US court revives Apple's bid to ban Samsung tablets

U.S. appeals court allows Apple to pursue its bid to block sale of Samsung tablet, based on alleged copyright infringement, and throws case back to district court which it says had erred in earlier judgement.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

An appeals court in the United States has ruled that Apple can press its bid to block sales of some of Samsung's tablets in the country, based on the alleged infringement of one patent.

In the decision Monday by the U.S. Court of Appeals, it ruled that a lower court had erred in its initial judgement in December, in denying Apple's request for a preliminary injunction to block the import and sales of various Samsung devices in the country. It has sent the case back to the district court in California for further review.

The court said in its ruling: "The district court has not determined the extent to which Samsung would be harmed if the sales of Galaxy Tab 10.1 were [banned], and how the potential harm to Samsung resulting from entering an injunction compares to the potential harm to Apple should the district court deny interim relief."

The patent involved in the ruling has to do with the design of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. The appeals court disagreed with the district court's decision, that the design patent could be challenged as "obvious", which means it should never have been granted.

However, it upheld the district court's decision to deny Apple's request for preliminary injunctions to suspend the sale of Samsung smartphones and tablets based on three other patents. The three patents include two related to smartphone design and a third related to scrolling.

Apple first asked to block the sale of Samsung devices back in July 2011, and is part of a longstanding legal tussle between the two mobile giants. In April, both companies said that their chief executives would take part in settlement talks in May to resolve their dispute, according to a Bloomberg report.

Cupertino first sued Samsung in April 2011, accusing the Korean electronics company of violating its intellectual property in the design of its smartphones and tablets. Samsung soon after countersued Apple in what later led to a slew of legal wrestles besides the patent spats, including sales injunctions, regulatory scrutiny, verbal lashings between lawyers, and leaked court documents.

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