Apple scores U.S. ban against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) won a U.S. injunction against sales of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone, the second such ban Apple has won against Samsung in one week. Samsung has appealed the decision in the latest tit-for-tat in the companies' long-simmering patent feud. 

The order means that Samsung cannot sell or import the Galaxy Nexus into the United States. The injunction comes after Apple was granted one against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

"Apple has made a clear showing that, in the absence of a preliminary injunction, it is likely to lose substantial market share in the smartphone market and to lose substantial downstream sales of future smartphone purchases and tag-along products," U.S. District Judge Koh said in Friday's ruling. Koh had also granted the injunction against the Samsung tablet.

However, Samsung has moved to block the sales ban from going into effect while it appeals Koh's decision. "The Court's finding that Apple will suffer irreparable harm was based on legally insufficient evidence that Samsung and Apple are competitors," Samsung said in its motion, according to the Foss Patents blog, which tracks patent litigation. "The Court's order is inconsistent with the Federal Circuit's directive that market share losses must be substantial."

Apple and Samsung are, in fact, fierce competitors in the smartphone market, and have been trading the top smartphone sales spot for the past several quarters. The injunction is significant because Apple has also targeted other Samsung smartphones, including its new Galaxy S III, which has just gone on sale in the United States.

"People are concerned that this could spill over to the S III, because if the same rationale applies to the S III, it'll be a big blow to Samsung," Shin Hyun Joon, a Seoul-based analyst at Dongbu Securities, told Bloomberg. "This isn't an issue that will conclude any time soon."

The two companies have been locked in a worldwide patent battle since last year. Apple first sued Samsung in April 2011, claiming that Samsung "slavishly" copied its iPhone design. Samsung countersued and since then the patent battle between the companies has spread to multiple continents, generating dozens of cases in 10 countries.

A trial between the companies, which Koh will preside over, is expected to begin July 30.

The injunctions against Samsung stand in contrast to Apple's patent fight with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobility unit that started in 2010. Last week U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner, who had earlier delayed a trial in the case, ruled that the companies could not win injunctions barring sales of infringing products. "Neither party is entitled to an injunction," Posner wrote in his 38-page ruling. "Neither has shown that damages would not be an adequate remedy."  Posner dismissed the case "with prejudice," meaning neither company can refile their claims, though they can appeal the ruling.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this Foss Patents post

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