Samsung Electronics Co. lost a chance to showcase its latest tablet computer at one of the world’s largest electronics shows after Apple Inc. (AAPL) won a second injunction blocking Galaxy Tab sales in Germany.
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 September 2 granted Apple’s request to ban sales and marketing of the product, James Chung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, said by telephone yesterday.
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 company’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.
“Samsung respects the court’s decision,” Chung said yesterday, 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.
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 shares fell 4.9 percent, the most since August 18, to 731,000 won at the 3 p.m. close in Seoul trading, extending their drop this year to 23 percent. The benchmark Kospi index declined 4.4 percent today.
The Dusseldorf court’s August ruling, scaled back to only Germany on jurisdictional grounds, could have cost the Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung sales of as many as half a million units this year, according to an estimate by Strategy Analytics.
Tablet computer sales could reach about 2.4 million units in Germany this year, rising from 0.6 million in 2010, making it Europe’s third-largest market after the U.K. and France, according to Neil Mawston, an analyst at the research company.
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.
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.
A preliminary court ruling in the Netherlands last month ordered Samsung to halt some sales of its smartphones after Oct. 13, without extending the ban to tablet computers.