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Galaxy Nexus cleared for sale by US court

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The patent pendulum has taken a small swing in Samsung’s direction, with a US court clearing the company’s ageing Galaxy Nexus phone for sale in the US.

The decision, by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, follows a ruling earlier this month that allowed the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to go on sale.

District judge Lucy Koh had brought down the ban-hammer on the Nexus in June, awarding Apple a pretrial injunction based on its accusation that the Korean phone violated a patent covering unified search capability. In reversing the injunction, the Appeals Court has decided that Koh abused her discretion, since there was no evidence that the infringing technology was influencing consumers’ purchase decisions.

Reuters reports that the court wrote: “It may very well be that the accused product would sell almost as well without incorporating the patented feature … And in that case, even if the competitive injury that results from selling the accused device is substantial, the harm that flows from the alleged infringement (the only harm that should count) is not.”

The case now returns to Judge Koh for reconsideration, a process that will probably become obsolete in practical terms, with Samsung now readying its pre-Christmas line-up of product releases.

The Nexus is the nexus of just one engagement in the worldwide gladiatorial lawyers’ roadshow that embroils Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft.

Apple Insider is now reporting that Redmond’s has put Google Maps in its sights in the ongoing German litigation against Motorola. Microsoft’s lead counsel in that case says Google will be added as a defendant in the case, based on a 1995 patent it says is infringed by the Chocolate Factory’s maps. Success would impact not only Motorola, but any other Android smartphone maker using Google Maps. ®

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