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Samsung and Apple patent skirmishes heat up

Another day, another patent skirmish with Samsung. The battles are heating up on two fronts, with news of a possible Samsung victory in Australia and Apple unleashing a legal salvo against the Korean foe in Germany.

On the Western front, an Australian federal court lifted a preliminary injunction imposed by a lower court banning sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 Down Under. Apple still has a chance to respond -- the same court offered a stay until Friday afternoon so that Apple's lawyers can figure out another legal maneuver to keep the iPad lookalike out of stores until after the critical holiday buying season.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern front, Apple filed a preliminary injunction request in Germany to ban sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1N. This model of the Galaxy Tab was a revised version of the original -- which was already banned in Germany -- with a slightly different bezel design and relocated speaker. The 10.1N was an attempt by Samsung to squeak around Apple's assertion that the Galaxy Tab design is just too close to that of the iPad.

The two companies meet up in a German court in Dusseldorf on December 22nd for a hearing, which means that the Samsung tablet is still ripe for consumer plucking this holiday season.