Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) won a court order rescinding a ban on U.S. sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer that’s part of a global dispute with Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) for dominance of the mobile device market.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, issued the order today after a federal appeals court gave her jurisdiction over the matter.
Koh had imposed the temporary sales ban in June, before a patent-infringement trial between Apple and Samsung that ended Aug. 24 with a $1.05 billion jury verdict for the iPhone and iPad maker. The jury found that Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung didn’t infringe a design patent that had been the basis for the Tab 10.1 sales ban.
“The court agrees with Samsung that the sole basis for the June 26 preliminary injunction was the court’s finding that that Samsung likely infringed” the design patent at issue in the lawsuit, Koh wrote in today’s order. “The jury has found otherwise. Thus, the sole basis for the June 26 preliminary injunction no longer exists.”
Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment on the court order.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, contended the ban should remain in place because the jury found the Galaxy Tab infringed other patents at issue in the case. Koh had refused to act because the ban was on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She said she might permit sales if granted jurisdiction.
Apple seeks a court order permanently banning U.S. sales of the Tab 10.1 and eight Samsung smartphone models. Hearings on those requests are scheduled for December.
The world’s two biggest makers of high-end phones have accused each other of copying designs and technology for mobile devices and are fighting patent battles on four continents to retain their dominance in the $219 billion global smartphone market.
When Koh refused on July 2 to put the Tab 10.1 sales ban on hold, she wrote that the injunction “will cause Samsung minimal harm because it has other tablet products on the market.” Koh also said then that Samsung conceded an injunction on the Tab 10.1 was of little consequence because its accounted for such a small percentage of the company’s revenue.
“Their tablet sales aren’t big,” Seo Won Seok, a Seoul- based analyst at Korea Investment & Securities, said in a phone interview. “But the situation has changed now. Samsung’s trying to highlight factors that are differentiating their tablets from Apple, and the response has been good. Regardless of the outcome of this court ruling, their position in tablets will become bigger.”
Samsung in August began U.S. sales of the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, equipped with a pen -- a feature the iPad doesn’t offer. As many as 4 million units of the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet computer may be sold in a quarter, Seo said.
“We are pleased with the court’s action today, which vindicates our position that there was no infringement of Apple’s design patent and that an injunction was not called for,” Samsung said in an e-mailed statement.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
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