While Apple managed to get a number of preliminary injunctions against Samsung in other countries in their ongoing battle of trademark disputes related to iOS devices, it looks like the US courts aren't playing ball. US District Judge Judy Koh has denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction that would have barred Samsung from selling its Galaxy brand tablets and smartphones on Friday. While thing could go Apple's way eventually after a full trial, the decision allows Samsung to continue to sell its Android-based devices without interference from the courts or Apple. Apple began its fight in earnest against Samsung in April, leading to a whopping 23 lawsuits all around the world.
Apple’s contention in these lawsuits is that Samsung's Galaxy S and SII smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets draw heavily from the design of the iPhone and iPad. Apple has been pretty successful elsewhere in getting limited preliminary injunctions based on a registered European Community Design right and a handful of functional patent claims. During the US case, Apple accused Samsung of violating numerous US design and utility patents as well as violating Apple's trade dress, including unique packaging design and other related trademarks and intellectual property.
The judge said that prior art – a tablet which was imagined in a promotional video cooked up by Knight Ridder in the 90's, may eventually invalidate some of Apple's design patent claims. She also noted that "Samsung appears to have created a design that is likely to deceive an ordinary observer."
The court also agreed with Apple's contention that the list-scrolling "bounce-back" patent (US Patent 7,469,381) was valid and that past Samsung devices likely infringed. Because Apple has licensed this technology to other companies and because Samsung was offered such a licensing deal in 2010 (which it declined) the judge ruled that the infringement could be satisfied with a monetary award. In other words money would satisfy their claim and therefore a preliminary injunction was not warranted.
A full trial will happen sometime next year, so what impact it will ultimately have on Samsung – at least in the US – remains to be seen.
Source: Ars Technica