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Apple vs. Samsung: Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet ban to remain in place

Samsung Electronics Co. lost a bid to persuade a federal judge in California to lift a preliminary ban on U.S. sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer imposed as part of a patent dispute with Apple Inc.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose issued the order temporarily blocking sales of the Tab 10.1 computer before a jury found Aug. 24 that Samsung infringed six of seven Apple patents and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.

Apple and Samsung agree that a pending ruling on Samsung’s appeal of Koh’s June order temporarily “deprives the court of jurisdiction to dissolve the injunction,” the judge wrote in an order Monday. The judge canceled a Sept. 20 hearing on Samsung’s bid to dissolve the temporary ban without setting a new date.

“We are disappointed by the court’s decision,” Adam Yates, a spokesman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, said in an e-mailed statement. “We will continue to take all appropriate measures to ensure consumer access to our innovative products.” The ruling adds weight to a Dec. 6 hearing at which Koh will consider Cupertino, California-based Apple’s request for a permanent U.S. sales ban on eight Samsung smartphone models and the tablet following the jury verdict. Seven of the eight phones that Apple seeks to ban are part of Samsung’s Galaxy line.

More Products Koh said previously that Apple has indicated it may seek to broaden the scope of Samsung products it wants banned under a permanent injunction. Apple said in an Aug. 27 court filing that Koh should also bar U.S. sales of a version of the tablet that runs on mobile networks, even though that product wasn’t covered by the Aug. 24 verdict.

Koh said in yesterday’s order that Samsung has raised a “substantial issue” in seeking to lift the preliminary ban on the Tab 10.1. Koh said the basis for June’s injunction was her determination that the Tab 10.1 probably infringes an Apple patent.

That reason “no longer exists” because the jury concluded the Tab 10.1 doesn’t infringe the patent in question, instead finding that it infringes three different patents, she said.

“Based on these facts alone, the court at this time would dissolve the June 26 preliminary injunction if the court had jurisdiction,” Koh wrote in her order.

Apple argued previously in a court filing that lifting the ban during the appeal only to re-impose it later “would cause confusion in the market and is not necessary to prevent irreparable harm.”

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment on Koh’s ruling.

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