Apple has won a court order blocking U.S. sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer as the companies continue their global patent dispute.
US district judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, issued the order on Tuesday after rejecting a similar request in December. Apple's request, part of a broader patent dispute over smartphones and tablets, was based on an appeals court finding that it will probably win its patent infringement claim relating to the Tab 10.1 tablet.
The South Korean firm said it would take necessary legal steps, and did not expect the ruling to have a significant impact on its business, as it has a broad range of products. It brought out three tablet models last year alone.
“Apple sought a preliminary injunction of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, based on a single design patent that addressed just one aspect of the product’s overall design,” Samsung said in a statement. “Should Apple continue to make legal claims based on such a generic design patent, design innovation and progress in the industry could be restricted.”
"In this case, although Samsung will necessarily be harmed by being forced to withdraw its product from the market before the merits can be determined after a full trial, the harm faced by Apple absent an injunction on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is greater," Koh said in Tuesday's ruling.
She said a June 29 hearing to address Apple's third request to block Samsung's tablet computer wasn't needed. A trial is set for July 30.
The public interest "favours the enforcement of patent rights", Koh wrote. "Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products."
Samsung said that it was disappointed in the ruling while it won't have significant impact on its business. Other Tab products will continue to be available to US consumers, the South Korean company said.
The ruling "will ultimately reduce the availability of superior technological features to consumers in the US", Samsung said in the statement. If Apple continues to sue based on "generic design" patent claims "innovation and progress in the industry could be restricted".
Koh on Tuesday rejected Samsung's arguments that the injunction was overbroad because the infringement claim was based on one aspect of the overall product, and that it would hurt Samsung's relationships with wireless carriers that provide the Galaxy Tab to their customers.
On June 4, Koh rejected Apple's second request to ban the tablet sales while the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington was considering her first such denial in December. Koh said then she didn't have jurisdiction to issue a preliminary injunction because the appeals court hadn't issued a mandate.