Apple blocks US sales of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Apple wins a court order blocking the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the US until the patent dispute between the firms is resolved

Apple has won a court order blocking the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer in the US until the patent dispute between the two technology companies is resolved.

Apple claims Samsung's tablet computer infringes a number of its patents because the design copies the look and function of Apple's iPhone and iPad mobile devices.

US district judge Lucy Koh in San Jose said that, 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 is greater, according to US reports.

“Apple’s interest in enforcing its patent rights is particularly strong because it has presented a strong case on the merits,” Koh said.

Koh earlier said the two products were virtually indistinguishable, but in December declined to take the dramatic step of prohibiting sales of the Galaxy 10.1.

She changed her mind after the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit told Koh to look again at Apple's request for an injunction, according to reports.

"Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products," Koh wrote in her ruling.

Koh said Apple would be irreparably harmed if sales of the Galaxy 10.1 continued.

She ordered Apple to post a $2.6m bond in case it lost the case, scheduled to go to court next month.

Apple won a similar injunction against Samsung in August 2011, barring the sale of Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet in nearly all European Union states and Australia.

But in November 2011, a court in Australia overturned the ruling against Samsung. Earlier that month, Samsung modified a version of its Galaxy Tab 10.1, in an attempt to work around Apple’s ban under copyright infringement in Germany.

Samsung has been locked in a legal war with Apple over its smartphone and tablet design patents in the US, Australia, South Korea and Japan since April 2011.

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