Apple Bid to Block Samsung Tablet Sales Set for June 29

Apple Bid for Order Blocking Samsung Tablet Set for June 29
A visitor tries out a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer at the World IT Show 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Apple Inc.’s request for a court order blocking U.S. sales of Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer is scheduled for a court hearing next week, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, said she also hopes to rule on Apple’s request to block sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone before the June 29 hearing. This month, she expedited evidence sharing for Apple’s bid to block sales of Samsung’s latest Galaxy smartphone, the Galaxy S III.

The world’s two biggest makers of high-end phones have accused each other of copying designs and technology for mobile devices and are fighting patent battles in four continents to retain their dominance in the $219 billion global smartphone market. The June 29 hearing will address Apple’s third request to block sales of Samsung’s tablet computer.

On June 4, Koh rejected Apple’s second request to ban the tablet sales while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington was considering her first such denial in December. Koh said then she didn’t have jurisdiction to issue a preliminary injunction because the appeals court hadn’t issued a mandate.

Appeals Court

On June 19, the appeals court reaffirmed its May determination that Apple’s patent on a design of the tablet is likely to withstand challenges to its validity. That decision allowed the Cupertino, California-based company to renew its request to block sales of Samsung’s tablet in the U.S.

Harold McElhinny, a lawyer for Apple, told Koh yesterday that the appeals court mandate was issued, and that she might receive it in the mail as early as tomorrow.

Koh’s comments about the June 29 hearing and her pending ruling on the Nexus smartphone came at the conclusion of a hearing in which both companies sought pre-trial rulings to streamline their cases.

The judge said she was unlikely to rule in favor of either side on their requests. She told the companies to narrow their claims in the litigation.

Samsung yesterday began rolling out its Galaxy S III flagship smartphone in the U.S. through T-Mobile USA Inc. The touch-screen device will be available from the three other largest U.S. carriers -- Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. -- in the coming weeks, the Suwon, South Korean-based company said yesterday in a statement.

Galaxy S III

Apple, anticipating sales of the new phone, told Koh at a previous hearing it was considering filing a request for a temporary restraining order blocking the Galaxy S III before its release. Lawyers for Apple said the move was forced by Samsung’s tactic of releasing new generations of products before courts around the world are able to rule on whether earlier products infringed the patents involved in lawsuits.

Apple dropped its request for a restraining order when Koh said it might delay a July 30 trial date.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-1846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

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