* Apple rejects offer to settle, wants court ruling
* Samsung warns of big delay if court makes no quick ruling
* Says Galaxy 10.1 would be "commercially dead" if ruling
* Dispute now revolves around touch-screen technology
(Updates with detail)
By Narayanan Somasundaram and Amy Pyett
SYDNEY, Oct 4 Apple Inc rejected an
offer from Samsung Electronics Co to settle their
tablet computer dispute in Australia, possibly killing off the
commercial viability of the South Korean firm's new Galaxy
tablet in that market.
Apple says Samsung's Galaxy line of mobile phones and
tablets "slavishly" copied its iPhone and iPad and has launched
an international legal battle which is expected to hurt growth
at one of Samsung's fastest-growing businesses.
Samsung, whose Galaxy gadgets are seen as a major threat to
Apple's devices, rejects the claims but has been seeking a quick
settlement in Australia so that its new Galaxy 10.1 tablets can
be launched there in time for Christmas.
But a lawyer for Apple told the Federal Court in Sydney on
Tuesday that Samsung's latest offer, made last week, provided no
basis for a settlement and it wanted the court to rule on its
claim that the Galaxy's touch-screen technology infringed an
"The main reason we are here is to prevent the launch (of
the Galaxy tablet) and maintain the status quo," Apple lawyer
Steven Burley told the court.
An Apple victory in Australia could hurt Samsung's bid to
close the gap with Apple in the global tablet market, with a
crucial U.S. court ruling expected next week.
Samsung told the Sydney court that if it could not secure a
ruling within about two weeks, the opportunity to launch its new
tablets in time for Christmas would be lost and that it might as
well take its time to argue the case well into 2012.
"If we can't get a decision out by mid-October, there is no
urgency," said Neil Young, a lawyer for Samsung, adding that it
might take until March to fully prepare its legal defence.
In that case, he added, the Galaxy 10.1 in the Australian
market would be "commercially dead".
Samsung's latest Galaxy tablets, powered by Google's
Android operating system, have already been blocked in
Germany. So too have some smartphone models in the Netherlands.
CRUCIAL U.S. COURT RULING
Samsung had hoped to launch the new Galaxy tablet in
Australia in late August or early September but this has been
repeatedly delayed as it awaits the Australian court's ruling.
The ruling could come this week, a federal court judge had
said last week.
Last week, Samsung agreed to withdraw two features from the
Galaxy 10.1, leaving just one disputed Apple patent over
touch-screen display technology. This patent deals with how
finger movements are used on tablets to generate a software
Samsung and Apple are suing each other in nine countries
over 20 cases, with few of them holding as much significance as
the California court ruling expected next week.
Samsung may seek legal measures to ban sales of Apple's new
iPhone, a source familiar with the matter has told Reuters. The
highly anticipated iPhone 5 is set to be unveiled later on
Apple fired its first salvo in April by suing Samsung in
California, saying the Galaxy lineup devices infringed on its
mobile technology patents and design.
Samsung's smartphone business has been growing furiously,
powered by its flagship Galaxy lineups. Some analysts expect
Samsung to overtake Apple in unit terms as the world's No.1
smartphone vendor and report record profits from mobile business
Samsung, due to report its third-quarter earnings guidance
later this week, saw smartphone sales soar more than 500 percent
in the second quarter, easily eclipsing Apple's 142 percent
growth, though Apple sold about 1 million more units.
(Additional reporting by Miyoung Kim; Writing by Mark Bendeich
and Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Anshuman Daga)