More legal setbacks for Apple

Company on losing end of court rulings Friday in Australia and Germany

It's been a tough week for Apple on the patent-war front.

First a judge in China on Tuesday rejected the company's lawsuits against a Chinese firm that says it holds the trademark to "iPad" in that country. Score one against Cupertino.

Then, on Friday, Apple lost two more battles in international courts. In Australia, a three-judge panel ruled that Samsung Electronics could begin selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablets before Christmas, ending a ban on sales prompted by Apple's lawsuit arguing that Samsung's device infringed on the company's touch-screen patents. The decision overturned a ruling last week that reinstated the ban. Score another against Cupertino.

Also on Friday, a German court issued an injunction prohibiting the sale of iPhones and iPads, arguing that the products infringe on a Motorola patent. There's three courtroom setbacks for Apple.

None of these decisions mark the end of the legal battles Apple is fighting with Samsung and Motorola -- if you have enough lawyers and money, litigation seemingly can go on forever. But they're certainly short-term blows to the company.

Apple did, however, gain a court victory in France this week. The company on Thursday said a French court rejected a preliminary injunction sought by Samsung to halt sales of the iPhone 4S.

This week's flurry of legal decisions comes after a U.S. court last week denied Apple's request that sales of four Samsung products -- the Galaxy 10.1, Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G and Droid Charge -- be halted.

If Steve Jobs were alive, it's safe to say he'd be going thermonuclear over this recent spate of courtroom losses, perhaps railing against the "bozo explosion" afflicting the judiciary.

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