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Apple loses bid to ban US sales of aging Samsung smartphone

Not the best week for Apple's legal team – but pity is not in order

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A US appeals court has denied Apple's request for a rehearing of an injunction, instituted last June but reversed last October, that would have stopped Samsung from selling its year-old Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the US.

The denial, reports Fox Business, was issued in a short statement by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The court, perhaps channeling former first lady Nancy Reagan, gave no reason for its decision – it Just Said No.

If you're been following the ongoing Apple-Samsung dust-up, you're to be forgiven if you feel as if this full-employment act for IP lawyers has been going on forever. Actually, it's only been 655 days since Apple filed its first legal salvo against the Korean consumer-electronics giant in the tussle quickly dubbed "The Battle of Rounded Corners" due to Cupertino's assertion that Samsung had "slavishly" copied the iPhone's look-and-feel.

The case has endured more twists and turns than Tyrone Slothrop chasing his harmonica through an excrement-encrusted sewer system in Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, with one particularly resounding gush being Apple's victory in the US District Court in San Francisco last August, when a jury ordered Samsung to pay the iPhone maker $1.05bn in damages.

Apple however, decided to press its luck in that case, and petitioned the court for treble damages for Samsung's "willful" violations of its intellectual property rights. Just this Wednesday, however, that request was denied by judge Lucy Koh, who had presided over the $1.05bn jury trial.

"Given that Apple has not clearly shown how it has in fact been under-compensated for the losses it has suffered due to Samsung's dilution of its trade dress," Koh said in Wednesday's ruling, "this court, in its discretion, does not find a damages enhancement to be appropriate."

And now Apple's legal team has lost another round – but don't expect them to give up too soon in the global battle between the two smartphone heavyweights.

After all, those billion-plus simoleons that Samsung still owes Apple can most certainly support a mighty flock of legal eagles. ®

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