Apple's lawyers have failed to convince a U.S. judge to impose a sales ban on Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and tablets in the United States.
The ruling late on Friday denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung, reports Reuters.
Apple began legal proceedings against Samsung in April, claiming the Korean electronics giant had "slavishly" copied its iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet.
But U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in Son Jose, California denied Apple's request for a preliminary sales ban against Samsung.
But there is a catch: Apple could still prevail in the long-running patent spat if the matter comes to trial.
Koh added, in conjunction with previously held sentiments, that Apple would likely prove that Samsung infringed at least one of its tablet patents.
In the meantime, Samsung can continue to sell its products, like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy S 4G, the Infuse 4G and the Droid Charge, until a time comes where a trial rules in favour of Apple.
The Apple-owned design patent in question -- U.S Patent No. D618,677 -- while likely valid and likely infringed, poses no irreparable harm to the Cupertino giant.
Apple has yet to demonstrate the "validity of those patents" to succeed in the lawsuit.
Though the case has yet to start, the outcome of the initial hearing signals a strong lead for Samsung.
The two companies continue to butt heads in over 20 cases in 10 countries, as the two compete for the crown of top smartphone and tablet maker in the run up to Christmas sales and into next year.
In November, Samsung won an appeal against its sales injunction in Australia, allowing the company to sell its Galaxy Tab products in the region. Earlier this month, Apple appealed that decision, extending the ban, restricting Samsung from selling its long-awaited iPad competitor until after the supposed busiest time for shopping in the run up to the Christmas holiday.
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As it happened:
- April: Apple sues Samsung over Galaxy line: Co-opetition implodes
- July: Apple files ITC suit vs. Samsung Can this marriage be saved
- Networks weigh in: Verizon sides with Samsung in Apple patent spat
- T-Mobile sides with Samsung’s defense in Apple patent suit
- October: Apple wins Samsung Galaxy tablet ban in Australia