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Apple wins US ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1

No American can fondle Korean firm's slabs

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A US judge has granted Apple's request to ban Samsung Galaxy Tabs 10.1 in the US over a single patent.

Judge Lucy Koh had previously denied the request for a preliminary injunction on the fondleslabs while the two tech giants duke it out in the patent arena, but an appeals court instructed her to think about it again.

Her Californian court had already found that the Tab 10.1 and Apple's iPad were "virtually indistinguishable" so the only question was the balance of harm.

"While Samsung will certainly suffer lost sales from the issuance of an injunction, the hardship to Apple of having to directly compete with Samsung’s infringing products outweighs Samsung’s harm in light of the previous findings by the Court," Koh said in her order.

Many critics of the technology patent battles argue that letting either side win would be bad for Joe Public, who will end up with less choices when he wants to buy his next mobile, but the judge didn't buy that idea for this case.

"Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products," she said.

Apple needs to hand over $2.6m for a bond to cover a potential damages payment to Samsung if the court eventually finds that the ban was wrongly granted. Once the fruity firm hands over the cash, the injunction will come into effect.

It's been swings and roundabouts for the Apple v Android-phone-makers patent war, with the company losing out in its dispute against Motorola Mobility earlier this week when the judge threw the case out. But this is a big win for the firm against its closest competitor in both smartphones and tablets.

Of course, Samsung has the right to appeal the decision to the appeals court in Washington, which it has already done, filing the motion practically before the ink was dry on the preliminary injunction order.

The company told The Register that it was disappointed with the decision.

"Apple sought a preliminary injunction of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, based on a single design patent that addressed just one aspect of the product's overall design," Samsung said.

"Should Apple continue to make legal claims based on such a generic design patent, design innovation and progress in the industry could be restricted."

The company also said it's not that bothered by the ban anyway because it sells lots of Galaxy Tab products in the US, not just the 10.1.

Apple reiterated its usual stance that Samsung was "blatantly copying" its products.

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," a spokesperson said.

"This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas." ®

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