Clobbered with a $1 billion jury verdict in August, Samsung got some relief in its legal feud with Apple on Thursday when a federal appeals court overturned an order that blocked the South Korean tech giant from selling the Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the United States.
The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, a Washington, D.C.-based court that hears patent appeals, found that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh had no legal basis to issue a preliminary injunction earlier this year against the Nexus smartphone. The decision allows Samsung to continue to sell the product while the patent battle with Apple continues.
Apple, in a second lawsuit filed earlier this year, sought to block sales of a series of Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Nexus, which is an older line of Samsung smartphone and has since been overshadowed by the release of the Galaxy S III. A federal jury in August sided with Apple in its first lawsuit against Samsung, which alleged that dozens of even older smartphones and tablets were copies of the iPhone and iPad.
Apple has moved for a permanent injunction against all those devices, a request that Koh will consider at a hearing in December.
The appeals court ruling only applies to the decision to issue a preliminary injunction before a trial, but gives Samsung the right to continue to sell the Galaxy Nexus and provides much-needed legal ammunition in a battle with Apple that is likely to continue to make its way to the Federal Circuit.
Samsung appears to be faring better in the Federal Circuit than with Koh or in the jury trial. Koh earlier this month also dissolved another injunction against Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet after the Federal Circuit indicated that order also had legal weaknesses.
Samsung has moved to set aside the $1 billion judgment, arguing that there was insufficient proof it trampled on Apple's patent rights on the iPhone and iPad.
Apple, meanwhile, is asking for permanent bans on the sales of Samsung products, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in additional damages for the jury's findings of "willful infringement."
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