No sooner did Apple win a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany (which carries over to most of the rest of the EU), then they've gone and sued Motorola over the same trade dress/design infringement grounds for the XOOM tablet. (And a local German company called JAY-tech for good measure.)

It's generally considered a more noble, Zen-like achievement to grow your own line rather than cut the line of a competitor. Apple seems to think it's smart to do both. To innovate AND litigate, and unlike Microsoft, they don't seem to want to make Android more expensive -- they want to make it less usable.

It's clear that Apple is determined to assert its different intellectual property rights -- hardware patents, software patents, and design-related rights -- against Android device makers. While Apple appears to place particular emphasis on lawsuits over tablet computers in its European design-related lawsuits, I believe the reason is that a preliminary injunction can't be requested in Germany if the right holder has been aware of an infringement for too long. There isn't a clear statutory limit, but German lawyers usually discourage such motions unless they are filed within one month of finding out about an infringement. It's possible to get permanent injunctions even against older products, but for preliminary ones there must be a particular sense of urgency. It's possible that Apple has also been aware of the Xoom for too long to file for a preliminary injunction at this stage.

Preliminary injunctions seem easy to get, settlements usually harder to negotiate. We'll see what happens.

[FOSS Patents]