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Oz-stacle

Uh-oh. This is shaping up to be one hell of a week for patent lawyers in the tech world. Us users? Not so much.

Yesterday, we told you how Spotify's US launch could be aborted prematurely as the result of a patent claim by US company PacketVideo. And now, Apple's increasingly acrimonious patent dispute with Samsung has prevented - or at least delayed - the launch of the latter's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia.

Apple and Samsung have been on at each other through the courts for several weeks now. Apple alleges that Samsung's recent designs copy Apple devices in various key areas, from their physical design to the look of the icons. (Samsung's Android devices use a special Samsung skin which does make things more iOS-like, for example changing the Apps view from a scrolling vertical list to flickable horizontal screens.) The dispute originally centred on Samsung's big-selling phones like the Galaxy S. But then Sammy showed off the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which pretty much everyone admits bears more than a passing resemblance to the iPad.

Since then, the dispute has gone into overdrive, with both parties asking various courts to remove the other side's products from sale - and Samsung amusingly asking for a preview model of the iPhone 5. But this is the first time Apple's actually succeeded in getting a product pulled from sale. According to Bloomberg, Samsung won't be able to sell the Tab 10.1 in Australia 'until it wins court approval or the lawsuit is resolved.'

Now, Australia isn't the most important market for any gadget, except some sort of kangaroo-killing device maybe. (Sorry.) But this certainly suggests Apple is winning the arguments in this dispute. Expect the next big Samsung phone to have horns, or be bright orange, or something.

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