plans to release the tablet at some point, not that it has court authorization to do so.

Second, the company doesn’t explain why it thinks the Galaxy Tab version it plans to sell in Australia won’t infringe on Apple’s multi-touch patents. Without significantly altering the device’s multi-touch interface, or even removing it completely, Australia’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 will most likely turn out to be only superficially different from the U.S. model, which happens to be the version Apple referenced in its court filings most likely because it expects the Australian model to be essentially the same.

With Samsung’s statement, what’s really confirmed is that it did enter into an agreement with Apple to not sell a specific Galaxy Tab model in Australia, just as has been previously reported. Everything else about the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia is little more than vague statements, which may be a hint that Apple’s case is stronger than Samsung wants to let on.