Samsung Offers Deal in Apple Feud



SYDNEY—Lawyers for Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Friday offered Apple Inc. a deal on a patent dispute over the two companies' tablet computers that could allow the Korean company to launch its Galaxy Tab 10.1 device in Australia.

The agreement, if accepted by Apple, could see the tablet's launch next week, Samsung's attorney David Catterns told Dow Jones Newswires after a hearing at the country's Federal Court in Sydney.

Samsung Electronics's lawyers offered Apple a deal in the ongoing patent dispute over the two companies' tablet computers, which is holding up Galaxy sales in Australia. George Stahl reports on digits.

Apple has brought a number of cases against Samsung in markets worldwide since April, claiming its smartphones and tablet computers have "slavishly" copied the iPhone and iPad. It has also filed suits in Germany, Japan, France and South Korea.

In Sydney, Apple is seeking a temporary sales injunction ahead of a final hearing that could go on for months. At stake is Samsung's access to the Australian market, where Apple has sold an estimated 500,000 iPads, according to a Credit Suisse report in June.

A rejection of Apple's claim could threaten the company's dominance of the global market for tablets and smartphones, which have been the main drivers of its rise to become the world's largest technology company by market value.

It wasn't clear what benefit Apple would gain from any agreement, as details of the proposed deal were not discussed in full in front of the court. But Apple's attorney, Stephen Burley, conceded there was some potential benefit from an agreement on the matter. "(Samsung's) inconvenience would be diminished and we would be comforted" by such a deal, he said.

Justice Annabelle Bennett said that the proposed deal wouldn't give Samsung the satisfaction of a final answer to the dispute, but Mr. Catterns said it would at least allow the company to sell its new tablet computer ahead of the crucial Christmas sales period.

Mr. Burley couldn't give further details of Apple's position when called after the hearing, and an Apple spokesman didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Apple has already recorded a victory in Europe's biggest economy when a court in Germany this month barred Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 there on the grounds that it copied the iPad. That ruling followed a similar decision by a court in The Hague, which restricted sales of some Samsung smartphones across Europe because they violate Apple patents.

Apple said in July it almost tripled global iPad sales in the three months to June 30 to 9.25 million units, up from 3.3 million a year earlier. By contrast, analysts estimate Samsung—the largest technology manufacturer by revenue—shipped only about 2 million tablets in the first half of the year, a small proportion when compared with the 140 million cellphones it shipped in the period.